In today’s complex and dynamic threat environment, military leaders must effectively employ limited resources to execute their country’s national security strategy. Proceedings asked sea-service commanders around the world: It is often said that a nation’s national defense decisions are ultimately derived from its own sovereign interests. Given this presumption, what are the global trends that most influence your national security decision making and how does your navy use its operating policies, alliances, and partnerships to address these trends?
Captain (Navy) Boris Gersak
On 25 June 1991 Slovenia became a state in its own right and is among the youngest countries in the world. The questions of sovereignty, independence, and political equality are still high on the political agenda. Slovenia has become a member of international organizations and alliances, such as the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the European Union, NATO, and others. Due to its geostrategic location, Slovenia is in a relatively favorable position in relation to global risks and threats.
Despite the recent changes in the security environment that are having destabilizing effects on international security, the vast majority of Slovenes consider the main concern to be the economic crisis, the consequences of which are visible in the area of national security and reduced defense budgets. Slovenia has a special interest in maintaining international stability and security, as well as undisturbed trade because of its integration into the global economy. The country is dependent on a reliable and secure supply of raw materials, free trade, and secure maritime routes, which are even more important because the port of Koper is the only Slovenian multipurpose port.
Slovenia has no traditional navy. Instead, the naval component of the Armed Forces develops limited capabilities in the areas of underwater and surface operations, maritime situational awareness, and land explosive ordnance disposal. Some capabilities are deployable and are prepared to carry out missions mainly as a part of the allied forces.
We are aware of the need for effective and efficient cooperation to provide adequate global maritime safety at sea. Therefore, our international cooperation is carried out in different contexts: bilateral, regional, and multilateral.
A bilateral example is the deployment of the patrol ship Triglav 11 in December 2013 and January 2014 to the Italian-led operation Mare Nostrum to tackle illegal migration in the Mediterranean Sea. Another is the intensive cooperation with all countries in the Western Balkans, particularly with Montenegro, in mine countermeasures diving in support of regional initiatives.
Regional cooperation is carried out through different initiatives, mainly Adrion, a forum that joins naval components from Italy, Greece, Slovenia, Albania, Croatia, and Montenegro to promote cooperation, joint training, and conduct of exercises and exchange of experiences between the Adriatic and Ionian Sea navies, and the Virtual Regional Maritime Traffic Center, which promotes multinational information sharing in the area of maritime domain awareness. Through this cooperation we strive to strengthen and raise the level of the region’s capacity to respond to maritime-security challenges.
In 2014 our ambition is to deploy a patrol ship to UNIFIL’s maritime task force in Lebanon. Slovenia believes that security on Europe’s doorstep is urgent and necessary. By participating we contribute to the overall security and stability of the region.
Through the strengthening of cooperation and deployment in operations, Slovenian naval capabilities participate in the achievement of national security and state interests.