On May 3rd and 4th 2011 in the Central Military Club building in Sofia was held an international conference, entitled “Smart Defense and Security: Integrating an Effective Management by Using Joint Actions and Control”. It was organized by the Atlantic Club of Bulgaria (ACB) and the software companies IBM - Bulgaria and SAP - Bulgaria, with the special support of Ministry of Defense and in co-operation with both US Embassy and German Embassy in Sofia.
The Conference was opened by the Bulgarian Minister of Defense H. E. Anyu Angelov; Susan Sutton, Deputy Chief of Mission in the Embassy of the United States; Alexander Rakov, General Manager of IBM Bulgaria; Boytcho Dellevsky, Managing Director of SAP Bulgaria; and Dr. Solomon Passy, President of the ACB. On its second day the conference was opened by the Ambassador of Germany to Bulgaria, H. E. Matthias Höpfner.
In his opening speech Minister Angelov emphasized on the extreme importance of smart defense buildup negotiations largely because of the opportunities it presents for the creation of a new type of coalition culture and unity between NATO member states that will lead to the achieving of greater level of security and lessening the level of accident down to a minimum in terms of lowering resource potential. According to him achieving of smart defense would be impossible without advanced technology.
On the second place, Minister Angelov expressed himself that the death of Osama bin Laden will mark the beginning of two parallel processes - on the one hand, Al-Qaeda will not only be deprived of its leader himself, but of his financing, either. But on the other hand, the death of bin Laden will force into action many of the organization’s “sleeping cells” around the world. Because of this fact the Defense Minister called on all Bulgarian citizens to be very cautious and assured them that the Ministry of Interior Affairs will take the necessary measures for the protection of the places with strategic importance in the country. Because of the serious threat the terrorism is, the struggle against it has taken a proper place in the recently drafted National Security Strategy.
In addition to that the Minister made it clear that with the government’s decision to send the Drazki frigate to participate in the operation for enforcing a weapons embargo on Libya, Bulgaria openly took the stand of the democracy, law and order and against the dictator regimes, chaos and terrorism. The Minister pointed out that there is not much tension among the soldiers of the Bulgarian contingent in Afghanistan, and the level of war footing for the fighters in ISAF operation was raised even before the assassination of Osama bin Laden.
The Defense Minister emphasized that a strong prioritization of the investment projects is needed, so as to be built up a modern and dynamically evolving army, capable of both taking the upcoming challenges and executing its traditional obligations. Such projects should be a matter of political decision, rather than a competition.
Susan Sutton also began her statement with emphasizing on the importance of smart defense for the rise of the security level, and technology is only a part of the formation of smart defense. According to her the Republic of Bulgaria has a stable military budget and the implementation of modern information technologies in its army will ease the country’s continuing integration in NATO structures. Mrs. Sutton clearly marked the need of increasing the level of cooperation between the members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which should act together and not as separate entities on matters of mutual security.
The heads of IBM - Bulgaria and SAP - Bulgaria emphasized mainly on the new security threats - terrorism, regional conflicts, piracy, and climate changes. Because of this not only an effective management of resources is needed, but also the formation of a strategy for buildup of capabilities for flexible reaction, taking of fast and adequate decisions on behalf of the defense institutions, as well as fast exchange of existing information.
Dr. Solomon Passy also paid attention to the rising level of importance of smart defense for the insurance of Bulgaria’s security and gave his opinion that the operation for the assassination of Osama bin Laden was perfectly carried out.
On the second day of the conference, in his opening speech H. E. Matthias Höpfner expressed his approval for the startup in the modernization of the Bulgarian Army on view of the smart defense buildup, and also cleared out the role of the two software companies IBM and SAP for the modernization of the German Bundeswehr and its preparation to react adequately not only to the classic security threats, but to the new ones either.
During the first day of the conference Dr. Nikolay Milkov, Permanent Secretary of Defense in the Ministry of Defense (MD), also took part in the conference, at first by congratulating the ACB on its 20th Anniversary. Then he began its speech with a remark that the calls for NATO dissolvent do not make sense due to its changing role in nowadays world.
In addition to that and on the view of the multidirectional character of the threats for the international security, Dr. Milkov paid special attention to the mutual defense that will imminently lead to expense reduction, while at the same time will raise the defense capabilities of every NATO-member country, including Bulgaria. According to the MD representative, there exist two main aspects that are needed for the buildup of a flexible modern defense policy - rational usage of the resources, as a result of the collective approach to modern technology, and the development of high technologies as countermeasures against the new security threats - cyber-terrorism, development of rocketry technologies for nameless aims on behalf of some countries, etc. Higher level of international coordination is needed, even between countries that are traditional opponents.
Dr. Milkov gave proof of the closer co-operation between Bulgaria and its neighbour countries that are NATO-members, hinting at a mutual program for strategic and tactical transportation, defense of the common air-space, joint forces training, closer co-operation in maritime affairs, especially together with Romania, joint purchase of new multi-role fighters and most importantly - the possible creation of mutual center for public abilities execution in seeking of solutions for international crises.
According to Dr. Milkov a rise of defense expenses up to 1,5 % of the GDP is needed, so as the army modernization to be properly carried out. Despite the fact that neither country in the modern world can defend its national security without developing smart defense conception, a constantly reshaping approach needs to be used, and the scope of planning should be correspon-ding to the actual capabilities of the country. Nowadays Bulgaria has the ability to plan its defense up to year 2020, while for greater time diapason of planning it needs to call on the mutual planning that is carried out in the structures of NATO. Dr. Milkov paid attention to the need for openly executed defense resource management.
The conference passed in the form of several consecutive panels:
- Day first:
- IBM & SAP alliance for Defense
- A vision for more efficient Defense & Public Services
- How IBM can support the Bulgarian Defense Reform
- IBM product and services portfolio integrating core competencies for Defense
- Days first and second:
- Effective management of Defense resources in an integrated system:
- Unified Armed Forces Logistics - proven, cost-effective solutions that meet the complex needs of defense and security organizations.
- Integration of Defense resource management and Command & Control systems.
- Achieving effective and efficient management with a unified integrated human capital management system.
The representatives of the two companies began their presentation with a detailed description of the story of the two companies, with special emphasis on the experience, acquired during their 37-year-lasting cooperation, highly qualified personnel, advanced technologies and great number of customers all around the globe. After that they concentrated on the matter of the changing needs of modern-day armies, especially in Europe and North America, as well as the requirements towards their new role in the changing international environment - from defending only the boundaries of their own country, to the need for higher mobility and participation in a number of missions abroad - peace-keeping, peace-forcing and peace-building.
The representatives of SAP emphasized on the importance of the key attributes of defence resource management - agile defense forces; professional, effective and sustainable defense team; resource stewardship and accountability. Another important principle is that of the incorporation of some successful practices from the commercial and public sectors into the military one, with the aim of military capabilities betterment. Achievable results are the enabling of successful defense strategy, the agility, the minimized risk and the reduced operating costs.
The representatives of IBM began their presentation with an overview of some important aspects of the Bulgarian Armed Forces White Paper, rendering an account of the need for transformation and modernization of the country’s defense sector. After that they concentrated on the capabilities, achieved by means of network co-operation for build-up of smart defense - preparation to cope with the evolving threats, participation in different mission types, increased collaboration, implementation of advanced technologies and fast and easy access to superior information. Four challenges before the achievement of such a co-operation were also pointed out - secure information access, real time, high availability, mobility. The presentation of IBM ended with the company focus on the defense - the whole-scale defense sector transformation; the changes in command and control, logistics and intelligence; the interoperability, structure and cyber technologies in the sector were all extensively presented.
In the presentation of the two companies was also included their vision for the life cycle of military operations, the required capabilities, the resource planning, the force element, the command and control relationships, total resource visibility and other aspects in the build-up of smart defense.