ISAF and EUFOR ALTHEA: Next Rotations (November 23) A ceremonial parade at the Rožňava garrison bid farewell to the next rotation of Slovak soldiers deploying to the ISAF operation in Afghanistan. Soldiers were addressed by Brig. Gen. Ondřej Novosad, the Commander of Slovak Land Forces and Brig. Gen. Jindřich Joch, the Chief of Operations. Also present were soldiers´ family members and friends, and the Rožňava mayor Pavol Burdiga. The units lined-up under the command of Lt. Col. Zoltán Farkas, the future commander of the Slovak contingent, and were blessed by the Chaplain General Lt. Col. Miroslav Táborský. The contingent comprising 105 Slovak professional soldiers will leave for Afghanistan shortly; they will be deployed to the KAF base in Kandahar and to the ISAF Operation Command in Kabul. Another ceremonial parade was held on November 23, 2012 at the Training Battalion garrison in Martin where troops were getting ready to deploy to Afghanistan and to the EUFOR ALTHEA operation in Bosnia a Herzegovina. The ceremony was attended by Brig. Gen. Ľubomír Svoboda, Commander of the Training and Support Forces, Col. Ján Žarnovický, Commander of the Joined Logistics Support Group; Lt. Col. Roman Petrík, Commander of the Training Battalion; representatives of the state and municipal administration, and the soldiers' families.
● For the eighth time in the history of the Slovak Armed Forces, the Land Forces have picked the best private and the best NCO. The ceremony was held on Nov. 20 at the 1st Mechanized Brigade Command in Trenčín. From among the nominees the title “best private” was awarded to Private First Class Michal Korbeľ. The commission selected Sergeant First Class Marek Kakalej as the best NCO. Both Korbeľ and Kakalej are from the Martin 11th Mechanized Battalion. ● The Martin Repair Battalion hosted the final selection process for the best soldier and the best NCO of the Training and Support Forces (SVaP). The commission awarded Corporal Peter Cmar of the Hlohovec Transport Battalion the title “best soldier” of 2012; the “best NCO” title was awarded to Sergeant First Class Peter Mesiaček of the Martin Training Battalion. The latter will represent SVaP on Dec. 6 in Zvolen at the grand finale which will yield the name of the best overall Slovak NCO.
(November 19) Defense Minister Mar n Glváč and the Environment Minister Peter Žiga sat down with the newly res tuted landowners of the former Javorina Military District to listen to their claims. The landowners are unhappy with how slowly their tle claims are processed, but also by the Environment Ministry's inten on to declare the Levočské vrchy area a protected aviary, which would limits their ownership and usage rights. “Our interest is to speed-up the process of res tu ons. The former government has undertaken to se le the res tu on claims pertaining to the Javorina Military District, returning the land to its righ ul owners. They have failed to do so. We will try to assist the landowners as much as we can,“ said Glváč. According to Ondrej Pitoňák, the landowners´ representa ve they had to endure the current status quo for too long. He asked Defense Minister Glváč to accelerate the res tu on of the land. Glváč promised to strengthen the team of lawyers dealing with the issue. However, he pointed out that these lawyers could not and would not subs tute consultants; the original landowners needed to have all documents in order. In the past Slovakia had pledged to create 41 protected aviaries, and the Levočské vrchy area is the last loca on that remains on the list. “We understand the injus ce that had been done under the previous regime, and we will proceed very sensi vely. However, the bo om line here are our commitments to the European Commission and the threat of poten al sancons,” said Environment Minister Peter Žiga. The nego a ons will con nue; the next round will be held this week. The Javorina Military District covering 31 640 hectares was created in February 1952 and oﬃcially inaugurated on January 1, 1953. It served mainly as the training area for tanks and an -aircra ba eries. The Slovak Armed Forces stopped using the Javorina Military District for training purposes on December 31, 2005. Therea er it cost the state around one million euro annually to guard the area. The former government had decided to abolish the military district eﬀec ve January 1, 2011.
● In line with the training plan of 13th Mechanized Battalion in 2012, a partial placing-on-alert training was held from Nov. 20 to Nov. 21, 2012. It was the tenth training in a row testing the skills and interoperability of officers of the 13th Mechanized Battalion, verifying the completeness, quality, and harmonization of the necessary documentation, improving reactions of the battalion supervisors after receiving the order to deploy forces and equipment in a real crisis situation.
FAC on Defense and Security (November 19) Brussels hosted the Foreign Affairs Council session on the level of Defense Ministers presided over by Catherine Ashton, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. The European Defense Agency (EDA) Steering Committee approved the EDA 2013 budget. Discussions on the topic of defense Pooling and Sharing confirmed the interest in going ahead in this direction. “The idea of Pooling and Sharing is important to the Slovak Republic, especially in a regional format e.g. in cooperation with the countries of the V4 group. For us it is important to maintain the complementarity of EU activities with the NATO Smart Defense initiatives,” said the MoD State Secretary Miloš Koterec, the head of the Slovak delegation. Defense ministers also discussed the current issues pertaining to the Common Security and Defense Policy, and ways of supporting the development of military capabilities between EU and NATO. They also assessed the current state of EU and NATO involvement in the Horn of Africa, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo.
● On Nov. 20 the 1st Mechanized Company of the 11th Mechanized Battalion underwent a verification exercise testing basic combat skills. The exercise, forming a part of the training cycle set for the 2012 training year, was held at seven posts and the members of the mechanized battalion were handed over to the next post in line after the individual skills were attested to. Exams included square drill, weapons theory, logistics, chemical and topographical skills, first aid and fitness. ● On Nov. 21 professional soldiers from the Immovable Communication Systems Base (ZaSKIS) were put through a general training program consistent with the Base Soldier and Small Team Combat Skills Program, applied in the Slovak Armed Forces. The goal of the program was to improve the skills of ZaSKIS members in military topography, radiological, chemical and biological protection and engineering. ● Members of the Transport Battalion allocated to the Transport Company E 0035 carried out the task assigned by the order of the Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Col. Peter Vojtek. It consisted of transporting timber from the Sučany area to the Sereď wood processing center under the tactical scenario of the WINTER RHINO exercise. Led by the NRF 2013 Commander the operation was carried out in two stages from Nov. 12 to Nov. 23, 2012. Although the soldiers faced an unfamiliar task, they took to it with gusto, and applied utmost professionalism in dealing with the transport of previously unhandled material in difficult conditions. ● Each month since 2009 the Nitra Anti-aircraft Rocket Brigade has organized voluntary blood donations. In collaboration with the National Transfusion Stations in Nové Zámky and Nitra around 500 professional soldiers become blood donors annually. In 2012 professional soldiers of the Nitra unit donated blood 410 times. On Nov. 21 another 50 soldiers joined their ranks. The next opportunity to donate blood will be on Dec. 11 the Christmas Blood Drop.
A new item on the agenda came with the presentation of Michel Barnier, Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, who had provided information on setting-up and tasking an expert team on the defense industries and markets, as the European Commission's contribution to the effective coordination of the EU defense industry. The team is expected to present realistic and progressive ideas to EU member states in the spring of 2013. “We consider it important to push forward the interests of the defense community also within the EC frame,” said Koterec. At the working lunch with foreign ministers, the participating defense ministers discussed the chances for initiating an EU training mission in Mali. “The crucial factor here is that the EU mission in Mali trains the army controlled by the legitimate government,” stressed Koterec. Ministers also discussed the preparations for the European Council session in December 2013, which should bring together heads of states and governments to discuss the development of defense capabilities. Ministers confirmed the political will to maintain and further develop European military capabilities enabling EU to keep its role of a security guarantor. “We expect the EC to demonstrate the political will and to establish a strategic frame for a more ambitious development of defense capabilities,” remarked Koterec.
Slovak Engineers Bid Farewell to Afghanistan
(November 21) Ceremonial presentation of Non Article 5 NATO Medals for Service in the ISAF Military Operation marked the end of our engineers´ participation in the ISAF mission in Afghanistan. Brig. Gen. Scott Dennis, Commander of the KAF base who had decorated our engineers, will also be leaving Afghanistan following a oneyear deployment. On November 19, 2012 he handed over the command of the largest NATO international base to his successor. In his speech Brig. Gen. Dennis acknowledged the extraordinary contribution Slovak engineers had brought to building the KAF base infrastructure. He paid tribute to the professionalism and arduousness
of Slovak soldiers, remarking that a rather small unit counting 57 soldiers was able to leave long-lasting positive footprints in the sand. Lt. Col. Pavol Perička, the KAF chief engineer thanked all engineers who had participated in the ISAF military operation on his behalf and on behalf of the Slovak Armed Forces. He briefly outlined the history of Slovak engineers´ participation in international crisis management operations: “Croatia, Eritrea, Cyprus, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan are countries to which the Slovak Republic had deployed its engineers. I am proud to say we have always fulfilled our roles with honors. You, the members of the
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18th rotation of the Multifunctional Engineering Company, have done extremely well, validating the reputation of Slovak engineers. My hat is off to you.” For his part, Lt. Col. Marián Makay, Commander of the Slovak contingent expressed his appreciation of the fact that the Slovak engineers have fulfilled each and every task they were assigned in the course of the 6-month deployment with honors, despite all the obstacles and difficulties typical for such military operations. Commander Makay wished members of the Multifunctional Engineering Company and other returning units a safe flight home.
November 19 - 25, 2012