Country Overview U.S. FOREIGN POLICY AND FOREIGN ASSISTANCE OBJECTIVES & PRIORITIES
A Europe that is whole free, and at peace is a central national security interest for the U.S., and long-term stability and Euro-Atlantic integration remain key foreign policy goals in the region. In pursuit of these goals, foreign assistance objectives and priorities in Slovenia focus on development of professional and capable security institutions that are interoperable and integrated with the European Union (EU) and NATO.
While no terrorist organizations are known to be active in Slovenia, its central location and short Adriatic coastline make it an attractive potential transit country for trafficking in drugs, persons, and weapons of mass destruction (WMD) by criminal and terrorist organizations. It is in the U.S. interest to provide training assistance and equipment, and to engage the Slovenian law enforcement community in efforts to detect, interdict, prosecute, and convict participants in transnational criminal and terrorist activities. Slovenia currently supports regional law enforcement cooperation in combating criminal activities and provides technical assistance on economic, political, and judicial reforms.
USG assistance to Slovenia is focused on the security sector. The goal for all of Slovenia's security assistance-funded activities is achieving full interoperability with NATO, primarily by meeting Slovenia’s NATO force goals and defense transformation. The USG also supports Slovenian efforts to advance regional stability and the rule of law. With a continuing commitment by the Government of Slovenia (GOS), and in particular the Prosecutor General, to go after financial or "white collar" crime, the USG continues to support prosecutor training. Building on a legacy of small grants, the USG continues to support a strong civil society, development of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Slovenia, and stimulation of cooperation between regional NGOs.OPERATING ENVIRONMENT
There were no major changes in the operating environment in Slovenia in FY 2007. Slovenia is in the final stages of completing its transition to a fully functioning democracy with a market economy. Sixteen years, however, is a short time in which to make a complete and successful transition, and there remain several areas where USG support and partnership remain relevant. With small but strategic assistance efforts, the USG continues to see positive movement from Slovenia to help it develop into a stronger partner and a forceful advocate for the Southeast European region.
FY 2007 Country Program PerformancePEACE AND SECURITY
Slovenia achieved one of its longstanding foreign policy objectives in 2004 by joining NATO, a milestone in its transformation from a territorial defense model to collective defense and Euro-Atlantic integration. The active-duty Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF) became fully professional in 2003, and expects to phase out the last conscripted reservists by 2010. USG assistance has helped provide resources and know-how for Slovenia to actively promote regional stability and international cooperation by significantly increasing its contributions to peacekeeping missions. During FY 2007 approximately 732 troops (11% of its active force) were deployed abroad. The most notable deployments were to NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR) (600 members), NATO-led ISAF in Afghanistan (66 members), the NATO Training Mission-Iraq (2 members), and the European Force (EUFOR) operations in Bosnia (52 members). The GOS focuses domestic defense spending and international assistance funds on achieving its NATO Force Goals. In terms of combating terrorism, Slovenia ratified the Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism Financing in 2004, making it a party to all 12 international anti-terrorism conventions.Military Reform -
USG funding provided training for military and civilian defense personnel, with the bulk of the training focused on deployable combat forces. USG funded activities were designed to: improve the capacity for command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence (C4I); upgrade training and simulations; and provide spares parts for previously acquired equipment. The Department of Defense Combating-Terrorism Fellowship Program assisted Slovenia and other international partners in the Global War on Terror by providing training and education in counter-terrorism activities. The George C. Marshall Center, in coordination with the Slovenian Ministry of Defense (MOD), brought the Slovene interagency counter terrorism practitioners together for the Program in Terrorism and Security Studies program. The USG also continued a program connecting Slovenia's Prosecutor General with U.S. experts in financial crime, with a focus on the detection and prosecution of economic crimes.
USG funds helped train 114 military and civilian leaders in FY 2007. Fifty-one members of the SAF participated in professional military education courses to refine core military skills. Forty-five Slovenian interagency counter-terrorism (CT) practitioners expanded their understanding of global terrorism challenges through their participation in a MOD-hosted Marshall Center Program in Terrorism and Security Studies course. Eleven additional Slovenian counter-terrorism practitioners expanded their knowledge of how governments can respond effectively to terrorism within their own political, budgetary, and societal circumstances through participation in the Combating Terrorism Fellowship Program. Nine military and civilian leaders deepened their understanding of challenging geopolitical issues and expanded their network of contacts through participation in Marshall Center seminars and conferences.
The USG continued to assist Slovenia in attaining its defense transformation objectives and NATO Force Goals, most notably the tactical and operational capabilities of their deployable units. Slovenia will provide NATO with a deployable Battalion Battle Group consisting of core combat forces (the 10th, 20th, and 30th Motorized Battalions) and organic combat support elements. The top priority of USG assistance is helping prepare these battalions for NATO certification.
In FY 2007 USG military education assistance provided Slovenian officers and noncommissioned officers (NCOs) with critical skills through their participation in the basic career, captain career, infantry unit leader, and infantry squad leader courses. The intermediate and senior professional military education courses exposed many of the future leaders of the SAF to the American military. Nearly all key leaders in the SAF, down through their deployable combat units, have attended these courses and are an important force behind Slovenia’s defense transformation.
Slovenia continued to look outward for ways to contribute to international peace and stability, as demonstrated by deploying 11% of their active duty military forces to coalition operations worldwide. The most notable 2007 contributions include: increased support to KFOR operations in Kosovo from 200 to roughly 600 troops at its high point; continued support to EUFOR’s Operation Althea in Bosnia and Herzegovina with 52 troops; continued support of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan with 66 troops; and, continued support to NATO Training Mission - Iraq with two soldiers training Iraqi security forces. Much of the foundation required for these deployments was provided by ongoing USG training programs, and much of the critical pre-deployment training and NATO interoperability exercises were supported by a USG-funded simulations center. Border Security -
USG export control and border security programs in Slovenia concluded in mid-2007. The USG funded two Internal Control Program training courses in conjunction with the Ministry of Energy and the Slovenian Chamber of Commerce. It also donated equipment to the Ministry of Finance Customs Directorate to aid Slovenia in its efforts to enhance its border security program. Combating WMD -
The USG funded several round tables and conferences on nuclear security and Middle East issues. These conferences provided venues for discussing important international issues and a vehicle for highlighting U.S. priorities in the run-up to Slovenia's EU Presidency in 2008.GOVERNING JUSTLY AND DEMOCRATICALLY
After sixteen years as an independent country, and as a member of the EU and NATO, Slovenia is in the last stages of completing its transition to a fully functioning democracy. Modest USG assistance in this area for FY 2007 focused on strengthening civil society and rule of law. Civil Society Strengthening -
WhileUSG development assistance to the civil society sector has largely been phased out due to Slovenia’s successful democratic transition, the USG has continued to provide small grants to civil society organizations in support of democratic reform. With these grants, the USG aims to strengthen the NGO sector; to address less developed regions within Slovenia; to promote entrepreneurship; to promote inter-ethnic dialogue and address minority issues; to support regional stability and promote a European perspective for the countries of Southeastern Europe; and to address international security issues.
In FY 2007 the USG awarded over 20 grants to Slovenian NGOs to improve NGO development, to promote respect for human rights and the rule of law, to advance migrant and minority integration, to address Middle East and Balkan issues, to promote entrepreneurship, to build the capacity of environmental protection advocates and to provide U.S. educational advising. For example, USG funds supported Slovenian cooperation in a regional training project on environmental issues. The project sought to strengthen the capacity of young environmental activists from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) to work actively on climate protection, energy efficiency, and renewable energy promotion. A subsequent evaluation of the project indicated that the 34 participants broadened their understanding of the regional impact of environmental degradation and established a strong network for future cross-border cooperation. USG funds also financed Slovenian participation in an international scientific conference on suicide prevention among youth in Kosovo. The USG also awarded a grant to the Legal Information Center to bring three Serbian law students to Slovenia to study Slovenian and EU asylum legislation and institutions. The USG funded several projects addressing NGO capacity building, including programs designed to improve NGO governance and marketing and to strengthen and develop Slovenian foundations. Participants stated that through these projects they learned new strategies for and skills necessary to improve NGO sustainability. Rule of Law -
The USG continued work on training programs for Slovenian prosecutors and the GOS Prosecutor General’s Office. The collaboration, originally begun in 2005, focused on the detection, investigation and prosecution of economic crimes through a series of videoconferences and meetings. Additionally, USG funds supported two projects related to judicial reform. These projects aimed to increase commercial mediation opportunities and to improve the public perception of the justice system in Slovenia. Leading Slovenian judges credited the alternative dispute resolution programs for sparking a significant increase in the use of mediation to resolve commercial disputes.