355.45(497.7) Scientific article
Goran Vasilevski, PhD
Ministry of Defense, Republic of Macedonia
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ABSTRACT: There is no dilemma that military symbolizes the power and the capacity of the state to ensure the security of its boundaries, but also to influence the security in wider frameworks. Military potential itself was the grounds for the equilibrium of the world until the fall of the Berlin Wall. However, the following historic events have
entailed a redefinition process of the military’s place in the state. This has resulted in reforms of the military potential and the interconnection of the civil and the military
relations at both the national and the international level. The current threats and risks against security additionally underline the necessity for such interconnection because the military culture significantly differs from the civilian culture in the approach to certain security related issues. The situation in the Republic of Macedonia since the period of gaining independence onwards is similar. This text aims to make a very brief analysis of the preference of the military security option over the civilian option, and, at the same time, of the situation in the Republic of Macedonia related to this issue in the past 20 years.
Key words: armed forces, defence interests, security environment, political influence, security threats.

Нема дилема дека армијата ја симболизира моќта и способноста на државата да ја осигура безбедноста во своите граници, но и да влијае врз
безбедносните состојби во пошироки рамки. Токму на армискиот потенцијал се базираше и рамнотежата во светот до паѓањето на Белринскиот ѕид. Но подоцнежните историски настани, условија процес на редефинирање на местото на армијата во државата. Ова резултираше со реформски процеси на армискиот потенцијал и отпочнување интерконекција во цивилно-воените односи на национално и меѓународно ниво. Актуелните закани и ризици по безбедноста, дополнително ја нагласуваат потребата од ваква интерконекција, бидејќи армиската култура значително се разликува од цивилната култура во приодот кон одредени безбедносни прашања. Слични се состојбите и во Република Македонија од осамостојувањето наваму. Овој текст се обидува да изврши сосема кратка анализа за фаворизирањето на воената наспроти


цивилната безбедносна опција, а воедно и за состојбата во Република Македонија по ова прашање во изминатите 20 години.
Клучни зборови: вооружени сили, одбранбени интереси, безбедносно опкружување, политичко влијание, безбедносни закани
Security has been an imperative for all civilizations known in history. If the progress of the societies is followed, it is impossible to find evidence for shaping and structuring of any community, having existed in a certain period of time, without having an urging need to organize a protection system for its own values. In doing so, there has also been a tendency to build a security strategy as one of the basic functions that the stability of the society cannot be achieved without. This is one of the basic reasons why the security, as one of the fundamental prerequisites for the development of the society, is placed in the focus of the scientific discussions of the academic circles, but also of the wider public as well.
The analysis of the existing internal, bilateral and international relations of the sates on the inhabited continents leads to the conclusion that any (positive or negative)
influence on the security in one area produce triggers a series of security reactions in another area. The dynamic nature of the globalization brings about a change of the security management depending on the political, cultural or economic influences. The need for change was recognized immediately after the attacks against the USA on 11/09/2012.
Particularly interesting is the comparison of the individual with the national security, where by definition the freedom and the security of the individual are exploited in
the interest of the state (the nation). The strongest argument for this is the existence of the armed forces which consist of its own citizens. This particularly stands for the states where compulsory military service is complied with.
The widely supported maxim that security has no cost has not prevented the restrictive interventions in the defense and military budgets in the last two decades. Such a
trend has resulted in the endeavors to enhance the civilian power, with a belief that the decreasing of the military potential can be compensated with increased practice of
diplomatic and economic activities. One of the first steps in this direction was made by the EU at the Helsinki Summit in December 1999 by adopting the non-military crisis
management Action Plan which has set in motion a series of other initiatives aimed at reinforcing the civilian component in the context of improved security.
However, the week (unsuccessful) states that continually threaten the stability, development and peace in certain geographical regions still leave the dilemma opened


whether practicing non-military security can successfully meet the security challenges of the new century. Additional dilemma is whether the non-military institutional segments of the state and the international community can successfully address the transnational arms smuggling, the surfacing of different terrorist, insurgent and paramilitary organizations in various geographical areas which influence the regional security ambiance. The impression is that the way in which these threats are addresses by trained and well equipped armed forces gives much better results so far.


The military, which has been instituted with the creation of the modern states at the end of the middle century, is tasked to demonstrate the power of the state. There is
almost no sovereign state that does not have its own armed forces15, because they symbolize the coat and armor of the state. Most of the states base the efficient and stabile functioning of the security system, particularly in the defence area, on the capacity of the armed forces, i.e. the military, which as one of the most significant parts of the defense system plays a significant role in the ensuring of the security and defense interests. By definition military is a well organized, political and socially aware entity, which together with the other social groups represents an actor in the social and the political arena. It is made capable for possible use of force when necessity occurs for the protection of the nation from external aggression or internal violence. The military is subordinated to the state institutions and it needs to be distanced from the sphere of the political decision making, though as a social subject it represents a tool of the politics. More precisely, the political subordination of the military does not mean its loyalty to a certain regime or to the policy and ideology of a certain political party, but its subordination to the constitution and the law (Vankovska, 2007).
Basically, the mission of the military is to defend the society from military risks and security threats and to prevent armed threats against the territory, the air and the aquatic space of the state. At the same time, military supports the civilian authorities in their fight against terrorism and organized crime, and participates in the management of natural and other types of emergencies. Military’s participation in peace building, peace keeping and peace stabilization operations on bilateral and multilateral basis always has to be in line with the constitutional and the legal provisions of the state. Furthermore, the military also has a social function to participate in the building of the nation (Manual for Parliament 

15 Vatican, as the smallest state in the world, also has a regular military, the so called Swiss Guard which has one hundred members.


Members no. 5, Parliamentary Oversight of the Security Sector: Principles, Mechanisms and Practices, IPU-DCAF, Geneva, 2003). The size of the military, its structure, functioning and the level of its capability to accomplish tasks depend on the defense policy and the economic capacity of the state.
Starting from 1990 onwards, most of the armed forces of the states in the world have passed through phases of drastic structural and personnel reforms. In the postcommunist countries the first steps were aimed at reforms for democratization of the military in order to make it accountable in front of the democratically elected political leadership, as well as to harmonize the resources necessary for the military with the other resources in the society.
The changes in the international political and security arena have called for adaptation of the militaries to the new security environment. The new security challenges have contributed to the internationalization of the military activities. Thus, along with the national tasks, through the prism of the international cooperation, the military is also
engaged outside of the boundaries of the state. The involvement in missions outside the state boundaries is due to at least two reasons. The first one is to manifest military power in order to prevent potential conflicts, i.e. to avoid the possible effects of the ones that have already been initiated, and the second is to contribute to the security of the people in the conflict areas. However, besides its contribution to security, due to its own purpose and the character of activities, the military also creates, directly and indirectly, negative security situations during each engagement. An example for this is the military intervention in Iraq where since March 2003 until the end of 2011 nearly 162 000 people have been killed, of which nearly 114 000 (79%) civilians. Of the total number of killed civilians nearly 3 900 have been children under 18 years of age16. This only confirms the brutality and the negative effects of one military intervention. The impression stands as a warning that military is engaged at times when the economic and political instruments used for managing the globalization fail.
The change of the nature of the security threats in the new century asks for an adapted approach and organization of the institutions to address unconventional intrastate
wars (Knopf, 2007:374-375). (The military of the Republic of Macedonia was also engaged in such conditions in 2001.) Such reasons entail a revolutionary approach to the way of facing an adversary who does not have a formally structured military, an adversary without maneuvering forces and the one who has not been designed for conventional battle. The new security forces have also influenced the conventional defense approach which has led

16Source: (January 2012 )



to changed military strategy. According to L. Panetta, the change of the defense strategy  also means restructuring of the armed forces that should be smaller, leaner but agile and technologically capable force to confront and defeat any adversary. This asks for adaptation of the military forces which are required to respond to the unpredictable threats and challenges in the future (E.Panetta, 2012).
The new threats require engaging of military potential on one very different and, until now, less exploited battle field. Namely, in the cyber space which is developed as
quickly as the technology itself, together with the war being led for domination over it. This war makes it possible to perform activities that would threaten the national security, and the ones that would be completely independent from the territory and the extensiveness of the physical security resources of the state. Security threats in the cyber space are considered as one of the biggest threats against the international peace in the 21st century (Schneier and Fear, 2003). That forces the creators of the national defense and security policy to have in mind the immediate participation of the military and of the intelligence structures in the newly discovered cyber space. The reason is that both the military and the civilian structures use completely the same technical means. The basic difference lies in the context and the goal because the global electronic connection exposes the security of the overall civilian infrastructure to threats (Tafoya, 2011).
The unconventional conflicts, such as the NATO campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq, require a significant military presence, though the military action is secondary to the
political (civilian) decision. Such campaigns involve a significant number of civilian personnel, because in parallel to the combat activities, there is also an immediate contact of the military forces with the local civilian population (Leavenworth, 2006) whose basic human rights and requirements need to be provided for.
Though their shape and scope cannot be determined yet, security threats and challenges in the 21 century become evident. However, this is a space too short to include
the advantages (creating positive sense of security, deterring the possible threats, participation in peace missions or conflict prevention missions …) and the consequences
(significant number of victims and demolishing caused by military actions, big financial expenditures, destruction of infrastructure and natural resources, socially misplaced military veterans …) of the military engagement. Still the fact remains that in the future the military will continue to represent a key security factor in both national and international frameworks, reacting always when the state or the wider community will feel that the vital civilization values and interests have been threatened.


The last decade of this century has been marked by significant changes in the security ambiance. Security primarily from the military sphere has mostly expanded to areas such as the economy, the energy, the societal and the ecological security, with emphasis on the security of the individual. The formal vanishing of the block confrontation, the influence of democracy in the post-regime societies, the creating of a multi-polar world followed by intensive cultural and economic cooperation, together with the interconnection and the integrative processes in the security area, decrease the risks from conventional clashes among the states. At the same time it is considered that the risk of a global military conflict has been significantly diminished although the engagement of the militaries has been increased repeatedly in comparison to the time of the Cold War.
Of course, the globalization, which has made it easier for the security threats and challenges to cross the national borders, should not be forgotten either. The globalization
has contributed to spreading prosperity by accelerating the transfer of trade, technology and ideas, but it can also propagate destabilizing influences. While globalization has brought prosperity to people around the world, its benefits are unequally distributed, creating “have” and “have not” conditions that can spawn conflict. In addition, the
interdependence of the global economy amplifies the local impact of distant crises, as demonstrated by the food, energy and financial disruptions (Casey, 2009).
The globalization has also changed the conventional approach to security where the states were the object of security, and at the same time, the primary providers of
security (Burgess, 2009). Nowadays, something can represent a security issue even if it does not threaten the state. It means that the state does no longer represent the only one and the exclusive reference object of security and that it is no longer possible to equalize security with the traditional military security and the use of force (Panic, 2009:35-37).
The new forms of nationalism, ethnic conflicts and civil wars, the organized crime in all its shapes, the information technology, the biological and chemical threats, the conflicts for energy and life resources, the pandemics, the massive migrations and the transnational terrorism become challenges for the conventional approach to the security threats. In such conditions, none of the states can solve the multitude of security threats alone. The globalized setup makes it very difficult to solve the security threats with the traditional running of the foreign and the defense politics. Hence, security and non-security are not based only on the military power, and at the same time the social, the economic, the cultural and the ecological aspects gain a more significant role (Tuchman, 1989:162-177). One of the non-military threats against security in the world today is also poverty, mainly caused by the development of the rich countries and the underdevelopment of the


countries of the so called Third World. Poverty produces massive migrations, crime at local, regional and international level, overpopulation, pollution, unemployment, corruption, terrorism, intolerance, xenophobia and etc (Muresan, 1998). Addressing these security threats means involvement of the civilian segments of the state and the international community, and primarily of the police and security subjects, the medical and the social capacities and of other institutional segments. The organized non-governmental subjects and their wide spectrum of activities play a major role and have a significant influence on the international stage.
Technology is another double-edged sword. Inexpensive access to information enables entrepreneurs and innovators to collaborate in developing new technologies and
improving the existing ones. Yet, there is a possibility for exploring these same technologies to export terror around the globe (Casey, 2009).
According to the former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, security can no longer be narrowly defined as the absence of armed conflict, be it between or within states. Gross abuses of human rights, the large-scale displacement of civilian populations, international terrorism, the AIDS pandemic, drug and arms trafficking and environmental disasters present a direct threat to human security, forcing us to adopt a much more coordinated approach to a range of issues.17
The 2003 European Security Strategy is also concerned with the changed nature of the international relations in the world. This document challenges the traditional concept of security which understands engagement of military power for defending the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the state, demonstrating the parting from the state and the military-centric security concept, and promoting a new approach which involves more the threats of non-military nature. This understands expanding of the military threats with the non-military ones, as well as deepening the security concept which, besides the state also acknowledges its citizens as the object for protection18. This also entails political and economic unification of an increasingly bigger number of states in the world which, by participating in unions, prefer minimizing the security risks and threats for their easier addressing.
However, one idea, its planning and shaping, and later its implementation, has caused a lot of controversial reactions, thus attracting major media attention and placing
under the question mark the endeavors for reinforcing the civilian component and its

17 Report of the Secretary-General on the work of the Organization, Official Records of the fifty-fifth session of the General Assembly, Supplement No. 1 (A/55/1) of 30 August 2000
18 “A secure Europe in a better world; European Security Strategy” International and Security Affairs Centre, Bruxelles, 2003 год


influence on the security at the national, the regional and at the global level. The idea in question is the launching of the missile shield, i.e. the installing of a nuclear warhead ballistic missiles defense system and its promotion as the priority for the national security of one or a number of states. This project has significantly diminished the efforts for demilitarization of certain issues when security is in question. But this is a question that imposes a different approach to security at the global level.


Even when becoming independent in 1991 the Republic of Macedonia found itself in a specific security vacuum. In the moment of gaining independence on its territory
Macedonia had the federal army which was under political influence, and therefore it was difficult to predict its reaction. On the other hand, the referendum which preceded the act of independence was characterized by the non-participation of the second in number ethnic group in the country, which produced distrust between the two most numerous ethnicums. Finally, in that period the Republic of Macedonia was also faced with a disagreeable political and economic position conditioned by the Greek veto for establishing the country on the wider international stage under the constitutional name. In such conditions, more or less successful were the many maneuvers of the then state authorities supported by the international diplomatic factors. However, in the Macedonian society, as in the many postcommunist societies with different political, social and ethnic characteristics and with limited economic resources, the potentials for conflict were structurally incorporated (Mitrevska и соработници, 2009:92) and then in 2001 they escalated in an armed conflict. Except the establishing and the structuring of its own military forces in 1992, the Republic of Macedonia has not yet found a permanent solution for the other two above mentioned problems which follow it since the independence onward and which represent factors of key importance to the security.
In the period from 14 February 1992 till the passing of the Defense Law in the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia, through overtaking the border checkpoint “Ramna Niva” at the Macedonian-Bulgarian border by the reserve military personnel in March and with the arrival of the first recruit in the middle of April the same year, began the
establishing of the Army of the Republic of Macedonia - the ARM. Until 2006 the Republic of Macedonia practiced compulsory military service (except for the special unit comprised of professional soldiers), and since October the same year, it established a fully professional structure. In line with the legislation in force, voluntary military service is practiced in the Republic of Macedonia and it is made possible for the individuals who are assessed to be


capable for military service by a competent military medical committee19. The role of the ARM corresponds to the mission of each national military, but the strong political influence at the moment disturbs the hierarchy, the organization and the discipline as the basic principles that every military structure is based on.
Some of the basic security problems in the Republic of Macedonia are the influence of the political parties and the distrust among the different ethnic groups where the most dominating are the differences between the Macedonian and the Albanian citizens. In essence, the problem has a predominating political foundation. The emphasized differences led to open confrontations for the first time in 1994 with the establishing of the then illegal University of Tetovo and the subsequent intervention by the police. The next conflict with an ethnic indicator, which increased the division between the Macedonians and the Albanians, happened in 1997 in Gostivar. The police intervened in this case as well. The opened armed conflict of 2001 resulted in signing of the so called Ohrid Agreement. The different interpretation of the contents of the agreement has led to emerging of institutional parallelism which threatens to open a disintegration process. Objectively, the institutional parallelism itself and the ethnically motivated differences in political, cultural and social sense are the source of the unfavorable security climate and the crucial security problems for the citizens and the state. The parallelism, the derogation of the constitution, the laws and the unselective functioning of the institutions promote an impression of a binational state concept, thus endangering the position of the smaller ethnic communities. This problem does not only require a serious approach and a will for compromise by the political authorities in the state, but it also requires establishing of an applicative model for unselective functioning of all institutional subjects.
The position of the Republic of Greece with regards to the constitutional name of the Republic of Macedonia has not only led to intervention with amendments to the Constitution, but also, since the independence onwards, it has directly influenced the security of the state. Namely, the disability to accomplish the endeavors for Euro-Atlantic integration of the Republic of Macedonia produces conditions for additional security instability in the state, as well as a high risk of regional destabilization. Although indisputable, the international political engagement in this issue has not yet created conditions for overcoming such situation.
In sum, the strong political influence, and particularly the influence of the parties in the ARM goes at the expense of the professional attitude towards the obligations and

19 Article 3 of the consolidated text of the Defense Law, Official Gazette of the Republic of Macedonia no. 185, dated 30.12.2011


the duties of its personnel. Furthermore, the frequent interventions in the dimensioning, structuring and the engagement of the army weaken its maneuvering operability. That reflects unfavorably to the level of combat readiness, i.e. the readiness and the training for addressing military threats and challenges20. Such a concept has, inter alia, contributed to developing a strong corruptive network in the defense system which in combination to the ethno-centrically divided civilian institutions has suspended the civilian control not only of the military, but of the other security structures21 as well, and has placed them under immediate jurisdiction of the political (party) interests.
In the years since the independence of the Republic of Macedonia until today a major part of the energy and the capacities of the security structures have been spent on
activities manifesting political revenge instead of aiming them to obtain positive security climate in the state and all the citizens living within. Such a trend of maintaining tensions and potentials for ethnic intolerance further impede the efforts for building a stabile society, threatening the security of the citizens, of the state and, depending on the conditions, of a wider area. Unless the state authorities take radical measures to change this course, the Republic of Macedonia will inevitably face with processes for changing the current governmental structure which by definition means unfavorable security climate for a longer period.

Security in the world has never been dependable on the civilian factors than it is the case today. The globalization processes having led to interdependence of the states economically and financially, which is a reason for massive movements of the people in the world, have an innate security risk that may be transferred anytime and anywhere. Globalization and the new security threats have caused a complete redefinition of the role and function of the defence and security systems. Military has ceased to be a central institution with a classical defence mission as it used to be. On the other hand, even besides the changed nature of the security threats, the military forces remain the principal guarantor of security both at the national and the international level. Military needs to be shaped in the way that would (in coordination with the intelligence and security subjects and the other civilian institutions) effectively meet the security challenges of the 21st century, because there is a war going on in the cyber space that is subjected to the general 

20 For an example, since 2007 the MoD does not have an updated document on the manning with military reserve, and consequently to that a functional reserve military contingent..
21 Absence of accountability in front of the parliament, the allocating of resources, the concealment of documentation with a certain classification level, etc.


principles of the law during armed conflicts. Its defence role and function will further remain complementary to the economic, the internal and the foreign politics, and the scope and the intensity of such a process will unambiguously require a dynamic interaction of the civilian component.
The events since the independence of the Republic of Macedonian onwards indicate that our country is an active participant in the world processes. Of course, a specific, and even a unique security situation is characteristic for Macedonia in which equal importance in its creation is allocated to both the internal and the international factors. That requires an exceptionally cautious ratio, particularly in the interaction of the military and the civilian structures which are of key importance for successful management of security both internally and internationally. Hence, the rising of the security culture and, particularly, of the political culture in the country is of primary importance.

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Закон за одбрана, Службен весник на Р.Македонија бр. 185 од 30.12.2011 година