On September 17, 2021, the President of Ukraine signed Decree №473/202, thus approving the Strategic Defence Bulletin of Ukraine.
This is a very important strategic document that will be a foundation for the further development and implementation of program documents and projects to develop the defence forces. It determines the crucial areas for implementing Ukraine’s military policy, strategic development goals, and the expected results of achieving them.
Defence bulletin - part of the defence planning system.
The bulletin aims to bring the defence system up to the level of ensuring the protection of the territory and the restoration of the territorial integrity of Ukraine, approximation to NATO standards, and transformation of the Armed Forces under democratic standards.
However, a detailed analysis of the bulletin’s provisions raises questions about the quality of implementing the stated intentions. In particular, the document does not mention the continuation of declassifying defence procurement, which is of great concern to NAKO experts.
The 2016 Defence Bulletin provided for the gradual transfer of conventional arms procurement under the state defence order to the public domain. However, this was not achieved in the following four years.
Reducing the volume of unjustifiably classified procurement should increase competitiveness and, consequently, minimise corruption. It is also an essential step in bringing Ukraine closer to NATO.
During 2016-2020, NAKO repeatedly drew attention to the need to reduce the level of secrecy in defence procurement. However, as of 2021, defence procurement is still overly classified and the new bulletin does not mention continuing to reduce secrecy.
The Law on Defence Procurement, adopted in 2020, should be the beginning of a transition from a classified Soviet system to a more transparent Euro-Atlantic one. However, several provisions of the adopted law only contribute to continuing the tradition of unjustified and excessive secrecy. In addition, as of September 2021, the law has still not been adequately implemented more than a year after its adoption. Many conflicts and gaps led to the actual blocking of defence procurement, both the old and the new model.
As a result, the transfer of most procurements to the new system, scheduled for 2016, did not occur, and they remain excessively secret.
Given this, the absence of any declassification provisions in the bulletin jeopardises the accurate approximation to NATO standards and the democratic transformation of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
A detailed analysis is available in Ukrainian below: