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<TITLE>NATO Review - No 2 Summer - Autumn 2000 </TITLE>
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    <td width="50%" align="LEFT" bgcolor="#1C345A"><font face="Arial" size="-1" color="White"><strong>Updated: 
      <!-- #BeginDate format:En2 -->30-Nov-2000<!-- #EndDate --></strong></font></td>
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      <H5><font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">Web edition<br>
        Vol. 48 - No. 2<br>
        Summer - Autumn 2000<br>
        p. 10-12</font></H5>
      <H5><font color="#324983">Kristan J. <br>
        Wheaton is a <br>
        foreign area <br>
        officer for the <br>
        US Army <br>
        currently <br>
        stationed at the <br>
        US Embassy in <br>
        Zagreb. The <br>
        opinions <br>
        expressed in this<br>
        article, however, <br>
        are his and do <br>
        not reflect the <br>
        official position <br>
        of any <br>
        department or <br>
        agency of the US <br>
        government.</font></H5>
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      <CENTER>
        <h3><font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" color="#324983">Cultivating 
          Croatias military </font></h3>
      </CENTER>
      <p><font color="#324983"><i>Kristan J. Wheaton describes how NATO countries 
        helped prepare the Croatian military for the transition from authoritarian 
        to democratic rule. </i></font></p>
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            <div align="right"><img src="../../../pictures/review/2000/s000908d.jpg" width="153" height="104"><br>
              <font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="-2" color="#324983">Students 
              of democracy: Croatias military has demonstrated its democratic 
              credentials by staying out of politics. <br>
              (Reuters photo - <a href="../../../pictures/review/2000/b000908d.jpg">24Kb</a>) </font></div>
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      <p>When Croatian voters rejected the political party that had led Croatia 
        to independence and had been in power for the past decade, the Croatian 
        military did a remarkable thing. Nothing. Despite calls from some right-wing 
        extremists for a coup, Croatias Armed Forces refused to meddle in politics, 
        contributing to a smooth hand-over of power. </p>
      <p>While such behaviour is expected in Western democracies, it is not the 
        norm in countries transitioning from authoritarian rule. In fact, the 
        exact opposite is commonly true. Generally speaking, an accommodation 
        with the military is one of the essential pre-conditions for a successful 
        transition, making the Croatian militarys respect for the political process 
        even more remarkable. This significant achievement, however, was not accidental. 
        NATO Allies and the Croatians themselves have devoted substantial resources 
        to professionalising the Croatian military during the past five years.</p>
      <p>In 1995, the Croatian military clearly and overwhelmingly supported the 
        late Croatian President Franjo Tudjman and his authoritarian party, the 
        Croatian Democratic Union (Hrvatska demokratska zajednica or HDZ). From 
        the average soldiers point of view, there were good reasons for this 
        support. Through its near total control of the media, the HDZ had managed 
        to convince most of the military, indeed much of Croatias population, 
        that the HDZ, and only the HDZ, could efficiently govern the country and 
        effectively represent its interests abroad. At that time, it was nearly 
        unthinkable that, in the event of a crisis, the HDZ would not be able 
        to count on the support of the Croatian military.</p>
      <p>By late 1999, the situation had changed dramatically. Falling living 
        standards and a series of economic scandals implicating senior figures 
        in the ruling party bred increasing disillusionment with the HDZs stale 
        diet of nationalism and international isolation. In the wake of Tudjmans 
        death in December 1999, support for the HDZ disintegrated. Its parliamentary 
        representation crashed from 59 per cent of seats to just 29 per cent in 
        January and February 2000 elections. Moreover, the military accepted the 
        election results and began to work with the new, democratically elected 
        president, Stipe Mesic, and the government of new prime minister, Ivica 
        Racan.</p>
      <p>The United States was, in late 1995, the first NATO country to organise 
        military cooperation programmes for Croatian soldiers and remains the 
        largest single funder of what the US military refers to as engagement 
        activities. These are programmes designed to promote regional stability 
        and democratisation and, in relation to the former Yugoslavia, to support 
        US efforts to ensure self-sustaining progress from the Dayton process 
        and develop military institutions adapted to democratic civilian control. 
        In 1998, the US Ambassador to Croatia, William Montgomery, drew up a Road 
        Map to Partnership for Peace, which helped focus US programmes in Croatia 
        itself. Furthermore, he made the US defence attach responsible for synchronising 
        the US effort. This step both protected the programmes, through a successful 
        working relationship with Croatian leaders, and multiplied their impact, 
        through careful coordination.</p>
      <p>Direct US military training assistance to Croatia grew from $65,000 in 
        1995 to $500,000 in 2000. This money was provided to Croatia through the 
        congressionally authorised International Military Education and Training 
        (IMET) fund. During this period, the United States trained nearly 200 
        Croatian military and civilian personnel in the United States and several 
        hundred more at one- and two-week seminars held in Croatia. IMET money 
        also paid for the establishment of three language laboratories, so that 
        the Croatian Military School of Foreign Languages is now capable of producing 
        nearly 150 fluent English speakers annually. The total cost of the IMET 
        programme in Croatia since 1995 has been about $2 million. The Defence 
        Security Cooperation Agency, in collaboration with the US European Command, 
        has also funded two full-time personnel to assist the Croatian military 
        with scheduling and exe-cuting IMET-funded training since 1997.</p>
      <p>In addition to IMET-funded activities, the US European Command sponsored 
        a four-person military liaison team in Croatia under the Joint Contact 
        Team Programme (JCTP). The team began operations in 1996 and has to date 
        conducted nearly 300 events designed to present the US Armed Forces as 
        a role model of a capable military under effective civilian control. JCTP 
        events differ from IMET-funded training. JCTP is prohibited from conducting 
        training and must restrict its activities to familiarisation and orientation- 
        type events. Participants are not required to be fluent in English and 
        the events normally last less than a week (as opposed to IMET-funded courses, 
        which normally last several months). That said, JCTP-funded events played 
        an important role in exposing a large number of Croatian military personnel 
        to democratic norms and expectations.</p>
      <p>The United States, along with Germany, also supported the Marshall Center 
        in Garmisch, Germany. The Center is designed to support higher security 
        and defence learning for foreign and security policy officials. Croatia 
        has sent more than 40 members of its defence ministry and general staff 
        to the Marshall Center for training since 1995. This effort cost the United 
        States nearly $350,000 in 1999 and 2000 alone.</p>
      <p>In addition to the Marshall Center, Germany began offering Croatian officers 
        training in its military schools in 1999. Since then 23 officers have 
        been educated in German military schools and 30 have completed familiarisation 
        or orientation events. The focus of these courses is normally on professional 
        military education including battalion- and company-level courses, as 
        well as slots in the German Command and General Staff College and training 
        for Croatian medical personnel. Germany also provided language training 
        to Croatian officers attending its schools. Staff talks occurred annually 
        at all levels between Croatian and German officers and Germany also conducted 
        some exercises with Croatia in the field of arms control. Total aid, paid 
        out of the defence budget of Germany to Croatia, is approximately $2 million.</p>
      <p>The United Kingdom has also supported the Croatian military. Since 1997, 
        when the United Kingdom began working with the Croatian military on arms 
        control (in particular in relation to the Dayton Accords), some 45 Croatian 
        students have been sent to the United Kingdom for English language instruction. 
        In addition, the United Kingdom has sponsored seminars on a broad variety 
        of topics, including the arms-control provisions of Dayton, military law, 
        and the military and the media.</p>
      <p>France also provided significant training. Beginning in 1998 with the 
        signing of a bilateral cooperation agreement, the French established a 
        programme which saw 31 officers graduate from schools such as the French 
        War School, 14 in 1998 and 17 in 1999. According to the French Embassy 
        in Zagreb, as many as 20 additional training events are planned for 2000. 
        The French military also provided language training.</p>
      <p>In line with previous agreements between Turkey and Croatia, 12 Croatian 
        officers have attended Turkish schools since 1999. According to the Turkish 
        Embassy in Zagreb, all students attended a one-year course in Turkish 
        before attending professional military education training, such as the 
        Armed Forces Military Academy or courses designed for officers who are 
        about to take command of companies and battalions. In addition to training 
        opportunities in Turkey, Croatia sent observers to three exercises in 
        1999.</p>
      <p>Italy also had an active programme of engagement with Croatia prior to 
        the 2000 elections. According to the Italian Embassy in Zagreb, the Italian 
        government secured a series of memorandums of understanding with Croatia 
        designed to improve both the safety of navigation and the response to 
        emergency situations in the Adriatic. Italy has limited its education 
        opportunities to one person at the Italian Naval Academy and to an exchange 
        of observers during national exercises. It is currently the lead nation 
        for implementing the Partnership for Peace with Croatia and expects to 
        increase its activities in 2000.</p>
      <p>Other NATO Allies, such as Hungary, Norway, Poland and Spain, have also 
        provided exposure to Western military practice to the Croatian military 
        through direct training and other activities. More importantly, all the 
        NATO countries informally coordinated these activities during the critical 
        1995-2000 period through regularly scheduled meetings of the NATO attach 
        corps in Zagreb.</p>
      <p>Interestingly, between 1995 and 2000, Croatia itself dedicated significant 
        resources to professionalising and modernising its military. For example, 
        Croatia has a policy of funding the travel and living allowances of all 
        students sent abroad. In the case of the United States, this has the effect 
        of tripling the money available for training in the United States. According 
        to the Croatian defence ministry, Croatia will spend more than $2 million 
        in 2000 of its own money supporting training activities abroad, more than 
        90 per cent of which will be spent in NATO countries.</p>
      <p>Since one of the aims of the various foreign training programmes was 
        to emphasise the apolitical role of the armed forces in a democratic country, 
        Croatias expenditure on these programmes effectively undermined the HDZs 
        desire to maintain absolute control over the mil-itary. But in late 1995, 
        when the first, modest US programme began, Croatia had a political need 
        to confirm its relationship with the West and a military need to train 
        the largest number of officers possible. According to the Croatian defence 
        ministry, the military budget at that time was nearly $1.4 billion and 
        the investment of approximately $130,000 was likely viewed as politically 
        prudent.</p>
      <p>By the late 1990s, however, the policy of paying for training abroad 
        was clearly working against the HDZ. The Tudjman regime was at odds with 
        the international community on virtually every point, except military-to- 
        military cooperation. Reducing the level of support at that time would 
        have sent an extremely negative political signal. At the same time, the 
        rapid growth of the programmes, coupled with a strict adherence to entrance 
        standards, effectively de-politicised the process of selection of candidates 
        for training.</p>
      <p>As a critical mass of trained officers, both commissioned and non-commissioned, 
        began to return from training abroad, NATO officers began to find common 
        ground with an increasing number of their Croatian counterparts. By the 
        end of 1999, every major command, every sector of the general staff, every 
        directorate in the defence ministry had someone who had attended training 
        abroad.</p>
      <p>Beginning in 1997, the United States was already able to evaluate the 
        impact of its programmes. Areas were clearly identified where the United 
        States believed it had provided adequate resources for Croatia to move 
        in the direction that it had said it wanted to go. More importantly, Croatia 
        was then held accountable for using those resources efficiently. Not only 
        were officers trained abroad expected to be used in positions commensurate 
        with their new skills, but also systems in transition were expected to 
        move towards Western norms  a goal the Croatian defence ministry stated 
        publicly and consistently, but which had been often ignored in practice.</p>
      <p>An example of where detailed accountability made a clear difference occurred 
        in late 1998. At that time, the United States was able to tell the defence 
        ministry that it had trained more than 100 Croatians in modern defence 
        resource management techniques. It was clear to both Croatian and US officers 
        that this was more than enough for the defence ministry to produce a more 
        efficient and transparent budget  a goal that it had publicly espoused, 
        but which had met with considerable resistance from within. Faced with 
        this accounting  as well as significant diplomatic pressure , the hard-liners 
        were forced to acquiesce. Soon after the defence ministry issued its most 
        transparent and detailed budget to date.</p>
      <p>With bilateral assistance from NATO Allies and others, the Croatian military 
        was well on its way to changing its mindset into that of a modern, civilian 
        controlled, democratically oriented military by the time of the elections 
        in early 2000. By seeking no role and having no impact on the Croatian 
        elections, the Croatian military has passed its most important test to 
        date. </p>
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