• Українською
  • National Security and Defense

    The reform of the Ukrainian defense aims to train modern defense forces with combat readiness and capacity to defend the state, effectively respond to existing and potential military threats, military and political challenges to national security. Another goal of this reform is to improve interoperability of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and other military units with the units of armed forces of NATO and EU member states to perform joint missions in international peace and security effort.

    Why change anything?

    The armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine in 2014, the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula, the occupation by Russian forces of certain rayons in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, active support by the aggressor of terrorist units and the inspired armed conflict in the east, which permanently threatens to turn into an open armed conflict between Ukraine and the Russian Federation — all these events and factors demonstrated to the absolute majority of Ukrainians the need to support, upgrade, improve, and develop our own Armed Forces and other uniformed agencies.

    Today security is among the strongest aspirations of Ukrainians. The Government's unconditional priority is maintaining the state's ability to withstand different forms of foreign aggression, including by thoroughly building Armed Forces capacities. However, the hybrid nature of the contemporary conflict should be kept in mind as it touches upon much wider areas of social life instead of being only limited to the military component.

    This is why the goal of defense and security reform is to provide information security, minimize threats to people's lives and property, and prevent domestic violence and cyber crime.

    Separate areas for effort include preventing and appropriately responding to emergencies, supporting the safety of public space and road traffic. In this vein, the Government is continuing the reform of the SES system to optimize and improve its capacity to fulfill civil defense objectives and delegate isolated powers, such as fire fighting and emergency response, from government agencies to local governments.

    What does the reform involve?

    Ukraine's strategic goal in the area of security and defense is integration into the Euro-Atlantic security architecture, primarily the North-Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Reforming the Armed Forces of Ukraine and all uniformed agencies to meet the principles and standards of NATO member states is part of this process. In addition, the defense reform pivots on a vision approved by Ukraine's Military Doctrine for preparing the state for a potential armed conflict and applying military force to defend its sovereignty, territorial integrity, and other vital national interests.

    1. Joint command of defense forces

    Lack of a clear allocation of responsibility for forming and applying defense forces negatively affects the ability of the country's leaders to effectively manage the defense sector. It is for this reason that goals of the reform include creating a qualitatively new system of command of defense forces based on a new allocation of authority, functions, responsibilities, and accountability on a strategic and operational level based on best practices of NATO member states.

    The chief element of the new system of command is an effective organization of the Ministry of Defense and the General Staff of the Armed Forces that is structured by NATO standards and meets the principles of effective democratic civilian control of the defense sphere.

    For example, the MoD administrative office is to be reformed under transformation plans by optimizing the number of personnel and structural units.

    Effort also included a revision of functions, accountability, and authority associated with the resolution of issues of concern in managing defense forces and aimed at a better coordination of action by MoD and the General Staff of the Armed Forces. Formation of the Joint Staff and other bodies of military administration of the Armed Forces was completed.

    An important goal of creation of a modern joint command of defense forces remains ensuring effective communications capacity on a strategic, operational, and tactical level of a formation, and implementing public policy in the area of security and defense.

    2. Effective resource planning and management

    The reform of the policy and system of resource planning and management in the defense sector is a critical objective of defense reform because the military cannot operate adequately without appropriate provisioning.

    The existing provisioning system is imperfect and overburdened with bureaucratic procedures, creating room for corrupt practices.

    Production facilities do not meet contemporary needs of the defense contract, while fixed assets are worn. Procurement procedures lack publicity and transparency. All of this reduces the defense forces' ability to meet objectives they are charged with and burdens the Ministry of Defense with uncharacteristic functions.

    Therefore, the goal behind all changes in the resource planning and management system is to align the approaches and practices with Euro-Atlantic principles used to create adequately trained, equipped, and provisioned defense forces capable of effectively fulfilling national security and defense missions, participate in international peace-keeping operations for peace and security.

    Changes expected as part of the reform include improving the system of defense and budget planning and creating an integrated risk management system. An open and transparent electronic procurement system should also be introduced for all public procurement, the government's defense contract should be formulated for three years and allow annual adjustment of its figures. Finally, this reform is to implement advanced technology of production of military equipment, create closed-cycle development and production of key weaponry, military and special machinery, and update the military infrastructure management system.

    3. Maintaining operational (combat, special) capacity of defense forces 

    In current conditions, national defense forces are not prompt enough. This is especially manifested by an ineffective system of operational (combat) command, communications, reconnaissance, and surveillance, and by an inability to effectively respond to an increasing number and impact of cyber attacks and to resist cyber crime.

    The reform of supporting operational (combat, special) capacity of defense forces includes, inter alia, a legislative determination of the overall structure and specification of key functions of the Armed Forces and other components of defense forces based on their experience of joint deployment and creation of new separate service arms (Special Operations Forces and Air Assault Forces). Changes will also involve optimizing the structure and number of administrative bodies, units, and sections of the Armed Forces reconnaissance and improving their capacity to collect intelligence. A separate area of effort is enhancement of Ukraine's navy capacity to defend the coasts of the Black and Azov Seas, the integrity of the state border, protection of Ukraine's sovereign rights in its exclusive (maritime) economic area, and participation in international (joint) missions with NATO and EU.

    The ultimate goal of all this change is to achieve joint capacity of defense forces that will be able to reliably rebuff an armed aggression, effectively respond to national security threats in the military area, defend Ukraine and maintain its sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability, and meet standards and criteria required for NATO membership.

    4. Integrated logistics and medical support systems

    Logistics and the medical support system are two other vital elements of building a battleworthy military. As they are today, the Armed Forces have no effective integrated system of logistics that can support the operations of all defense components. Medical support performance is poor, and the existing military infrastructure does not meet operational requirements. The Armed Forces of Ukraine also lack an automated management system in the area of logistics and support.

    This situation can be remedied by creating an integrated system of logistics and provisioning for defense forces in times of peace and a special period, implementing a modern system and technology of comprehensive support of the forces, and creating a medical support system based on NATO standards.

    5. Professionalizing defense forces and creating the requisite military reserve force

    The destructive defense practices of the previous political regime have caused significant harm to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which was especially obvious in 2014–2015, when the country was threatened with an all-out war. Back then, the AFU capacity to maintain the country's sovereignty was supported by total mobilization into the military. At the same time, the strategy of the defense reform involves transition to a professional military (contract-based recruitment by following NATO principles of personnel policy) and creation of an adequate and high-quality military reserve force.

    These goals are to be achieved by recruiting trained and high-morale servicemen to the defense forces, building the required personnel potential of the Armed Forces and other defense components with professionally trained servicemen that have great morale and professional qualities. This staff should be able to competently carry out intricate military and professional missions in times of peace and a special period and, by creating and maintaining deployment-ready strategic reserve force of the Armed Forces, to be able to launch offensive (counter-offensive) action, reinforce groupings of troops (forces) in threatened directions, support rotation in troops (forces), their supplementation and replacement, if combat effectiveness is lost.

    What has the reform changed already?

    • Ukraine is extensively cooperating with and gravitating towards NATO. Politically, NATO officially recognized Ukraine's Alliance aspirations in 2018. In their Brussels Summit Declaration on July 11, 2018, NATO member states acknowledged Ukraine's prospects of NATO membership;
    • Ukraine is actively implementing NATO standards in its Armed Forces, for example, by reorganizing structural units of the General Staff of the Armed Forces around principles and values applicable in NATO member states, and intensifying combat training of servicemen with an active instruction input from NATO member states and partners;
    • The defense industry is undergoing reform and development by gradually rebuilding the infrastructure of training centers, military communities and ranges of the Armed Forces, complexes of airfield buildings and runways;
    • The Government invests increasingly more in the development of new types of weaponry. In 2018, the Armed Forces received 16 new types of weapons and military equipment. The Government tested 12 new types of weapons and military equipment;
    • The 2028 Development Strategy of Ukraine's Defense Industry was adopted, defining its strategic areas of development. These areas include, inter alia, modernizing and enhancing productive capacity of enterprises in the defense industry;
    • The Ukrainian Navy's Missions Center is under construction as part of the rebuilding of the base infrastructure of the Ukrainian Navy on the coasts of the Black and Azov Seas and the creation of a modern management system together with the engineering service of the USA Sixth Fleet;
    • The AFU gender policies are changing in accordance with modern standards, among other things, by introducing gender advisors in the Armed Forces of Ukraine and other military formations. Conditions have been created to respect gender equality in relationships of service people;
    • In the security sector, law enforcement agencies effectively helped to reduce criminal offenses by 7% and grave and especially grave crimes by 13% in 2018.

    Goals and objectives for the current year

    • The Government's 2019 priorities for the security and defense reform include:
    • Continuing the reform of the structure of administrative bodies of the Armed Forces of Ukraine around NATO principles
    • Continuing supply of modern military equipment and weaponry to AFU
    • Providing better transport for military medicine
    • Commissioning a renovated international training center for the National Guard

    The reform is implemented by

    the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, the Ministry of Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons of Ukraine, the Ministry for Veterans' Affairs of Ukraine, the Ministry of Information Policy, the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine, the Ministry of Finance of Ukraine, the National Police of Ukraine, the Administration of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine, the State Migration Service of Ukraine, the State Emergency Service of Ukraine, the VRU Committee for National Security and Defense, the VRU Committee for Informatization and Communications, the VRU Committee for Legislative Support of Law Enforcement Activities

    Documents and useful links