A Defence Planning System of Albania under the NATO Collective Defence

Research Paper (postgraduate), 2013

12 Pages

Free online reading

Abstract: This doctoral case study, chosen in cooperation with my research leader, Prof Gjatoja, is one of the major current subjects under discussions in the agenda of the national defence and security institutions and of the country.

It is closely connected with the great historic event of our country of four years ago in April, 2009: Albania's membership in the North Atlantic Alliance, and full integration in NATO- command structure, on 25 October 2013.

What is the Motivation of my Case Study? What has inspired me in my research to choose such a subject? How to better support the concrete integration process in the Alliance?

Fulfilment of the strategic goal of membership in the Alliance is not the end of our efforts. This does not mean that the integration process is closed. In this context, the key question of my motivation is how to become respected members of the Alliance, with both the benefits and the obligations stemming from the membership. This quality transformation of the concept of the defence of the country will be associated with complex reforms in the security and defence.

The Object of the Case Study. The object of this case study is to analyze what has changed since the day of our country's membership in the NATO summit of Strasbourg-Kehl, and to identify what needs to be further changed ahead until full integration into the Alliance. In other words, what has changed from Albania’s "de jure" membership and what is expected to be changed until full "de facto" integration?

In my view, there is a significant difference between the definition of membership and that of integration. In addition to things in common, these two notions cannot be fully identified with each other. While "de jure" membership relates to the accession date of our country in the Alliance, the "de facto" integration is a longer process associated with a sustainable progress in the political, economic, financial and military areas of the allied country, in order for it to normally exercise both benefits and contributions of collective security and defence, which are not necessarily achieved in the accession day. The 25 October 2013 is not the last station in our journey in the Alliance. It is one step of the many steps ahead to be carried out by the armed forces.

The Aim of the Case Study. The purpose of my study has less to do with the progress achieved during the pre-accession period and more with the challenges ahead. It has to do with the development of a strategic planning system to ensure the security and defence of the Republic of Albania, now as a member of the Euro-Atlantic Alliance and part of the collective defence.

Through the "lessons learned" approach of our country and other countries in this period, I tried to give answers to questions in the agenda of reforms of state security institutions, and particularly the Ministry of Defence and General Staff, such as: What are the changes required by the membership in the Alliance? Beyond the "de jure" membership, which are some of further "de facto” integration challenges? What are the benefits and obligations in the defence planning area? What should be the Level of Ambition of our country in NATO? What authority should be delegated to collective defence planning, and what contribution should be produced for collective defence? How much military forces are now enough for our country to accomplish the constitutional mission as a NATO ally? Can we get rid of the development of the armed forces as sometimes claimed by some sceptical and nihilistic views? If not, what are some of the main characteristics of the future force compared with the traditional one? How could they differ in size and quality from the current armed forces? What recommendations can be given in support of the capability priorities developed by the NATO Strategic Concept? What is the current system of national defence planning and how can it be further harmonized with the collective defence system? What are those elements that can measure such a thing? What civilian capabilities are needed to be together alongside the military ones? What are the mechanisms and structures to be used for the harmonization of our national defence planning system with that of the Alliance? Why should we be active in this process? The above questions are only some of the total bunch of questions ahead.

In my opinion, Albania is lucky to be a NATO member, at a time when the Alliance itself is going through a period of transformation. Its Strategic Concept 2010 and Lisbon Critical Capability Package, together with the "Smart Defence" package of projects of Chicago Summit in 2012, have given transformation messages for all allied countries for the ten coming years. With this in mind, the transformation of the Alliance is and will be conducted by each allied country through the long-term planning or the NATO Defence Planning Process (NDPP). Albania cannot be excluded from this process.

I believe that this qualitative change in the defence policy of our country cannot be easily completed; it requires knowledge, expertise, and professional engagement. Alliance is a giant mechanism of collective security and defence, with a history of over 60 years, with known and unknown paths and labyrinths, with unclassified and classified information, and under continuous transformation. Collective defence mechanisms are complex, very complicated and moving often with difficulties. In this sense, the transition from superficial understanding to deep knowledge of the Alliance's collective defence remains a fundamental issue for US. It is time now to develop our policies, articulate our positions, and formulate our approaches on various issues of the collective defence agenda.

Also, this study has resulted in the conclusion that, in order to build a national strategic defence planning system in harmony with the Alliance, we need to develop a strategic planning community of experts, which requires a period of at least 5 years. The Integration Conference Report, Albania - NATO 2011 stated that "... Albania's National Defence Planning System should be aligned with NATO Collective Defence Planning Process (NDPP). Decision­makers lack the knowledge of NDPP, and there are few national experts in the NDPP area. The modification of the defence planning process of RA should be taken into consideration... as well as training of experts in this field ".

Four year later, we have the Final Integration Conference, where the new Albanian Minister of Defence stated again that, and I quote; "the priority areas for the Ministry of Defence in the short term ahead are: first, the harmonization of the national defence planning process with NATO collective defence planning process; second, increase of interoperability with allied forces; third, maintaining of acceptable levels of defence budgets to meet national and international obligations; and fourth, contribution to regional security and stability"[1].

To support this goal, the author has taught about 48 classes each year since 2010, with the Senior Officer Courses of the Academy of Defence, which have shown both positive interest of the attendees and contributed to the gradual development of this strategic defence planning "pool of experts”.

The current defence planning system of our country under the collective defence system is still under development. With findings and recommendations, I consider myself part of its development, both the strength and weaknesses. However, this system is undergoing significant improvements to reflect the new reality of collective defence. One of the central conclusions is the fact that, in order to enjoy all the benefits of collective defence planning system, Albania should continue to harmonize timelines, processes, methodologies, documentation, disciplines, capacities, systems and main end-products of the Alliance collective defence. This still remains a major challenge for the post-accession period in the Alliance, which is being successfully managed, but also associated with many difficulties since 2010, assisted by NATO Strategic Commands, through Annual Integration Conferences.

Through facts, arguments, analysis and perspective views, I have drawn the conclusion that the period 2014-2020 will continue to be a period of reforms and transformation of Albania and AAF to meet NATO and EU standards. It will be a hard process, but not unknown. Since 1999, eight new NATO member countries have followed this process, so together the original values and characteristics which should show, we should also benefit from the lessons learned and best practices of NATO member countries in the past 20 years. The current practice of the period from membership to integration of new member states after 1999 has extended and continues to extend from 5 to 10 years from the date of their accession, which means that our country will continue this process at least until 2015. Also, five more years will be required for the consolidation of our country as an ally country, by 2020[2]. This period also coincides with the national efforts to join the EU. This makes the study even more interesting, especially for the obligations of the Ministry of Defence; to meet simultaneously the criteria of the equation of full NATO integration and EU membership.

The Structure of Case Study. Although this study is of primary interest for specialists and leaders at strategic level, I have tried to make it simple for the military experts of military operational and tactical level, as well as for civilian specialists in the area of civil protection planning.

- The first chapter. This chapter is an Introduction to Long Term Defence Planning, its origin and purpose. I have specifically addressed the Defence Planning theory during the Cold War and especially after the Cold War. Through introduction of a comparative study method, I have identified the differences between the Defence Planning, the Force Planning and Operational Planning. Further, I have described main classic/ traditional and modern methods of Defence Planning. Key focus is given to the Capability Based Planning method (СВР) as the most modern planning method of the 21st century. I have then reviewed the methodology and process of Long Term Defence Planning. Although this chapter is characterized more by theory, it is illustrated with many practical examples of Defence Planning in the twentieth century, and this century. My purpose is that, after a detailed explanation of the theoretical foundations of the Strategic Defence Planning, this chapter will normally bring the reader to the next chapters, dealing with the collective defence planning, and the defence planning in the Republic of Albania as part of collective defence. I think this approach makes the paper more understandable and logical in its reading.
- The second chapter. This chapter describes the basic foundations of Collective Defence Planning of the Alliance. In this chapter, I have addressed the NATO collective defence planning, analyzed key Disciplines of Defence Planning together with their related Authorities. Further, I have provided a study of the Defence Planning Capability Survey (NATO-DPCS), and described the concept of Level of Ambition of the Alliance. Also, the chapter is further focused on NATO types of missions, Collective Defence Planning scenarios, Essential Operational Capabilities (EOC), NATO Task List document (NTL), and Capability Codes and Statements. I have also explained the Types, Categories and Readiness Levels of the Alliance Forces, as well as the methodology of transition from the Defence Planning to Operations Planning in NATO. All this information, together with an analysis, synthesis, statistics and arguments given in this chapter directly serve the strategic level planners to understand the role of national defence planning in collective defence, along with benefits and contributions to it. This understanding and analysis gives to all interested readers an easier access in the third chapter.
- The third chapter. This chapter addresses the current Defence Planning system in RA, the changes it has experienced after NATO membership and the efforts being made to further harmonize the collective defence system of the Alliance. Based on the conclusions of first and second Chapters, the Chapter three has inside plenty of research, analysis and recommendations for the actualization of our defence planning system. This chapter addresses the key Defence Planning documents of the RA as an ally country. It also addresses potential disciplines of Defence Planning in RA, provides an original option of the Level of Ambition of RA; formulates a set of Planning Scenarios/ Situations of RA as an allied country; recommends a Capability Based Planning in the RA; gives an option of the necessary capabilities of the Future Force 2020; develops a concept of specialized "niche" capabilities in the RA; formulates a conceptual framework of a "Volunteer Reserve” force in AAF; and generates ideas for the institutionalization of a periodic process of Strategic Defence Review (SDR) in RA.
- The fourth chapter. This chapter is focused on the issue of the process of Strategic Defence Review (SDR) and its relations with Defence Planning. I have treated the approach, goals, methods and national-wide engagement in SDR; analysis of the experience of current national SDR progress 2013, as well as the articulation of a 'Smart Defence' concept as a new approach to national and regional defence planning.
- The fifth chapter. In this chapter of the case study, I have listed more than 30 findings and recommendations, which are coming as a logical result of the analysis, lessons learned, facts, arguments, and personal experience. Findings and recommendations are associated with an implementation action plan to develop a defence planning system as an allied country. I recommend these findings are of great interest for the defence planning experts and management staffs. Also, they can also serve the students of the Academy of Defence, research centres, and other interested researchers.

The Key Findings and Recommendations of the Case study

The study of 250 pages has identified 25 findings which give answers to the key questions for the development of a national defence planning system for Albania harmonized with the NATO Collective Defence Planning System (NDPP). The findings are shortly described as follows:

1. Harmonize our national defence planning system with that of NATO collective defence. This includes harmonization of methodology, content, timelines, responsible authorities, and products of the 5 steps of collective defence planning process of the Alliance (NDPP) with our defence planning system. This finding can be implemented in accordance with the assessments and recommendations given in the study, based on a National Defence Planning directive. This document, which shows 'who does what' in defence planning system, can be approved by the Minister of Defence every four years.
2. Adopt a Capability Based Planning System in Albania (СВР). In the context of СВР, I support the development of a national professional military force based not simply on the numbers, but first of all, on the quality of capabilities it develops. Therefore, among the ten traditional systems of defence planning, I recommend the Capability Based Planning Based method (СВР) as the most appropriate method for our country, as a method that naturally integrates all positive aspects of 10 defence planning methods, and better guarantees the harmonization with the collective defence planning of the Alliance. In distinction from the traditional term "force", the term "capability" integrates 8 essential elements of DOTMLPFI system: doctrine, organization, training, equipment, leadership, personnel, infrastructure and interoperability.
3. Develop a AAF Priority Plan to meet the goals of 'Capability Targets of Blue Book - 2013'. Capability development will be the key reform of the Armed Forces until 2020 and beyond. In my study, recommend our country and AAF should plan and implement with priority the 44 capability targets of the package of 'Capability Targets of the Blue Book - 2013’, regarding our country's obligations with the Alliance. To accomplish these targets, we should relate to the term "capability", i.e. meet their eight constituent elements. The Capability Based Planning (СВР) relies on the comprehensive approach of "a single set of forces" concept, which is treated in this study. It is linked both with national and international led operations by NATO/ EU/ UN or ad-hoc coalitions.
4. Adopt a Set of 12 planning disciplines in our national defence planning system, as recommended by this study. For this purpose, the study has designated relevant institutions/ departments responsible for each of the 12 planning disciplines and the respective Boards established in their support. These boards can be activated through a separate directive of the MOD, in accordance with the decision of the Council of Ministers on the boards.
5. Approve a Package/ Set of Planning Scenarios in AAF. Based on the detailed elaboration of this study, I have recommended a Package/ Set of 5 strategic scenarios themes with 23 operational scenarios, which can be reduced to 12-15 representative scenarios. For each scenario, it is decided the role the national security institutions will play; considering options such as the leading role, the supporting role, the coordinating role, or the informative role. Planning scenarios are considered as a basic link between force planning and operational planning.
6. Review the AAF operational planning system at the strategic, operational and tactical level. It is natural and logical that the adoption of the new set of planning scenarios as an allied country at the strategic level should be used for the actualization of full spectrum operational plans down to tactical level units. My recommendation is to establish cooperation with the Alliance for the development, in due time, of all strategic plans for the collective defence of the Republic of Albania, under Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, as well as our contribution to the Alliance to Article 5 'out of area' operations. In my understanding, the operational planning approach could be also followed by other institutions of national security, especially related to planning scenarios where they play a leading or supportive role.
7. Establish a continuous and constructive dialogue between policy makers and strategic military planners in the interest of national defence planning. Special role in finalizing the fundamental issues of defence planning must played by MOD Defence Policy Council, Security Policy Committee of the Council of Ministers and the National Security Council of the President of the Republic. I also recommend the inclusion in the process of representatives of other interest groups, stakeholders and civil society, to make this process transparent with regard to spending of taxpayers' money.
8. Build a community of highly skilled civilian and military experts of all disciplines of defence planning at MOD, Force level, and national representatives at NATO headquarters and force structure. My recommendation is that this community should be managed, develop their career, and possibly move within their planning discipline. Highly skilled and experienced early retired officers and civilians can be successfully used in these positions.
9. Formulate the Level of Ambition (L0A) of RA, which means the number of simultaneous participation in national and international operations. This L0A should be stated in a political directive at the highest level, ie, the Strategic Defence Review document in process. The level of ambition of the country should be more realistic and consistent with the economic and financial possibilities of the country, with the capability targets of Article 5 and Non-Article 5 operations, as well as with the AAF commitment to national civil emergencies. In my study, I recommended a rational Level of Ambition and specific conditions applicable in our country, which can be taken into consideration by the relevant authorities.
10. Reach the M0D target to support a defence budget of 1,5-2% of GDP by allocating up to 20% for AAF modernization. These figures are minimal to conduct qualitative reforms in the development of midterm capabilities for the full spectrum of mission at home and abroad. These budget levels are based on the Ministerial Directive of the Alliance, on the development of modern military capabilities, deployable, sustainable and interoperable with allied standards. Priorities of the defence budget will be focused on motivation of personnel, modernization, individual and unit training, as well as contribution to national and international operations.
11. Formulate a new National Security Strategy, Military Strategy and Long Term Development Plan (PAZH) as an allied country. These documents should be based on principles of collective defence, the Alliance Strategic Concept, as well as the EU's ESDP. In my mind, we have to complete as soon as possible these strategic documents in accordance with the recently updated strategic documents and policy of the Alliance, such as NATO Strategic Concept 2010. Also, my recommendation is to follow the approach of equivalence of all national security and defence documents with the respective collective defence documents. In this context, in order to avoid the production of excessive traditional security and defence documents, I recommend a realistic approach for the integration of some of strategic documents, such as the national security strategy/ policy and defence policy/ military strategy etc. Also, I recommend that PAZH is normally approved at the highest possible political decision, in order to survive to rotations of political powers.
12. Institutionalize a periodic process of the Strategic Defence Review (SDR) in support of defence planning. In my judgment, only through a periodic analytic SDR process we can conduct qualitative reforms in the Armed Forces. For many reasons, many 'reforms' in the last 20 years have been conducted simply on the empirical basis and not based on such analytical processes. My recommendation is that SDR should be conducted every 4-6 years including other security institutions, interest groups and civil society. The SDR is following an assessment of the necessary capabilities for the defence of the RA as a member of NATO, especially in the context of the Alliance's Strategic Concept and NATO Defence Planning Process (NDPP) of 2009.
13. Update the teaching curricula of senior officers’ courses of AAF Academy and other schools with the theory and practice of defence planning. The study emphasises that all educational institutions and units of AAF Academy and other schools should update their training curricula, education programs with Article 5/ Non-Article 5 operations with the Alliance, as well as national civil emergency and asymmetric operations. The study has also concluded that all AAF staff unit training should be oriented to new tactical tasks based on the new Planning Scenarios Package as an ally country. Also, the fundamental issues of defence planning should be subject to strategic and operational research studies of M0D research centres.
14. Continue the ratification and implementation of STANAGs in AAF according to the annual and long-term standardization plan in AAF. These Standardization Plans are based on the AAF operations under collective defence, starting with the 'capstone' doctrines and then the main doctrines of operations within and outside Article 5. Also, build the AAF doctrinal hierarchy, taking into account that the doctrinal basis for operations outside Article 5 or Article 5, will be the Alliance doctrinal basis. Main efforts on doctrinal development should be focused on Armed Forces operations in national civil emergency and national independent operations, according to Sets of Planning Scenarios recommended.
15. Develop the Mission Essential Tasks List for the three levels of AAF tasks: strategic, operational and tactical (ST, OT, TT), based on the experience of the NATO Task List's (NTL) and Capability Codes and Statements of 2010. List the three types of missions of AAF based on their constitutional mission and types of NATO mission.
16. Establish a Readiness Unit System in AAF, based on the readiness category system expressed in the Alliance Force Standards (AFS - HRF/ FLR/ LTBF) for land forces, air force, navy, and unit staffs and other special units. This readiness unit system should be also based on the types of units we have declared and committed in the Capability Target Package CT-2013, Capability Codes and Statements, and the relevant Alliance Forces Standards (AFS-1 and AFS-9) and units for national typical missions. We should keep in consideration that the units declared for international operations should be deployable and sustainable (z'e, have the capacity of strategic deployment and logistic support, etc.), beyond the area of responsibility, within 10ฏ/0 to 50ฏ/0 of the total of AAF.
17. Adopt the Alliance TEEP system (ACT) for training, education, exercises and evaluation process in AAF units (individual and collective). The study supports the application of the 75-2,3,7 Directive for individual and collective training and education. For this purpose, I recommend the introduction and implementation of unit evaluation system CREVAL, TACEVAL, MARÉVAL for land, air and maritime units, according to their mission essential task lists.
18. Consider a ‘comprehensive approach' concept at national level. In addition to military capabilities, we should also take into consideration the civilian capabilities required by the CT-2013 package for stabilization and reconstruction purposes. Civilian contributions can be identified by the capability target package. NATO collective defence is not simply an issue of military capabilities; it is also an issue of civilian capabilities.
19. Develop a revision of the legal, organizational and doctrinal framework, and all state capabilities required for civil emergencies. This review should be conducted according to the SDR best practice, and aimed at further improvement of coordination of inter-institutional efforts and a better management of the entire national capabilities in the future, based on the findings of the 'lessons learned' system.
20. Consider the development of a specialized role "niche" capability concept in AAF, according to the recommendations in this study. Participation in national and international operations will become more flexible in the future; in addition to the traditional units we can make available non-traditional specialized 'niche' modules with high level ranking need in the NATO system.
21. Build a national concept for the development of a voluntary reserve component in the future AAF structure. This study recommends the establishment of a experienced working group in the above matters to prepare a set of conceptual, legal, organizational, motivational, training, financial for a volunteer reserve component in AAF. Volunteer reserve component can focus on civil emergencies and peace support operations of AAF, according to the needs of commanders of forces/ units. To do that, the Personnel and Recruiting Centre can have an additional reserve component sector.
22. Develop a national document named "Assessment of Security Environment" by a joint working group of all intelligence agencies, equivalent with the allied document MC-161 "Intelligence Estimate". This document can serve the Strategic Defence Review and other documents of national security.
23. Adopt an integrated approach of 'Smart Defence' in the Defence Planning of RA, based on the Lisbon Strategic Concept. Capability development under the 'smart' concept will consider national, bilateral, multilateral and regional options. This approach is in accordance and cooperation initiatives with countries in the region, in particular with Kosovo, as well as other regional forms, with the aim to develop ‘more capabilities with fewer resources’.
24. Introduce a C2 system based on the allied concept of "force user" and "force provider", created with the modules/ packages of capability targets. Priority of the defence reforms of small countries, our country included, will be focused on the development of modular forces. Force modules based on the concept of the modular force should be the basis for the Task Force concept. The development of such a force is a relatively new culture and concept in AAF versus the traditional force concept. Capability Based Planning (СВР) in our case will be primarily focused on the employment of battalion/ company task forces and sometimes even platoon level task force. These task force units, tailored to the specific mission, will be the basis of future missions of AAF. Priority in future scenarios will be given to training in the 'task force' format, either at battalion or company/ platoon level.
25. Develop a more rational and practical structure for the Future Force 2020 based on the findings of the Strategic Defence Review. The study outlines the recommendation that AAF priority should be on future force capabilities. Based on the capabilities generated by the Set of 13 SDR Scenarios our strategic planners should identify surpluses and shortfalls of AAF capabilities, parallel structures, and duplication of capabilities between the services of the Armed Forces, as well as between different state institutions, in land, air and sea. My recommendation is to avoid, if possible, the traditional structure of commands of land, maritime, and air forces, and adopt a Joint Operational Command in the General Staff, as a "force user" for the directly subordinate battalion level units serving as "force providers". With a target of 8500 force strength we cannot act with the concepts of traditional forces. The concept of "force user” and ‘force provider' treated by the author may serve as "food for thoughts" on this issue. There is also more place for a more integrated Ministry of Defence with General Staff, in concept, management and organization structure.

Conclusion. As a conclusion, I think that, besides the cognitive, comparative and analytical values of this doctorate study, it also promotes applicative values to be applied in the mid and long term. So, besides the retrospective analysis, this case study provides a development platform with over 25 findings, recommendations offering specific solutions for high civilian and military authorities regarding to issues of national defence planning in the coming years.

In addition to the broad literature of some 150 best authors of the area, used to develop this case study, I think I have also integrated my modest creativity based on knowledge, expertise and personal experience of more than 20 years in this field.

I believe this study can also serve the strategic planners of Kosovo Security Force to begin designing the Future Force of the Republic of Kosovo as an independent state. They are welcome to learn from the progress we have made and the lessons we have learned in the area of strategic defence planning.


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[1] Speech of Minister of Defence, Mrs. Mimi Kodheli in the NATO-Albania Final Integration Conference, in 25 Oct 2013.

[2] The data are given under a 'de facto' format, because the 'de jure' integration status in NATO command and force structure is reached at 25 Oct 2013.

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A Defence Planning System of Albania under the NATO Collective Defence
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PhD Candidate Thimi Hudhra (Author), 2013, A Defence Planning System of Albania under the NATO Collective Defence, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/434806


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