Moldova needs a comprehensive review of the national security and defence sector

18 June 2021

The recent Moldova’s political developments, namely the presidential elections, the early parliamentary elections, are signalling an increased popular support for the fight against corruption, reform of the political class and the way out of the multiple crises i.e. health, economic, social, environmental and demographic. This desire for change also dictates a course of deep and systemic reform of state institutions, including the national security and defence sector.

These are among the main conclusions of the policy brief prepared by Viorel Cibotaru is the Executive Director of the European Institute of Political Studies in Moldova and Nicu Popescu, Director of the Enlarged Europe program at the Paris office of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR). The brief assesses the outstanding issues and priorities to help advance a national strategic security sector review, including the reform of the National Army and the Security and Intelligence Service, which should lead to development in the short to long-term a set of laws and policy measures for the implementation of a security and defence policy, harmonised with key foreign policy guidelines of the Republic of Moldova.

„Given Moldova’s strategic objective to develop its minimum military capabilities, the country needs an integrated national defence and security strategy to counter a potential military attack and discourage any armed aggression, in the medium and to long run. At the same time, in the short-term Moldova should fully explore the potential of the regional cooperation framework with Ukraine and Georgia, international cooperation with the EU and the US, as well as the potential of partnership relations with NATO to assess risks, increase capabilities to counter possible security threats, conventional and hybrid military interference”, is the opinion of Nicu Popescu.

The authors consider in the first phase, it is crucial to invest in a complex, modern and sophisticated security sector review process, to improve the anticipation of the movements of the potential adversary, in parallel with building Moldova’s resilience against various external attacks and interferences targeting the national security, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country. This involves rethinking the structure of the National Army. Making it more flexible and adapted to the challenges and needs of the 21st century; optimising its capabilities and staff to be ready to use and apply modern technology to defend Moldova’s territory, its citizens and state’s integrity.

„The action calls for the launch, under the auspices of the Presidency of the Republic of Moldova, a comprehensive process of reconfiguration towards setting-up an integrated national security and defence system. But it is essential that this process is guided by the competent national authorities in charge for the national security and defence sectors, such as the Ministry of Defence and the Security and Information Service, which also need in the first place to be urgently reorganised and empowered themselves. A special role in this process is assigned to the military and traditional diplomacy, advanced strategic knowledge tools with a strong intelligence component, improved public awareness and increased level of security culture across the entire society”, considers Viorel Cibotaru.

In this respect, the security sector reform process needs to be inclusive and encompassing pro-reform political actors, competent national authorities, civil society, national experts, but also international partners supporting the key national actors with methodologies, expertise and necessary technical assistance. A step in this direction would be the creation by the President of the Republic of Moldova of a National platform on security and defence issues, assigned with the role to reflect, consult, and advance policy proposals for a comprehensive security sector reform, which will also include thematic consultative committees and interinstitutional working groups on issues such as international cooperation in the field of international security.

For more details, please consult the Policy Brief here. The Romanian version is available here.

This policy brief was developed in the framework of the project „Policy bridges with the EU: Securing the Europeanisation process of the Republic of Moldova” implemented with the support of the Soros Foundation Moldova. The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors alone.


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