LATVIA'S MEMBERSHIP ACTION PLAN 2000
In the Washington Summit of 1999 the Heads of State and Government of NATO countries decided to start the Membership Action Plan (MAP) process which would help the candidate countries to better prepare for NATO membership. As the first step in this process, NATO offered the aspiring members to elaborate Annual National Program?s, which would reflect their preparations for the Alliance membership and specify the planed activities.
The Latvia's MAP 2000 has been developed on the basis of Latvia's NATO Integration Plan, which was submitted to NATO in 1998. The present Plan has been approved by Latvia's NATO Integration Council and the Cabinet of Ministers. The Plan builds on membership requirements set out in the Washington Treaty, the Enlargement Study and the documents adopted in the Washington Summit. The Plan explains how these preconditions are met and outlines the work to be done. It encompasses concrete measures which are to be taken in the year 2000 specifying the allocated funding, timelines and the responsible authority. These activities have been carefully selected so that the plan would be realistic, precise and achievable. The implementation of the Plan will be discussed in a dialogue with NATO. The Plan will be reviewed and adjusted at the end of the year 2000.
Latvia's MAP 2000 encompasses areas of work and activities relevant to Latvia's membership objective. It explains Latvia's efforts and achievements, and at the same time serves as a management tool for internal oversight and control of the Integration process.
Political and Economic Chapter explains the political readiness of Latvia to join NATO. It shows that Latvia is a stable democracy. It is a country where the rule of law is observed and serious attention is paid to fighting crime and corruption. Latvia has effective legal base of human rights and free development of ethnic groups is promoted. Special state institutions for protection of human rights and minorities have been created and continuous attention is devoted to implementation of the standards of human rights. In spite of the heritage of the Soviet occupation, issues related to the integration of society are being solved in an open manner, with a great deal of tolerance and in close consultation with international organizations. Integration Program of the Society determines long-term strategy in a number of areas, including education, language, culture, citizenship.
Due to consistent economic reforms, Latvia has established a functioning and transparent market economy. Latvia's economic priorities are closely linked to its principal foreign policy goal - accession to the EU. Continuous and sustainable economic growth, balanced economic and social development, gradual elimination of regional disparities and effective utilization of resources constitute the economic policy of Latvia. Latvia is characterized by responsible attitude to environment.
Latvia has established democratic control over the national armed forces. The fundamentals of the democratic control rest in the Constitution and related legislation. The division of responsibilities among the President, the Parliament, the Government and the Minister of Defense is provided in the legislation. Finalization of the prepared legal instruments will strengthen the democratic control of the armed forces.
The foreign and security policy of Latvia is firmly based on the principles of the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, it does not recognize confrontation, use or threat of military force as means for dealing with international disputes. The tasks of the National Armed Forces, defined in the Defense Concept have a purely defensive character.
Latvia implements the policy of good neighborly relations. Extensive cooperation in political, security as well as economic fields with our neighbors Estonia and Lithuania has always been among the main priorities of Latvia's foreign policy. Cooperation with Estonia and Lithuania in the defense area strengthens Latvia's pursuit of NATO membership. Cooperation with the Baltic and the Nordic countries is continuously developing. Stability in the Baltic region is enhanced by the cooperation with the U.S. The cooperation among the Baltic Sea States creates an opportunity for bringing Russia into a cooperative fold. The Government of Latvia has always been committed to the principles of good neighborly relations with Russia and Belarus based on the norms of international law, observance of international obligations and mutual advantage. Latvia's cooperation with Ukraine assists Ukraine's European aspirations. Latvia is convinced that its membership in NATO will promote security and prosperity in the whole region. Being a NATO member, Latvia will foster development of constructive partnership in the region.
Latvia is contributing to European security. The most effective way to deal with the new risks which have emerged in Europe since the end of the Cold War is through cooperative approach. Latvia has clearly shown its political solidarity and readiness for common actions with NATO in preserving peace and enhancing security and stability of transatlantic community. It is demonstrated by our participation in IFOR/ SFOR missions in Bosnia- Herzegovina, AFOR mission in Albania and readiness for KFOR mission in Kosovo. Active cooperation with NATO, participation in Partnership for Peace, participation in the work of Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe also constitute Latvia's contribution to European security. Latvia's support to the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the EU in the issues of arms control and non-proliferation shows that Latvia is a responsible cooperation partner. The attention paid to the defense area and increased defense budget strengthens the defense forces and prepares them for the tasks faced by NATO. Latvia's contribution to NATO is also a contribution to the European dimension of the Alliance, a contribution to the development of European Security and Defense Identity.
There is solid internal support for Latvia's NATO membership. However, the Government recognizes the need for more active information policy. The society has the right to understand the motives behind the Government's policy. The Government needs popular support to its activities. The information policy is aimed not only at the Latvian society, but also at the target groups in NATO countries. Precise and complete information will create better understanding among the future allies.
The Plan envisages also development of a crisis management system in Latvia, which would foster swift and coordinated cooperation among the state institutions in case of crisis.
The Chapter on Defense/ Military Issues contains tasks and measures aimed at ensuring Latvia's military preparedness to join NATO. Latvia's main responsibilities in this area are to strengthen the country's self defense capability and to fulfill NATO's interoperability requirements.
The Plan illustrates how the NAF will develop the required operational capabilities enabling participation in collective defence and other NATO missions in accordance with the NATO's Strategic Concept, and the Planning and Review Process (PARP). This will be achieved by:
- Developing the appropriate NAF structure;
- Developing the required facilities, technology and armament;
- Participation in the PARP process and preparing for participation in the collective Alliance Defense planning;
- Ensuring adequate participation in NATO structures.
The fullest possible use of the mechanisms provided by the U.S. - Baltic Charter, NATO's "Partnership for Peace" program, as well as the Baltic regional cooperation and bilateral cooperation will assist in this process. International cooperation forms important part of Latvia's integration policy.
Latvia's defense is based on the principle of "Total Defense". It means, that the responsibility to defend the country rests not only with the Armed Forces, but also with the civilian sector, which is expected to provide all of its available resources. In the development of the "Total Defense" concept, Latvia consults extensively with Sweden, Norway and Switzerland.
The Latvian NAF is still in the process of development. Particular attention is being given to: the development of Western type training, addressing quality of life issues, establishment of a viable officer and Non-commissioned officer (NCO) corps, a personnel rotation system, development of a logistics system, and overall modernization of the Armed Forces.
The establishment of a long term planning system, based on NATO planning principles, is one of the most important issues in preparation of the NAF for NATO membership. Multi-year planning cycles have been developed consisting of a four-year mid range planning cycle, and a 12 year long term planning cycle. The NAF annual development plan reflects the mid and long term planning cycles, and is closely coordinated with the budget planning cycle. Along with the increased defense spending, an audit system is also being established within the Ministry of Defense and the NAF.
The development of Latvia's defence system is closely linked with the recommendations found in the US OSD/EUCOM 1998 report "Latvian Defense Assessment". According to these recommendations, the following priorities have been identified:
- Establish a command, control, communications, computers and intelligence system (C4I), in accordance with NATO standards;
- Establish a personnel management and training system in accordance with NATO standards;
- Create and train a professional NCO and officer corps;
- Establish a logistics system corresponding to NATO standards;
- Acquire equipment for modernization of the NAF and the mobilization forces;
- Establish a mobilization system consisting of mobile and regional battalions;
- Develop interoperability and compatibility with NATO capabilities:
- Complete the implementation of PARP interoperability objectives in units and infrastructure, identified as available for PfP activities and operations.
- Gradually introduce NATO interoperability requirements force wide.
The NAF will be developed to enable their performance in Article V operations on Latvian soil, as identified in the NATO Washington Treaty. The rapid-reaction forces will be developed with the added capability to participate in non-Article V operations, outside of Latvia. Aside from regular forces assigned to NATO-led operations, Latvia plans to concentrate on developing specialized units always in demand whenever force is used. These are the, Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) units, military police units and diver units. Latvia also intends to develop a credible early warning and intelligence systems and develop intelligence exchange capability.
The long-term plan will focus on the development of the Land Forces. NAF plans to develop a mobilization force of 50,000 soldiers. 90% of them will come from the Zemessardze (National Guard). These forces will consist of mobile battalions (totaling up to 26 700 men), as well as territorial battalions (totaling up to 17 000 men).
Based on the NAF peacetime organization TOE, it is planned to have a standing armed force of approximately 10 000 soldiers of whom 6 000 will be conscripts. In parallel to the development of the reserve forces, it is also planned to establish a rapid-reaction force based on the Latvian Battalion (LATBAT). One of the first priorities of the ground forces will be to develop an air defense capability against low flying aircraft and helicopters, as well as an anti-tank capability. The current Naval Surveillance system will be modernized. The Navy will also be further developed to ensure the ability of ships and crews to participate in joint operations with the other Baltic States. The Airspace Control System (BALTNET) will be established. The long-term plan includes development of tactical transportation capability in the Air Force. The Air Forces will also be equipped with short and medium range anti-aircraft weapons capable of defending strategically important centers.
Procurement activities will focus on equipment for Land Forces battalion level training centers and mobilization battalions. New logistics system, based on NATO standards and procedures and able to provide national support to deployed forces in NATO-led operations will be established. It is planned to develop military facilities that will support established national defense objectives and NATO collective defense requirements.
Resources Chapter outlines the financial resources which are to be devoted to defense sphere. The increase in the defense budget will allow to rise the quality of life of the military personnel, to continue the development of infrastructure and to start procurement programs. This chapter shows the funding assigned in 2000 for investment projects, maintenance and personnel, and outlines the projected development of this funding till the year 2003. Special attention will be devoted to the control over utilization of the assigned resources. For this purpose a special auditing unit in the Ministry of Defense is created.
The share of resources which is devoted to international activities: bilateral cooperation, joint Baltic projects, participation in Partnership for Peace program and NATO-led peace operations, has been significantly increased. Development of the personnel resources for work in NATO structures is also seen as a part of Latvia's preparation for membership in the Alliance.
Security Chapter demonstrates that Latvia has created legislative base that is in accordance with NATO requirements. The main tasks for the year 2000 in the area of information security are practical implementation of the security standards in all the state institutions involved in cooperation with NATO. Physical security and personnel training will be enhanced. In addition of the Security Agreement with NATO, Latvia intends to prepare bilateral security agreements with NATO and EU member countries.
The Chapter on Legal Issues addresses legal aspects of NATO membership. Latvia will be able to accede to the most of NATO's legal acquis only after the accession to the North Atlantic Treaty. Nevertheless, Latvia must prepare itself and incorporate into national legislation provisions corresponding to NATO practices and provisions of international treaties. Latvia's legislative acts will be carefully examined and compared, with a focus on legal basis for the use of military force; general restrictions and prohibitions in the defense area; use of NAF abroad; presence of the foreign armed forces and NATO personnel on Latvia; introduction of NATO Standardization Agreements.
Finally, the concluding Chapter on Executive Structure of Latvia's MAP explains Latvia's internal mechanisms for coordination and control of NATO integration efforts that provides the necessary involvement of all Government agencies concerned. The main role is played by the Latvia's NATO Integration Council headed by the Prime Minister. The Council oversees and directs Latvia's preparation process towards membership and is supported by the Committee of Senior Officials. The Ministry of Defense and NAF has established internal coordination framework with involvement of Steering Group and Coordination Working Group supported by specifically assigned personnel.