15 October 2018

Romania’s Armed Forces Human Resources- a secret for the lawmakers?

Stefan Danila

Some thoughts for the celebration of Human Resources Day, an event created with Defence Minister’s Order nr. M. 32 from 23th of February 2006, by which this date entered in traditions’ gallery of honoring military weapons and specialties.

Image source: Mediafax

Romania’s Armed Forces most important resource is the human resource! How many times did we hear this catch phrase? Especially in political discourses. It was, probably, said also on 9/22th of October 1862, when, through the High Decree of ruler Alexandru Ioan Cuza, across the War Ministry, it was founded the Military Operations and Personnel Directorate. It is said, it is always repeated when another law regarding the military personnel gets changed. But what is, actually, now when celebrating the Centenary, the truth about what the human being from state’s highest institution means, the one who must defend with his own existence, the territorial integrity and national unity and independency?

In World War I, although Romania entered the battle two years after starting, its armed forces were badly equipped, because all the money has been spent on onerous contracts. The militaries were untrained, and their “elites” were assigned on at least doubtful criteria. The arrogance of participating at the second Balkan War, which for many was just a braggadocio (the Bulgarians were already defeated by the other states which took their revenge after the first Balkan War) contributed also at taking some military decisions, which proved to be disastrous for the hundreds of thousands of casualty militaries. According to statistics, we had the biggest number of humans loses, considering the involved forces. The abreast number of humiliating defeats generated a hard withdrawal, but also the refugee of hundreds of thousands of people. Diseases and starvation led to loses accretion. The faith and the western allies from Entente made the battles from Marasti, Marasesti and Oituz matter.

100 years from ending this war, Armed Forces’ human resources are, again, celebrated, at least considering how this day is named. Actually, it is the celebration of those in charge with managing human resources, of the institution which elaborates and applies personnel’s policies, with the declared objective to create human resources’ management. In time, this activity involved a more and more necessary specialization, based in sociological, psychological (socio-behavioral) and juridical studies.

But let’s see, generally (without any innuendo at direction’s new designation), what is the actual situation of human resources, starting from an important document, the modification project for Law nr.446/2006 regarding population’s instruction for defence, which is on public debate on ministry’s site.  It could be a great chance to make a profound analysis of the real issues of the personnel working for the armed forces and the attributions of all citizens in defending the country.

From the document comes across that we have a package of laws, which should have the same basic concepts, to be logically and synergistic created in order to build national’s security very important juridical framework. Considering that changing a simple word from the Constitution is extremely hard to be done, it comes to parliamentarians to identify the solutions so that military’s cadre statute to include also militaries who have soldier, professional employees ranks, so not being enrolled to satisfy a mandatory service. The idea of reintroducing the obligatory service shows up from time to time in the public debate, but more as a media subject.

Also, from the same document comes over that things do not work as it should be, that there are laws which are using different terms, even different concepts. This willingness to harmonize the 446/2006 law with many laws, especially with those establishing the statute or statutes (!) of the personnel who is wearing the military uniform is extremely beneficial. All the same, from proposals’ analysis come across that the entire process is a bureaucratic one, a replacement one of some terms with another ones, and some of these show the lack of coherence and clarity of the reminded package of laws. The substantiation note is all the more eloquent for this.

The multiple modifications of the law regarding military’s cadre statute, the apparition of a new one, of professional militaries (so, the others are not “professionals”?), and, lately, of the “voluntary reservist”, were made, firstly from political reasons, with a certain involvement of some “experts” militaries, who tried to apply the politic demands.

Because it was exposed to a public debate, I see it necessary to express my opinion, in order to change something, before the decision to be taken. I sent the commissions a project about militaries statute, which is covering all the militaries categories: officers, petty officers, soldiers, reservists, active or retired. With this project it would be solved and clarified many of the actual problems regarding military career’s predictability, the entrance or the retirement from the armed forces, considering that a transparence it is absolutely necessary to vanish the existent doubts and incoherence.

The philosophy would be simple, starting from the fact that the beginning of a military career can be made in various situations, from entering to college, to an approximate 30 years of age after ending a Master. For each phase it is required a minimum military instruction, obligatory, followed by a specialization, where needed. Leaving the institution must be supported with a professional reconversion, in order to be incorporated in the civil society with a maximum efficiency. The most important, but also the most controversary thing would be the one which provides a 35 years maximum age to be a soldier. This comes because, if until this age the individual did not decided or did not prove the necessary qualities to continue his military career as petty officer or officer, then he must return to society, to another job, leaving others the chance to get that. This way it would be created a stronger connection between society and the institution and would offer the chance to get out from the more and more dangerous isolation condition, as closed, restricted domain. For the ones that at his specific time already crossed this age, I proposed some acceptable and applicable solutions.

Another argument, specific to all NATO member states, is that the soldier should properly wear the rank of the position he has. At the moment, this is something unclear, which raises many issues. Actually, in the other NATO states (at least the ones I have enough information about), are approaching also personnel’s salaries depending on their rank, with some incentive, depending on seniority, riskiness and difficulty to attract the personnel.

Assignations for higher positions than the rank one has it would be made only through the immediate conferment and the proper rank. Thus, it would not be possible on NATO or other international institutions positions, which accrues to Romania, with general rank (flag-to-post), allied representation positions, to be officers with inferior ranks than the respective position. This method was many times denounced by the commanders of the commissions or agencies where the respective officers were enrolled. Their professionalism was not questioned, but position’s proper rank was definitely missing!

Such decisions are possible only if a Strategic Defence Analysis is made, a process which should involve various opinions, but also a serious research, made by professionals. The actual structure of armed forces would be an important topic of this analysis, especially that at the base of the current strategy stays Army’s transformation Strategy, from 2007, a really good document, but…

Defence’s General Staff is a leading military structure which, actually, should be integrated in ministry’s structure, but other directions-and even departments - should disappear. This structure did its duty, analyzed the situation, identified some solutions, put them in a plan, which was then approved by Country’s Defence Supreme Council. But the guarantee of accomplishing this plan, as well as its validation could be given only by the Parliament. Based on my own experience, I know that armed forces’ future cannot be build through a secrete document. Secretive must the operations plans, operative documents, mobilization plans, but not the future of our country.

The General Direction for Human Resources Management is in continuous modernization, with more and more prepared personnel. Unfortunately, the regulations and policies that it must create are afflicted by laws incoherencies, frequent and incomplete modifications of these normative documents. A rigorous planification of the military education for training and perfectionism needs predictability and stability, simple and applicable rules.

Hence, human resources are truly defence’s most important resources, and for this it is necessary to create and adequate juridical framework, with responsibility and professionalism. Military’s personnel statute, which would assimilate all militaries as being military cadres, would only respect the Constitution. This is something necessary to all militaries categories, it is necessary for the institutions inside the national defence system, safety and public order, it is necessary for the Romanian state.

All of this aside, because we are celebrating Human Resources Day, let’s just send to Romania’s Army entire personnel all of our good regards and wish them success with the training, modern equipment and optimum training and life conditions. Many good things to come!