Military of Croatia
|Armed forces of the Republic of Croatia
Oružane snage Republike Hrvatske
Croatian Armed Forces emblem
|Service branches||Croatian Army
Croatian Air Force and Defense
|Commander-in-Chief||President Ivo Josipović|
|Defence Minister||Ante Kotromanović|
|Chief of staff||General Drago Lovrić|
|Military age||18 years of age (voluntary)|
|Conscription||Abolished in 2008|
|835,712 (2008 est.), age 15–49|
|671,323 (2008 est.), age 15–49|
|27,500 (2008 est.)|
|Active personnel||18,600 (ranked 100th)|
|Deployed personnel|| Afghanistan - 321
4.87 billion HRK 
|Percent of GDP||1.52% (2009)|
|Domestic suppliers||Đuro Đaković (armored vehicles)
HS Produkt (small arms)
|History||Military history of Croatia
Ban Josip Jelačić
Nikola Šubić Zrinski
Croatian War of Independence
Croatian National Guard
War in Bosnia and Herzegovina
|Ranks||Croatian military ranks|
The total number of active military personal in Croatian Armed Forces stands at 18,400 and additionally there are 1,600 civilians working in various service branches of the armed forces.
- HQ/support/services personal account for 3,000 service personal,
- Navy 2,000 serviceman,
- Air Force 1,000 serviceman,
- Army 16,000 service personal (includes 2,000 Volunteers)
- Special forces 1,000
- 1,600 civilians
- Total 23,600 personal (this number is not inclusive of 6,000 first level alert reservist)
Total available male manpower aged 16–49 number 1,035,712, of which 771,323 are technically fit for military service. Male citizens are now no longer subject to compulsory military service since January 1, 2008. However, the last generation of 2007 servicemen was also absolved of compulsory service by an act from then Minister of Defense Berislav Rončević.
The Croatian military budget for the past 6–7 years was kept below 2% of GDP, a vast difference from the 1990s when defense expenditure represented a major stake in Croatian Budgetary expenditure due to the Croatian War of Independence. For example, 1995 Croatian defense budget stood at 12.4 billion Croatian Kuna or just over 12% of GDP, which was also the highest defense expenditure ever.
Defense Expenditures in recent years (example years - source Croatian MOD);
- 2000: 4.768 bln HRK - 3.13% of GDP
- 2001: 4.909 bln HRK - 3.01% of GDP
- 2002: 4.659 bln HRK - 2.64% of GDP
- 2003: 4.814 bln HRK - 2.54% of GDP
- 2004: 4.102 bln HRK - 2.00% of GDP
- 2005: 4.106 bln HRK - 1.87% of GDP
- 2006: 4.200 bln HRK - 1.67% of GDP
- 2007: 4.630 bln HRK - 1.69% of GDP
- 2008: 5.350 bln HRK - 1.79% of GDP
- 2009: 5.111 bln HRK - 1.52% of GDP
- 2010: 4.811 bln HRK - 1.45% of GDP
- 2011: 5.119 bln HRK - 1.47% of GDP
- 2012: 4.828 bln HRK - 1.45% of GDP (projected)
According to the 2006-2015 long-term defense plan the country's military expenditures were set to rise to 1.80% of GDP in 2008, to 1.85% in 2009 and finally to remain steady at 2.00% from 2010 onwards as suggested by NATO. However, due to the economic crisis, expenditures for 2009 were kept well below the envisaged level.
According to government's economic plans for the 2010-2012 period, Croatian military expenditures are to remain somewhere around 1.35-1.40%. This would have meant that Croatia would have spent the least amount of money on its armed forces in its own history. Because of this sharp fall, there was concern about postponements or even cancellation of many modernization projects.
Again, however, contrary to expectations, the military expenditure for 2011 was instead raised up to 4.96 billions kuna, +4.6% more than the previous year, slightly more of 1.5% of GDP.
It have also to be noted that the parallel completion of the planned process of military personnel downsizing, would hopefully allow a sensibly more efficient allocation of monetary resources.
The Croatian government has implemented series of defence reforms with several important goals. These goals are meant to reduce the number of personnel serving in the military. By 2010, the Croatian military will have 20,400 military personnel including 1600 civilian personnel.
- Plans to reduce the number of servicemen and non-combat personnel;
- Plans to cut the army from its current number of 16,000 personnel to 12,000 personnel.
- Plans to cut the number of Air Force personnel to 2,000 from the current number of 2,700.
- Plans to cut the number of Naval personnel to around 1,800. (implemented)
- Reserve status personnel to be cut from 32,000 to 6,000 by 2010.
- Introduction of professional and voluntary service. (implemented)
The Commander-in-Chief of all Croatian armed forces in peace and war is the President of the Republic. The Commander-in-Chief prescribes the organization of the Croatian Armed Forces at the proposal of the Chief of General Staff, with consent of the Minister of Defence.
The Armed Forces consist of peacetime and wartime component. The peacetime component is composed of active military officers, civil servants and employees in the Croatian Armed Forces, cadets, and conscripts serving a 6-month national service and reservists when on military exercise. The wartime component of the Armed Forces is additionally composed of all other reservists.
The General Staff is part of the Ministry of Defense in charge of commanding, training and use of the Armed Forces. It also has a number of units under its direct command, including the Special Operations Battalion, Honor Guard Battalion and several others.
In peace, the Commander-in-Chief exercises his command through the Minister of Defense. In war and in cases where the Minister of Defense is not fulfilling orders, the Commander-in-Chief exercises his command directly through the General Staff Commander.
The Croatian Parliament exercises democratic control over the Armed Forces by adopting defense strategy, defense budget and defense laws.
Special Forces and Honour Guard
Special Operations Battalion (Croatian: Bojna za specijalna djelovanja or BSD) was founded on September 8, 2000 with merging of the Special Combat Skills Center and some personnel from the 1st Croatian Guards Corps (1. Hrvatski Gardijski Zdrug). The Battalion has 300 men. Today, it is one of the most elite units of the Croatian military, as well as being one of the best trained and equipped special forces units in the region.
The Croatian General Staff exercises direct command over the battalion which thus elevated the unit to strategic level for quicker reaction and overall better and faster tactical and strategic situations. Also, this means that members of all three branches of the Croatian armed forces can apply for selection.
Other special operations units are Military Intelligence Battalion (Vojno-obavještajna bojna or VOB) and Special Military Police Company (Satnija specijalne vojne policije or SSVP).
Government plans to substantially modernize the Armed Forces at a cost of 4.0 billion USD (2007–2015). The modernization calls for a complete revamp of the armed forces so that it can face all the challenges of the 21st century.
Proposed Defence Programs and updates/upgrades:
- Procurement of 126 Patria AMV 8x8 Modular APC/IFV - 1.4 billion kuna (additional vehicles might be ordered after 2012)
- Procurement of 94 Iveco LMV (Light Multi-role Vehicles) at cost of 220 million kuna by late 2012. The army might purchase additional LMVs once more funds become available. Around 250-300 LMVs are needed but this requirement is now partially fulfilled by introducing HMMWV 1151s.
- Procurement of advanced artillery systems, up to 24x 155 mm self-propelled howitzers are to be purchased before 2015 to replace obsolete 2S1 self-propelled howitzers, however the program is on the back burner as there are more important defense programs; procurement of new howitzers might need to be postponed for a few years. Swedish Bofors ARCHER Artillery System and German PzH 2000 are most likely candidates for this program. Cost of program - 1.2 billion kuna.
- Procurement of 550 5-ton army trucks, 200 7.5-ton military trucks and 300 4WD vehicles - program is in a full swing and first batch of MAN (150), Mercedes (30) and Iveco (50) military trucks was delivered. Croatian Army also ordered large numbers of new 4WD vehicles, Mercedes-Benz G-Class - 120, Land Rover Wolf - 60, Toyota Land Cruiser - 50, Nissan Navara - 50, got delivered in 2005-2007. Cost of program - 570-580 million kuna.
- Modernization of M-84A and M-84A4 Snajper MBTs and upgrade to M-84D standard. Program calls for an upgrade and modernization of around 80 existing tanks by 2015. Cost of program - 800 million kuna.
- Introduction of new 5.56 mm NATO standard VHS assault rifle. Cost of program - 200 million kuna (20,000 rifles with day/night sights and grenade launchers)
- Scores of smaller programs, communication equipment, night vision capability, electronic sensors, NBC equipment, battlefield management systems and modernization of artillery systems with new sights and electronic fire control systems.
- Procurement of 10-12 Mi-171Sh transport helicopters and all associated spare parts and equipment. Helicopters are equipped up to a NATO standards with mostly western avionics. Cost of Program - 470 million kuna, paid for in form of Russian debt to Croatia.
- Procurement of 5 Zlin 242L basic trainers. Cost of program - 10 million Croatian kuna.
- Procurement of Advanced short to medium range NATO SAM systems and modernization of existing Russian-made Igla SAMs. Croatia needs 12 Short to medium range SAM batteries (radar/command vehicles + 2 luncher vehicles). Cost of program - 700-850 million kuna.
Navy plans are still being worked on but present plans call for a medium expansion of the naval force.
- 10 new patrol boats, locally built, 40 meters in length. Cost of program 500 million kuna.
- 4 new corvettes - 88–120 meters in length. Cost of program 3000 million kuna.
- Overhaul of existing 2 King class fast attack crafts, including new engines. Cost of program - 40 million kuna.
- Upgrade of the RBS-15 missiles. - Cost of program - 120 million kuna.
Programs under revision
Croatian Arms exports.
Croatia as a small county has relatively well developed arms industry that is highly competitive internationally with significant annual arms exports. In 2012 Croatia managed to export nearly 120€ million , mostly to western Europe and USA. However it has been reported in The New York Times that Croatia has been illegally arming Syrian rebels with Croatian manufactured arms used during the homeland war, arms Croatia no longer uses due to its obsolescence but played crucial role in some significant rebel gains during 2012.  As a result of arms sales Croatian government ordered immediate withdrawal of Croatian UN Golan Heights contingent.
On April 1, 2009 Croatia joined NATO and is also an official candidate country to become the 28th member of the European Union. The Croatian Armed Forces participate in many (military) aspects of both organizations as well as actively participate in many United Nations peacekeeping operations worldwide.
|Current Mission||Organization||Country||Nr. of personnel|
|United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan UNMOGIP||United Nations||India and Pakistan||7|
|European Union mission in Chad EUFOR Tchad/RCA||European Union||Chad||15|
|International Security Assistance Force - ISAF||NATO||Afghanistan||321|
|United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara MINURSO||United Nations||Western Sahara||3|
|United Nations Mission in Liberia - UNMIL||United Nations||Liberia||3|
|United Nations Disengagement Observer Force - UNDOF||United Nations||Golan Heights - Syria and Israel||95|
|United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire UNOCI||United Nations||Côte d'Ivoire||3|
|United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti MINUSTAH||United Nations||Haiti||3|
|United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus UNFICYP||United Nations||Cyprus||3|
|Former Mission||Operation||Country||Organization||Nr. of personnel||Time|
|United Nations Observer Mission in GeorgiaUNOMIG||United Nations||Georgia||3|
|United Nations Mission of Support in East TimorUNMISET||United Nations||East Timor||3|
|United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone - UNAMSIL||United Nations||Sierra Leone||10|
|United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea - UNMEE||United Nations||Ethiopia and Eritrea||7|
|International military exercises||Country||Organization||Nr. of personnel||Time|
|Noble Midas 2007||9000||2007|
||This article needs additional citations for verification. (October 2012)|
- "Military Balance in Europe 2011"., March 07, 2011.
- Martina Čizmić (19 October 2007). "Nema više obveznog vojnog roka" [Compulsory military service abolished] (in Croatian). Nacional (weekly). Archived from the original on 1 July 2012. Retrieved 1 July 2012.
- Alvir, Marija (March 2005). "Proračun MORH-a neće više padati". Hrvatski vojnik (in Croatian) (Croatian Ministry of Defence). Retrieved 9 September 2011.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Military of Croatia|
- Croatian Armed Forces Official website
- Croatian Forces International Volunteers Association official website
-  - Defense planning and procurement.
-  - long term planning and long term defense strategy
- Photos BSD
- CROMIL - Croatian military's official English-language magazine