Latvia's Annual National Program 2004
1. Latvia's Annual National Program (ANP) 2004 has been developed to fully reflect Latvia's preparations for participation in NATO, and lays the foundation necessary for evaluating the fulfilment of Latvia's commitments to the North Atlantic Alliance.
2. On November 21, 2002, Latvia received an invitation to join NATO. This invitation demonstrates that both the tasks and goals specified in previous Annual National Programs have been carried out effectively, and that Latvia has participated successfully in the Membership Action Plan process. NATO has asked Latvia and the other invited nations to continue pursuing this process up until their actual accession to the Alliance. "Latvia's Annual National Program 2004" sets in motion the fifth annual cycle of the Annual National Program process.
3. Latvia's Annual National Program 2004 was developed on the basis of the tasks set out in Latvia's Timetable for Completion of Reforms, which determines the specific commitments to be fulfilled by the time Latvia joins NATO.
4. While developing Latvia's Annual National Program 2004, the following were also taken into consideration:
- the previous year's plan, which demonstrates the continuity of our planning;
- Latvia's invitation to join the alliance;
- Latvia's ANP 2004 should be a reflection of Latvia's readiness to join NATO, as well as its readiness to assume the responsibilities of a NATO ally once Latvia actually joins NATO;
- developments in the international security situation, the process of transformation currently underway in NATO and the guidelines adopted by the alliance at the Prague Summit.
5. Latvia's ANP process is also important for Latvia as a whole. It helps to strengthen democratic values and to create an up-to-date defence system and armed forces that function as a reliable part of society.
6. Latvia's Annual National Program traditionally consists of six sections: (1) Political/Economic Issues; (2) Defence/Military Issues; (3) Resource Issues; (4) Security Issues; (5) Legal Issues; and (6) the Implementation of Latvia's Annual National Program. Latvia's Annual National Program 2004 has been prepared on the basis of the experience gained while developing previous annual national programs, and also takes into account NATO's review of Latvia's defence system. NATO member states have also provided pertinent advice during meetings between NATO and Latvia in Brussels and during bilateral consultations on political and military issues.
7. The Political/Economic Issues Section. In comparison to last year's plan, the political section this year was developed taking into account Latvia's invitation to join the alliance:
- The section is comprised of 6 sub-sections: Latvia's preparations to become a reliable NATO ally; Democracy, the rule of law and human rights; Civil-military co-operation; Economic development and policy priorities; Commitments and contributions to Euro-Atlantic security; Public information policy.
- The structure of the section reflects the progress and results achieved since Latvia submitted its last plan to NATO;
- In consideration of the dialogue that took place with NATO states, this year's section provides more detailed information about the process of social integration underway in Latvia;
- Special attention is paid to issues related to combating corruption;
- A separate point is devoted to the issue of the evaluation of history, incl. issues concerning the Holocaust, its research and events devoted to its remembrance, all of which are important to NATO member states, particularly the U.S.;
- Taking into account that after the events of September 11th 2001, states have been confronted with new security challenges created by the proliferation of asymmetric resources and the resulting increased level of threat, special attention is paid to Latvia's active observance of a policy of non-proliferation, and the strengthening of arms controls. Likewise, Latvia's contributions to the strengthening of international security are reflected (e.g. participation in international operations);
- Special attention is paid to Latvia's readiness to both continue and expand assistance to countries in transition, mainly the nations in the CIS region, by sharing with them Latvia's experience of successful internal reform and Euro-Atlantic integration;
- The economic section reflects the country's ability, given its level of economic development, to fulfil NATO commitments and obligations;
- The successful implementation of a public information policy designed to bolster support for NATO is mentioned separately. The success of this policy is reflected in the support of Latvia's residents for NATO (67.4% in June 2003).
8. The Defence/Military Issues Section. This section reviews the development of the defence sector and places emphasis on both the most important tasks completed during Latvia's previous Annual National Program cycle and further plans for 2004.
9. Latvia's Timetable for Completion of Reforms committed Latvia to reviewing its National Defence Concept and the structure of its National Armed Forces by the end of 2003. This process is already underway and Latvia plans to discuss the reviewed force structure in a separate Defence Review Committee meeting.
10. The goal of this force structure review is to improve the capabilities of the National Armed Forces in the areas of mobility (deployable capabilities), sustainability and effective mission capabilities. The future specialization of the armed forces will also be considered during this review process. The goal of the process is to increase the sustainability of the armed forces. These capabilities will be included in the packet of Alliance Force Proposals and other NATO programs.
11. The main priorities for the development of the National Armed Forces are:
- the enhancement by the Land Forces of an infantry brigade with all-relevant combat support and combat service support capabilities. Plans have been made to reduce the number of military regions from four to two by the end of 2003. The restructuring of the territorial forces will continue in 2004.
- the advancement by the Naval Forces of anti-mine capabilities. The emphasis will be on modernizing anti-mine ships so that, beginning with 2004, they will be able to participate in NATO operations.
- the development by the Air Forces of air-space surveillance and air defence capabilities. The most important task in 2004 will be to continue integrating the Baltic States Common Air-space Surveillance System (BALTNET) into the NATO Integrated Extended Air Defence System (NATINHEADS).
12. The NATO Force Proposals for 2004 will play a significant role in the development of the new structures of the National Armed Forces. Each proposal will be thoroughly reviewed and calculated. Accepted proposals will be integrated into the structure of the Latvian National Armed Forces.
13. The modernization of the National Armed Forces is undoubtedly one of the key priorities of the 2004 Defence Budget. The investment program emphasizes the further development of military capabilities and provides for the development and improvement of host nation support capabilities, communications equipment, air-space surveillance, unit training and preparation, logistics and procurement.
14. In each force structure and for each issue related to NATO integration (communications, logistics), joint working groups will be set up between Latvia and NATO's Regional Headquarters Allied Forces North Europe in order to facilitate the integration of the Latvian National Armed Forces into NATO.
15. The successful co-operation between the Baltic States' armed forces will be continued in 2004. Baltic military co-operation is very important as it increases the interoperability of the Baltic States' armed forces with NATO and optimizes the utilization of the Baltic States' defence resources. Joint Baltic State co-operation is one of the fundamental principles of Latvia's defence planning.
16. The Resource Issues Section describes the planning and control mechanisms that will oversee the resources devoted to NATO integration and defence. In the past four years, the financing allotted to defence and NATO integration in Latvia has increased substantially. Involvement in the NATO Security Investment Program is an essential aspect in order to supplement Latvia's defence budget with NATO funding.
17. The Law on Financing National Defence stipulates that national defence, security and NATO integration will be allotted 2% of GDP until 2008 (inclusive). This level of financing is needed to implement the reform of the Latvian NAF and to fulfill all obligations related to NATO integration.
18. In accordance with the guidelines approved by the Minister of Defence, the following are the budget planning priorities for 2004:
- To fulfill all the commitments made in the Timetable for Completion of Reforms, and to plan further development;
- To continue introduction of the MoD and NAF Personnel Career Planning System and improve the system of training;
- To improve social guarantees and elaborate reforms to the system of professional soldier compensation;
- To ensure the readiness of National Armed Forces units to participate in international operations by developing the ability to deploy and sustain these units while on operations;
- To continue cooperation between the Baltic States and evaluate supplementary opportunities to ensure the development, preparation, and deployment of and logistical support for units of the armed forces in NATO-led operations;
- To advance NAF interoperability in all areas in accordance with NATO Standardization Agreements;
- To ensure the implementation of NATO Force Proposals.
19. The Information Security Section indicates the progress Latvia has achieved in the area of information security. On the basis of the commitments made in the Timetable for Completion of Reforms, work has continued on the organization of a legal framework and the development of a system for electronically transmitting classified information; the technical solutions for this system have been certified. In the future, the flow of classified information will continue to increase; therefore, the system for document registration will be expanded.
20. While issues related to information security are an integral part of preparing for NATO membership, work on addressing them could only fully begin at the end of 2002, when Latvia gained access to the majority of NATO requirements and standards, not accessible prior Latvia received its membership invitation.
21. Ensuring secure communication between state institutions, including communication with Latvia's embassies abroad and the relevant Latvian institutional connections with NATO and the EU, is an issue of increasing importance. Since the conclusion of Latvia's accession to NATO negotiationsat the end of 2002, the Constitution Protection Bureau and the Foreign and Defence Ministries have all declared the issue of secure communications a priority, and have been working intensively towards a solution.
22. The Legal Issues Section draws attention to the main achievements reached in the work on analyzing NATO agreements in order to ensure successful cooperation with NATO.
23. In 2003, all of preparatory work necessary for Latvia to adhere to NATO's major agreements when it actually becomes a NATO member state was completed. It should be noted that an initial analysis of NATO's major agreements was conducted in previous years. In 2003, a more detailed legal analysis was conducted which included the translation of the major NATO agreements, in order to identify and make various necessary corrections so that the eventual ratification of these agreements by Latvia would be prompt.