Evolving security circumstances and new threats demand new approach and instruments within national defence system. Azerbaijan is responding adequately by means of improving its defence and security sectors. Meanwhile, the on-going defence and security sector reforms are demonstrating our commitments to the Euro-Atlantic values.
Azerbaijan was one of the first Partners to join the Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) in 2004, which was suggested by NATO as a new PfP mechanism to provide Alliance’s assistance in the field of defence reforms. In the IPAP framework Azerbaijan has launched various processes to develop effective defence system based on national strategy and procedures and efficient interagency cooperation.
Azerbaijan’s National Security Concept (approved on on 23 May 2007) continues to be the basis for the development of other strategic policy documents. It has served as a basis for the subsequent elaboration of Military Doctrine (approved on 08 June 2010) that defines the missions of the Armed Forces more comprehensively based on the strategic environment and threat assessment.
Military Doctrine details conditions, processes and factors that menace realisation of the national interests and challenge national security of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Military Doctrine constitutes the military-strategic, military-economic, military-technical and organisational (structural) basis of the national security. Military Doctrine defines tasks and responsibilities, current and mid-term priorities for building, development and readiness of the Armed Forces and other legal armed formations (State Border Service, Internal Troops and others) of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The articles of the Military Doctrine, in coordinated manner, provide implementation of the military, political, economic, informative, legal activities by state and local self-governed organisations, Armed Forces and other legal armed formations that contribute to military security. If necessary, citizen establishments (organisations) and individual representatives of the society can be involved in the implementation of the objectives laid out in these articles.
The Maritime Security Strategy document has been recently completed and approved. These were followed by the Strategic Defence Review (SDR), which lays out the basis for the development of more effective and capable defence system and armed forces.
Based on the principles of the National Security Concept and Military Doctrine SDR defines the structure, the infrastructure and tasks of the Armed Forces to meet the defence and security missions established by the Military Doctrine taking into due account the strategic environment, threat assessment and available resources. As a preparatory measure to conduct SDR, Azerbaijan has completed an inventory of its Armed Forces’ infrastructure and equipment. This included an estimation of the value of equipment and its depreciation over time, life cycle costs of units, which includes cost of training, maintenance, modernization and daily operations. Figures, numbers and other data are updated and developed regularly and are used in the SDR process.
The top objectives of the SDR are to define the functional efficiency of the security system and develop required capabilities measured against available resources, to tackle current and future threats. The other objectives are:
- Based on the directions of NSC to implement national security policy and support the missions identified in the Military Doctrine;
- In order to further develop national defence capabilities and increase an effectiveness of the national defence system to conduct an assessment of the current status of the armed forces and other military formations, to identify the gaps and shortfalls;
- Develop national defence transformation strategy. Define and develop implement main programmes and conceptual documents;
- Define national procedures to adapt and integrate the modern standards in the defence and security system. These will support the training of capable defence forces.
Using the results of SDR the details and priorities of defence plans for the period 2013-2018 will be further elaborated and integrated, covering MOD modernization plan in longer term. It includes inter alia the modernisation of its logistics support and improvement of logistics system, the gradual modernisation and replacement of its military equipment, establishment of modern communication system within armed forces and infrastructure improvements. These priorities are included in the Azerbaijan IPAP as mid and long term objectives.
Transformation of the Armed Forces, including restructuring in accordance with NATO standards, plays significant role in overall defence reforms. Transition of the armed forces onto the new J/G/S structure plays significant role in overall transformation process and lays basis for conducting defence reforms. At the lower level (corps and brigades) the reorganisation in accordance with new structure has been completed. During this process the experience of many NATO Nations has been studied. The restructuring of the MOD and General Staff has also been completed. The new structure of the joint Ministry and General Staff, in place since August 2009, is composed of the Secretariat of the Ministry, J1 to J8 departments and five additional departments (International Military Cooperation, Administration, Legal, Medical and Main Inspection). The Defence Planning and Strategy Department is responsible for the development of the armed forces including its structure and equipment. Other new departments responsible for training and education, and personnel management have also been established. This transformation has been based on the experience shared with a number of NATO nations. Since 01 August 2009, Ministry of Defence and General Staff has been reorganised in accordance with new structure. Practical implementation of the relevant tasks is well underway. Delineation of tasks and responsibilities, terms of reference, new regulations and procedures are being developed and necessary amendments to the legislation are proposed. Moreover, in the framework of the overall restructuring process a number of tasks are being implemented. The terms of reference for each position in the armed forces, new operational rules and procedures and instructions are being developed. The structure will be reviewed regularly in order to adapt it new emerging requirements and needs and new strategic environment.
Moreover, in the framework of the overall restructuring process number of important tasks is being executed. The terms of reference for each position in the armed forces, new standing operational procedures, field manuals and instructions are being developed. In these efforts Azerbaijan is supported by NATO’s Allied Command Transformation, which conducted three several Mobile Training Team’s (MTT) visits to Azerbaijan.