Experts: Kosovo’s army needs a decade to become functional

Experts: Kosovo’s army needs a decade to become functional

Pristina, March 6, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Elton Tota

The implementation of the decision for the foundation of the Armed Forces of Kosovo, which was taken in the past few days by prime minister Hashim Thaci, will take time for the new state, at least a decade. Experts of security are not optimistic that Kosovo will be able to finalize the full creation of the army before 2024.

Security expert, Naim Maloku says that the new state needs a bigger budget and experts to manage military equipment.

“There are no financial capacities to quickly set up Kosovo’s Armed Forces. The second obstacle relates to the fact that the problem with the north of Kosovo is still unsolved. If Armed Forces are not dislocated in a part of Kosovo, then they have not performed their constitutional obligations. The third obstacle, besides material and technical equipment which must be secured and purchased, relates to the fact that we must have a better framework for those technical equipment”, says Maloku.

He adds that the specialization of experts and commanders requires time, especially considering the fact that military academies last 3 to 5 years.

Florian Qehaja, executive director of the Kosovar Center for Security Studies, says that a sense of populism is being shown in this situation, taking for granted the fact that Kosovo will have an army.

But he says that the proposal for the creation of Kosovo’s Armed Forces clearly shows that three phases are needed to meet this objective.

“The first phase relates to changes in the doctrine and trainings, because the current doctrine and trainings have served for civil protection. This will at least last until 2016. The second phase will last until 2019. This phase will see the creation of partial military capacities, because this is a process. Meanwhile, the last phase of the creation of Armed Forces, with 5 thousand active soldiers and 3 thousand in reserve and equipped with all technical and operational capacities, will be finalized in 2014”, said Qehaja.

Army or Armed Forces, there’s no difference

Security experts assess that the name Kosovo’s Armed Forces relates to the army and there’s no difference between these two denominations.

“The idea for the creation of new forces in the 21st century is a more advanced terminology, because its security mission now is not strictly that of an army, but Armed Forces are also engaged in other missions”, declares the expert and professor of security issues, Nuredin Ibishi.

The expert of political developments in Kosovo, Lumir Abdixhiku also says that there’s no difference between the term “army” and “Armed Forces”.

“I have often heard people say that it should be called ‘army’ and not ‘Armed Forces’, because the ‘Force’ is not an ‘Army’. The term ‘Armed Forces’ is a standard term in the world today; the same term is also used by USA, Great Britain and almost every other modern state. USA has United States Armed Forces (USAF) as a comprehensive force-a force which is comprised of 5 categories: US Army, US Marine Corps, US Navy, US Air Force and US Coast Guard. Great Britain has British Armed Forces as a comprehensive term which is comprised of 4 categories: Royal Navy, Royal Marines, British Army and Royal Air Force. Thus, in both cases, the term ‘Army’ is used as a subcategory of ‘Armed Forces’”, says Abdixhiku.

Experts say that in the future, there will be a problem with the strengthening of Kosovo’s Armed Forces in order to secure territorial integrity of the country, especially in the north.

Nevertheless, the decision to transform Kosovo’s Security Force into Armed Forces, approved by the government of Kosovo, is considered by analyst as a fair decision in the interest of the security of the country.

On the other hand, prime minster of the country, Hashim Thaci says that the decision which was taken for the transformation of Kosovo’s Security Force into Kosovo’s Armed Forces has been one of the most important decisions of his political life.

The long path from KLA to Armed Forces

Kosovo Liberation Army turned into Kosovo’s Defence Troops in 1999, with the entry of NATO forces and the start of the creation of UNMIK’s administration in Kosovo, although UNO resolution 1244 foresaw the dissolution of KLA. KDT started to be founded in 1999 with Regulation 1999/8 of chief administrator Bernard Kouchner. KDT also saw a transformation. A year after the proclamation of independence, on January 20, 2009, it turned into Kosovo’s Security Forces. These forces are professional, multi ethnic and lightly armed. It has 2400 active members and 800 members in reserve. /ibna/