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Transforming the Albanian Armed Forces, Overcoming the Challenges

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Research paper

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The Albanian Armed Forces AAF are currently undergoing an extensive defense reform process that consists of transformation of its strategic concept, doctrine, organizational structure, personnel management system, military infrastructure, training and education, and systems and equipment. The transformation process, which started with regime change in 1990 and continues today, is not easy. The collapse of the communist regime left Albania with decayed infrastructure, impassable roads, extremely poor communications networks, and a severely depressed economy. The Communist regime and its concept of the Peoples Armed Forces led to a bloated military and a mandate to build a fortified defense system throughout the country. As a result of this strategy more than 750,000 bunkers and tunnels were built in the 1980s, depleting an already weak economy. Since 1990, the AAF has undergone a long and difficult downsizing and transformation process. In 1990, Albania had around 620,000 personnel in its Armed Forces 120,000 active and 500,000 reserve and territorial forces, which were consuming more than 20 of its GDP. Today the AAF has around 14,000 active personnel and a budget that is 2 of GDP. In 1994, Albania became a part of NATOs Partnership for Peace PFP initiative, and since then it has embarked on extensive reforms involving not only the military but also its political and economic systems. The possibility of becoming a member of the NATO Alliance has served as a great incentive for Albania to transform its defense organization into one that is under civilian control, establish a democratic political system, create a market-based economy, and foster good relations with its neighbors. This paper examines the transformations that the AAF has undergone and reviews the reforms that are still needed for Albania to become a full NATO member.

Subject Categories:

  • Economics and Cost Analysis
  • Government and Political Science
  • Military Forces and Organizations

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