02 October 2020

The Government has approved the White Paper on Defence: a 2,26% of GDP budget for 2020

Florin Jipa

The Romanian government has approved, in today’s meeting, the White Paper on Defence. According to that, Romania is facing a large category of new threats, more sophisticated and complex.

Image source: MApN

The security environment has changed

In the document elaborated by the Ministry of Defence (MoND) for the implementation of the National Defence Strategy 2020-2024 it is claimed that the security situation has changed, as countries have changed their objectives from fighting terrorism to defence missions for their country.

Alike in the National defence Strategy, states’ representatives have avoided calling on the countries which are creating regional instability (Russia, China, Turkey, etc.), but they highlighted the areas where such instability is present:

Regionally, there are some attempts from several countries to reaffirm their leader position in the area by contesting or even breaking the current international norms, but also to get back to a force policy and assertiveness of some powers which are disputing the current international order based on the Western principles specific to democracy and economic liberalism.

The big powers competition for the control of common strategic interests areas (the Black Sea Region, the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, Middle East, Asia-Pacific) and the direct or indirect involvement of these actors in the developing conflicts have negative consequences over the regional security. This happens also during the power falloff of dominating actors on the international political scene, due to the reconfiguration of the strategic options and the promotion of isolationist/coercive policies within the international relations, concurrently with the emergence of major actors, following a strategic coherence provided on different action courses in the foreign policy.

The risk of a major armed conflict is still low

However, the document says that the risk of starting a major armed conflict is still low, however, being noticed the tendency to use hybrid tactics to achieve one’s own ambitions in the interference areas of strategic interests.

The main objectives of the defence policy for 2020-2024 are: the development of modern defence capabilities, including through the contribution to national resilience’s increase; the consolidation of Romania’s profile, focusing on the defence and deterrence position within NATO, as well as on the contribution within the Common Security and Defense Policy; the consolidation of the strategic partnership with the US and the development of cooperation with Romania’s strategic partners; the consolidation of Romania’s profile as security provider in the Wider Black Sea Region, the development of both bilateral and multilateral cooperation.

Romania will provide 2% of GDP for defence and will continue to rely on NATO, EU and the USA

Romania will continue to provide the parameters established in NATO’s framework on the 2% of GDP spending for defence, wherefrom 20% are dedicated to equipment and modernization, respectively 2% for research, development and innovation.

Besides NATO and the EU, Romania will continue to rely on the United States. The strategic partnership with the USA offers the ideal framework to consolidate the relations between the armed forces of the two countries in order to emphasize the strategic position of Romania in the Black Sea.

Among Romania’s ambitions there is the planning, organization and execution of the deterrence and defence operation, in a national or allied context, with a group of joint forces, initially composed of an armed unit, properly supported by air, naval and special operations forces, cyber-defence capabilities, logistic support forces and communications and informatics.

The MoND admits that in order to accomplish the proposed objectives the Armed Forces need advanced equipment, compatible and interoperable with the ones the NATO and EU member states’ Armed Forces have.

When it comes to the necessary methods to accomplish the mission, the MoND is aware of the needed capabilities, but does not give any details on how these will be achieved in the 2020-2024 period

Considering the action fields, Romania’s Armed Forces are developing the following types of capabilities:

Command, control and communications: C3 strategic, operative and tactical level, communication and informatics centers and support units in the communications and informatics field;

Commitment:  infantry mechanized units and large units, tanks, mountain hunters, artillery, special operations forces, fight aviation, fight helicopters, sea and river fight ships, marine infantry, cyber defence, military police and psychological operations;

Intelligence: military intelligence, surveillance and research units and large units;

Force projection: air-ground missiles units and large units, air defence, engineering, CRBN defence, EOD, mining/demining and the protection of Romanian and foreign military dignitaries on national field;

Support: operational and support logistics units and large units.

The Armed Forces have great plans for the following years

As for the development of capabilities, Romania’s Armed Forces will focus its efforts on different action courses, without being, however, specified the costs and implementation time.

-equipping the force structures with advanced military equipment and technique which are interoperable, able to respond to the current and future operational demands;

-the advanced development of C4ISR capabilities to eliminate the gained differences;

-the continuation of the telecommunications military satellite system;

-the launching of multifunctional drones project, on different useful tasks and dimensions;

-the launching of the project individual system “soldier of the future”;

-the modernization of infrastructure, networks and C4ISR systems on a tactical, operative and strategic level and their interconnection with NATO and SNS’s ones;

-the increase of the protection, force projection capacity, tactical mobility, flexibility, modularity and interoperability level of the national forces with those of the allies;

-providing the mobility of our own forces of those of the allies;

-providing resilience and increase the commitment potential in decisive military actions of our forces and the allied ones;

The Armed Forces want to invest in helicopters and minehunters

In the 2020 White Paper, the MoND presents an essential investments program dedicated to providing the security interests of the Romanian state. Among the already known ones, like the armored carrier, armored ground vehicles and light vehicles, C4A systems with ISTAR integration capabilities, multirole aircrafts for the Air Forces etc., there are also mentioned helicopters and minehunters.

For 2020, the MoND relies on a 24 billion RON budget, which is around 2,26% of the GDP. Starting with 2021, the budget will be 2% of GDP, which means that it decreases with 1 billion RON.