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Cabinet approves merger of military intelligence services

The cabinet on Wednesday, June 27, approved a draft amendment to the law on military intelligence from the Defence Ministry, according to which on January 1, 2013, the Military Defence Intelligence (VOS) counter-intelligence service and the Military Intelligence Service (VSS) will merge into one unit, to be called Military Intelligence (VS). The amendment must be still passed by parliament.

The cabinet on Wednesday, June 27, approved a draft amendment to the law on military intelligence from the Defence Ministry, according to which on January 1, 2013, the Military Defence Intelligence (VOS) counter-intelligence service and the Military Intelligence Service (VSS) will merge into one unit, to be called Military Intelligence (VS). The amendment must be still passed by parliament.

The new service will be responsible for ensuring the country's internal and external intelligence protection. Based on the new draft bill, the intelligence and counter-intelligence services will be subordinated to one director, as in the civilian Slovak Information Service (SIS).

Former defence minister Martin Fedor, now an opposition MP, has said he does not think that the government draft is a solution. He said that first of all, duplication has to be removed in intelligence service tasks. "Currently, everybody does everything. Their tasks and competencies are almost completely identical. Tasks have to be re-assigned," he said, as quoted by the SITA newswire.

According to Fedor, the military intelligence service should concentrate exclusively on the activities of the Slovak Armed Forces, and thus its jurisdiction should be narrowed only to the activities of the armed forces – not only within Slovakia, but also on missions abroad. Fedor also proposes a core organisational change involving subordinating the military intelligence service to the Armed Forces General Staff again. "It used to be so in the past. Subordination to the minister dates back to the 1950s, based on the advice of Soviet consultants," said Fedor. Defence Minister Martin Glváč said he considers Fedor's proposal to be “absurd” and “lacking expertise”, pointing to practice in other countries, especially member states of the Visegrad Group.

Source: SITA

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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