16 June 2020

A collective address of the civil society on ensuring transparent decision-making as for the planned reform of Ukraine’s military and industrial complex (MIC):

To President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky

To Prime-Minister of Ukraine Denys Schmyhal

To Head of Parliamentary Committee on National Security, Defence and Intelligence Olexander Zavitnevych

To Secretary of National Defence and Security Council Olexiy Danilov

 

Ukraine’s MIC sector is on the brink of a serious change. Taking into consideration the broad public attention to the expected MIC reform and its consequences for the country, we call to open the discussion for the qualified experts, including the representatives of the civil society organizations and business associations. Namely, we call to publicize the existing concepts of the reform and provide the civil society with the opportunity to give feedback as for the possible risks and benefits of the different models. Such an approach will ensure transparency of the planned MIC reform and the democratic practice of the public policy development. We also emphasize the need to ensure transparent personnel appointments in the MIC sector.

Recently President Volodymyr Zelensky announced that they plan to create a post of the Vice-Prime-Minister for MIC. Meanwhile, Secretary to the NDSC Olexiy Danilov said that the planned reform could become the largest in Ukraine’s MIC for the last 10 years.

The National Defence and Security  Council has already presented its reform concept to the participants of the process – the key representatives of the Ministry of Economy, the President’s Office and the Parliamentary Defence Committee. According to our information, currently, several models of the MIC reform are being developed simultaneously. For instance, alternative concepts are being drafted at the President’s Office and the Parliament. However, we are concerned by the fact that the corresponding discussion and decision-making is intransparent, and the civil society representatives and defence producers are not involved.

The military and industrial complex is Ukraine’s strategic sector which requires a complex reform amidst Russia’s military aggression and numerous corruption scandals in the area of State Defence Order.

It’s in the interest of Ukraine’s society and the Armed Forces to choose the reform model which will stimulate development and innovations, and at the same time will minimize opportunities for corruption and subjective decision-making.

Democratic control over the defence and security sector is stipulated by the Law of Ukraine ‘On National Security of Ukraine’ and the Annual National Program on Ukraine-NATO for 2020. It includes respect for the public opinion and suggestions by the civil society organizations and citizens themselves in the decision-making process when it comes to key issues in security and defence.

So far, the first year of Zelensky’s presidency has already had some positive examples of effective democratic control and oversight over the security and defence sector. For instance, during the work on the draft law ‘On defence procurement’, the document was developed in a transparent and open way, in consultation with the civil society. This happened for the first time in the history of Ukraine’s defence and security sector.

In return, we confirm that we are ready to carry out the expert assessment of proposals to reform the government bodies, to provide our recommendations for consideration and to execute the public oversight over the personnel decisions.

Signatories:

The Independent Defence Anti-Corruption Committee (NAKO)

StateWatch

The League of Defence Companies of Ukraine

Center for Army, Conversion and Disarmament Studies