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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
08ZAGREB705
2008-10-07 13:10:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Zagreb
Cable title:  

SCENESETTER FOR THE COMMANDER, USECOM'S VISIT TO

Tags:   PREL  PGOV  KPAO  MOPS  MARR  NATO  HR  DEFENSEREFORM 
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VZCZCXYZ0001
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHVB #0705/01 2811310
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 071310Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY ZAGREB
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8677
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUFGSHB/COMUSEUCOM ALT SHAPE BE
						C O N F I D E N T I A L ZAGREB 000705 

SIPDIS

COMMANDER, U.S. EUROPEAN COMMAND FROM DATT
DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/SCE
PLEASE PASS TO EUCOM PLANS AND ANALYSES STUTTGART GE

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/10/2018
TAGS: PREL PGOV KPAO MOPS MARR NATO HR DEFENSEREFORM
SUBJECT: SCENESETTER FOR THE COMMANDER, USECOM'S VISIT TO
CROATIA

Classified By: COL Brendan McAloon, DATT for reasons 1.4 (b) & (d)

C O N F I D E N T I A L ZAGREB 000705

SIPDIS

COMMANDER, U.S. EUROPEAN COMMAND FROM DATT
DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/SCE
PLEASE PASS TO EUCOM PLANS AND ANALYSES STUTTGART GE

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/10/2018
TAGS: PREL PGOV KPAO MOPS MARR NATO HR DEFENSEREFORM
SUBJECT: SCENESETTER FOR THE COMMANDER, USECOM'S VISIT TO
CROATIA

Classified By: COL Brendan McAloon, DATT for reasons 1.4 (b) & (d)


1. (C) Sir, your visit comes almost on the heels of the
visits of DEPSECDEF, COMNAVEUR, and DCOM, USEUCOM. Croatia
has continued its MAP process with an eye to full membership
soon and increased its ISAF contribution from 200 to a
maximum of 300 soldiers on the ground. There are 277
Croatian soldiers in Afghanistan now.


2. (C) Atmospherics. The NATO invitation completed the
first part of Croatia,s goal to be accepted as an advanced
European state. The second more distant step is an
invitation to join the European Union. The Prime Minister
has been a reliable supporter of U.S. positions, for example
in the UNSC, while a sense of nostalgia for the good ol,
non-aligned state days sometimes leads President Mesic to
take what he sees as a more nuanced view of issues and seek
dialogue with states like Russia and Iran. Prime Minister
Sanader is a skillful politician who likes to keep his own
counsel and thus rarely appoints strong ministers which is
the case with MoD Minister Vukelic. You can expect both the
PM and President to discuss their concerns about Bosnia with
you. Your host, General Josip Lucic (LOOT-zitch) was
unexpectedly reappointed for an unprecedented second
five-year term as CHOD in January of this year. Lucic is
President Mesic,s most trusted military advisor. Although
he participated in three months of language training in the
United States, his ability to speak English remains
rudimentary. In the week prior to your arrival, a brutal
suspected gangland hit on a 26 year old female lawyer caused
the sacking of the Ministers of Interior and Justice as well
as the Chief of Police. The case has grabbed the headlines
and the complete attention of the Government.



3. (SBU) OMLTs: Croatia has the only non-NATO Operational
Mentoring and Liaison Team (OMLT) in ISAF for which it bears
all the costs except the U.S.-provided stratlift. A team from
the Minnesota National Guard was here the week prior to your
visit to plan the deployment of a combined combat-support
OMLT next year. Croatia is working up the Request for Forces
through SHAPE to begin the process of mobilizing the
Minnesota National Guard troops for deployment. There are
plans for a third, garrison-level OMLT to deploy to
Afghanistan in the 2009. Croatia continues to express a
desire to deploy a PRT in the future, but we assess that the
current focus on OMLTs is the best use of its capabilities in
the near to mid term.


4. (C) KFOR: The Croatian Parliament has authorized the
deployment of two helicopters to Kosovo in 2009. We expect
that the Croatians will offer two of their new MI-171Sh lift
helicopters in September for deployment sometime in 2009.
This will be the first deployment outside of Croatia for the
Air Force. We expect that there will be a need to upgrade
the new helicopters to NATO standards prior to deployment and
that Croatia will ask us for that assistance.


5. (C) Peacekeeping: Croatia prides itself on its transition
from a security consumer with UN Peacekeepers on its
territory to a security provider with Croatian Armed Forces
(CAF) elements involved in fifteen UN peacekeeping operations
around the globe, to include the 3 Croatian participants in
the UN Mission to Georgia. The most recent deployment was of
98 CAF personnel to the UN mission in the Golan Heights.
Croatia will soon deploy 15 soldiers to the EU-led mission in
Chad. With these deployments Croatia is in the process of
implementing its plans to increase and sustain its PKO
contributions from around 250 soldiers in 2007 to 600
soldiers by 2010.


6. (C) ASPA: The U.S. FMF and IMET programs were suspended in
July 2003 due to ASPA sanctions. As a result, in the past
few years the CAF depended entirely upon national resources
to accomplish its NATO partnership goals and to equip its
forces for ISAF. Croatia is the only ISAF partner and new
NATO invitee that accomplished its transformation and
financed its ISAF commitments without FMF or Coalition
Support Funding. The suspension of IMET during this time has
had a telling impact throughout the CAF. Most notably is the
lack of U.S.-educated staff officers at the senior and
mid-grade officer level to fill critical billets on the MOD,
CAF, and NATO Staffs. Croatia has been identified to receive
one million dollars of Global Peace Operations Initiative
funds, the bulk of which will be dedicated to improve the

English language capability of the CAF.


7. (SBU) FMF/IMET levels. Croatia did not receive any FMF
in FY08, and is projected to receive only 1.8 million dollars
in FMF in 2009. IMET is similarly under-funded for a NATO
invitee with only 309K in FY08 (including the 9K in
end-of-year fallout) and is projected to receive 500K in
FY09. The proposed budget numbers trend better in FY10.


8. (C) Procurement Priorities. U.S. FMF funding will be
directed at obtaining the necessary NATO-compatible radio
equipment, night vision equipment, weapon sights, combat
medical equipment, and GPS required to sustain Croatia,s
forces in ISAF. Croatia currently has no Type 1 radios or
Selective Availability Anti-Spoof Module (SAASM) global
positioning systems in its inventory. We will also need to
direct FMF funds to the upgrades needed to deploy Croatian
helicopters to KFOR.


9. (C) F-16s. The MoD,s Long Term Development Plan calls
for Croatia to replace its 12 soon-to-be post-lifecycle
MiG-21 aircraft with a similar number of advanced fighters
for domestic air policing. Croatia sent requests for
information for Mirage, MiG-29, Eurofighter, Gripen, and F-16
(Block 15 used, Block 15 mid-life upgrade, and Block 50/52
new). Croatia now has all the answers it requested and is
conducting further internal studies. Sticker shock and an
inefficient procurement process means that we may not see a
decision until next year or later.


10. (C) Coastal Radars. The Croatian Navy has had ongoing
problems with its Enhanced Peregrine coastal surveillance
radar system. The Peregrine radar system purchase, from a
private American manufacturer without US government
involvement, began in 1999. To date the Peregrine radar
system has not achieved full operational capability. The
Croatian government and military have invested approximately
80 million US dollars and huge political capital trying to
make the system work. In June 2008, on order of COMNAVEUR, a
team of US Navy radar experts visited Croatia to inspect the
system and offer advice, but not to perform hands on
maintenance. This subject was covered in depth during
DEPSECDEF,s visit and he promised to look into the matter,
thus I don,t expect it to be raised during your visit.
Bradtke