The number of Slovak professional troops and service personnel in NATO will be cut by 50 percent from 143 to 74 beginning August 1, 2009, saving the Defence Ministry €10 million a year, ministry spokesman Vladimír Gemela told TASR on January 12.
The change involves mainly service personnel, leaving room for high-ranking commanders and professional soldiers. Gemela said that the process focuses on increasing efficacy in terms of tasks, commitments and Slovak cooperation in NATO.
Though the number of Slovak forces will be reduced, no Slovak commitments towards NATO will be violated. "We have no commitment with respect to numbers, but we have to secure certain given positions ... Every country can proceed according to its priorities outside of these given positions. It's up to individual countries - their decisions and needs," said the spokesman
According to the ministry, Slovakia isn't the only country re-evaluating the number of its troops in NATO. Denmark, as well as other small countries, is considering doing likewise. It is those countries which have NATO command centres that tend to maintain or increase their number of soldiers in NATO.
Gemela stressed that the Slovak Defence Ministry is approaching the troop reductions seriously, and hopes the moves will result in more effective use of money without limiting Slovakia's responsibilities within NATO. TASR