on defence reform
with Edgar Buckley, Assistant Secretary General
for Defence Planning and Operations,
in NATO-Ukraine magazine Novyny
The Joint Working Group on Defence Reform (JWGDR) at Senior Level met
in Yalta on 28 October 2002. The NATO Chairman of this meeting, Dr Edgar
Buckley, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Defence Planning and Operations,
gives his assessment of NATO-Ukraine cooperation in defence and security
Novyny NATO (NN): What is the JWGDR
and what is the importance of the meeting in Yalta?
Edgar Buckley (EB):
The JWGDR is the primary focus for NATO-Ukraine cooperation in defence
and security sector reform. It meets once a year at Senior Level. The
Ukrainian Authorities invited us to conduct the 2002 meeting in Crimea.
We heard an update on Ukraine’s reform plans from Serhii Pyrozhkov,
Deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council, and Viktor
Bannykh, Deputy State Secretary of Defence for International Cooperation.
Moreover, we agreed a number of practical projects to support Ukraine,
launching work on a proposal to destroy 133,000 tons of munitions and
1.5 million small arms and light weapons, as well as a pilot project to
strengthen the role of civilians in the Ministry of Defence.
NN: Why is it important for Ukraine
to pursue defence and security sector reforms?
Defence and security sector reform is not unique to Ukraine. Every NATO
and Partner nation faces a similar challenge. The Prague Summit was all
about transformation and developing new capabilities to address the today's
complex security challenges, which include large-scale global terrorism
and the possible use of weapons of mass destruction. Managing this process
of transformation is a challenge faced by new and more well-established
democracies. Defence reform aims to ensure that Ukraine has the right
tools to meet these challenges.
History has taught us that security in these uncertain times is indivisible.
Ukraine is an integral part of the Euro-Atlantic security community. Transformation
also serves the vital interests of Ukraine and supports its long-term
strategic goal of Euro-Atlantic integration. Managing this transformation
and the consequences of defence reform, which include social and economic
aspects, presents many challenges. It requires strong leadership and resources.
While there is still considerable work to be done, Ukraine has taken important
first steps in adapting and restructuring of its Armed Forces. Only Ukraine
can determine its needs. However, NATO has been a ready and willing partner
in supporting Ukraine.
NN: Why does NATO give such priority
to supporting Ukraine's reform efforts? What aspects of defence reform
does cooperation focus on?
A strong, independent and democratic Ukraine is good for Ukraine and good
for NATO and its Partners. We have made a common commitment to security
in the Euro-Atlantic area, which is well illustrated by the Polish-Ukrainian
battalion serving in Kosovo. NATO remains committed to strong NATO-Ukraine
relations under the Charter on a Distinctive Partnership. At the same
time, the political process should be complemented by reform of Ukrainian
defence and security structures.
Defence reform cooperation focuses mainly on defence planning and implementation
of Ukraine’s priorities set out in the package of 80 National Defence
Reform Objectives (NDROs). These include the establishment of rapid reaction
forces, professionalisation and training for peacekeeping operations,
as well as strengthening the role of civilians in Ukrainian defence structures.
Our activities are not limited to the Armed Forces or the Ministry of
Defence. We have also developed activities to support the Ukrainian Border
NN: How has the establishment of the
JWGDR helped facilitate cooperation?
Defence reform is a core element of Partnership for Peace (PfP) and a
central part of our activities with all Partners. However, it is true
that NATO and Ukraine cooperation in this area goes beyond what we are
doing with other Partners. The establishment of the JWGDR is a practical
example of our Distinctive Partnership. It has proven to be key to taking
forward our cooperation in defence and security sector reform, providing
a forum for Ukraine and Allies to share common experiences and to identify
obstacles. It provides Allies with a tool to channel assistance, as well
as the institutional basis for our cooperation with ministries and agencies
engaged in supporting defence and security sector reform in Ukraine. These
include the National Security and Defence Council, Ministries of Foreign
Affairs and Defence, Border Guards, Verkhovna Rada and others.
NN: What have been the key achievements
of defence reform cooperation over the past five years?
Our programme of cooperation has steadily grown over the years. The Action
plan, agreed in Prague, draws heavily on the activities of the JWGDR and
PfP. Every year, hundreds of NATO-Ukraine activities and bilateral activities
support defence and security sector reform. We still have considerable
work before us but I would highlight a number of important concrete steps.
Agreement of the package of 80 NDROs and the decision by Ukraine to extend
this defence planning process to its entire Armed Forces provide an important
framework for the practical steps to be taken in the coming months and
years. Ratification of the PfP Status of Forces Agreement and the NATO-Ukraine
Security Agreement are also significant milestones. In July 2002, Ukraine
signed the Host Nation Support Agreement and we began negotiation of a
Strategic Airlift Agreement. The establishment of the Yavoriv PfP Training
Centre and the launch of the NATO/PfP Trust Fund Project in Donetsk to
destroy 400,000 anti-personnel landmines are good examples of our practical
NN: What key challenges remain and
where do current priorities lie?
One of the biggest challenges for Ukraine is the establishment of a national
defence planning system that effectively matches national requirements
with available resources. Development of such an approach requires strong
national leadership. The Ministry of Defence cannot achieve this on their
NATO is determined to further support the Ukrainian transformation. The
new Action Plan, is an important step forward. It identifies political,
economic, military and other reform areas where Ukraine is committed to
make further progress and where NATO will continue to assist. However,
defence reform cannot be implemented overnight. Such complex projects