Minister says military now deployed immediately in the event of disasters
Ljubljana, 19 August - Since Defence Minister Marjan Šarec assumed office more than a year ago, troops have been deployed immediately to help out in the event of natural or other disasters. "Our new doctrine is to activate the military immediately," he has told the newspapers Dnevnik and Večer.
Prior to his arrival at the ministry, the relevant policy was to wait for the civil protection authority's decision to deploy troops if needed, but now the military's assistance is mobilised immediately, he said in an interview released by both newspapers on Saturday.
The military is indispensable in such situations, because it has at its disposal both the manpower and equipment, he added. On the first day of devastating floods that hit Slovenia some two weeks ago, the Slovenian Armed Forces rescued more than 100 people.
The troops are now part of the relief effort, helping to build pre-fabricated bridges, the minister noted. After setting up one in Mežica in the north of the country, together with their Macedonian counterparts, they will build another in Škofja Loka in the north-west.
In cooperation with Bosnia and Herzegovina's army and construction companies, the Slovenian military will also help build six kilometres of water mains from Mežica to Prevalje, the minister added.
The effectiveness of dual-use military products is clear in these situations, he said, pointing to the need to increase defence spending to further develop the military.
Touching on the next investment steps, the minister said that the plan to purchase more of the helicopters that the army already has and another Spartan transport aircraft remained in place.