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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09BRATISLAVA206 2009-05-11 11:15:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Bratislava
Cable title:  

SLOVAK MOD PRESENTS PLAN FOR FUTURE ENGAGEMENT IN

Tags:   PREL NATO MARR MOPS AF PK LO 
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VZCZCXYZ0004
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSL #0206/01 1311115
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 111115Z MAY 09
FM AMEMBASSY BRATISLAVA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2484
INFO RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 0016
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL 0073
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L BRATISLAVA 000206 

SIPDIS

SCA/A FOR TOM REOTT

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/17/2015
TAGS: PREL NATO MARR MOPS AF PK LO
SUBJECT: SLOVAK MOD PRESENTS PLAN FOR FUTURE ENGAGEMENT IN
AFGHANISTAN

REF: A. BRATISLAVA 154

B. SECSTATE 31102

C. SECSTATE 29482

D. 2008 BRATISLAVA 276

Classified By: CDA Keith A. Eddins for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)



1. (C) Summary. In an April 16 meeting with DATT, ODC Chief
and Poloff, officials from the Slovak General Staff detailed
their expectations for future deployments to Afghanistan.
Slovakia would like to deploy a 15-soldier OMLT in summer
2010 and, pending proper training and equipment, up to 65
special operations forces in early 2011. The deployment of
special operations forces would require Parliament to approve
a new mandate, which the General Staff did not expect before
Spring 2010 elections and the formation of a new government.



2. (C) Summary continued: In 2008, the Slovak Parliament
approved a mandate for up to 246 Slovak soldiers to
participate in ISAF (Ref D). That mandate is valid through
July 2010, which, probably not coincidentally, is one month
after the current government's term in office ends. As of
April 15, 231 soldiers were deployed in Afghanistan. End
summary.



3. (C) The General Staff initiated the April 16 meeting in
response to the visit and proposals of then-Deputy Assistant
Secretary of Defense (DASD) Roger Zakheim in December 2008.
In meetings at MoD, MFA and Parliament, Zakheim presented
three proposals for future Slovak engagement in Afghanistan:
donating helicopters; leading an OMLT; and deploying special
operations forces. Zakheim offered the Slovaks specific U.S.
support for each mission, including training and equipment
and direct operational support from the Indiana National
Guard. Although the General Staff postponed the meeting
multiple times in order to "present a complete answer," their
response essentially consisted of a stated willingness to
accept any assistance on offer, and a commitment to
contemplate taking the lead on an OMLT or deploying special
operations forces after Spring 2010 Parliamentary elections
and the adoption of a new mandate by a new GoS thereafter.
The General Staff is still examining - after five months -
its capacity to donate helicopters.

OMLT


--------------------------




4. (C) The current mandate for Slovak forces in Afghanistan
includes authorization for up to 15 soldiers to participate
in OMLTs. Four soldiers are currently serving with a Dutch
OMLT in Uruzgan province. They will be replaced with five new
soldiers at the end of their six month rotation in June 2009.
Sekelsky said there is a plan to progressively expand
participation in an OMLT, culminating in the deployment of
the full fifteen approved by Summer 2010. Unfortunately, due
to caveats in the current mandate, those soldiers will remain
confined to garrison duties.



5. (C) Sekelsky said Slovakia would like to lead an OMLT by
the end of 2010. The ideal for Slovakia would be a
garrison-OMLT in RC-South, due to national caveats and
Slovakia's existing deployments in that region. Sekelsky said
Slovakia's first choice would have been to lead the
garrison-OMLT in Kandahar, but Bulgaria had already committed
to that mission. Slovakia's second choice would be to take
over command of a garrison-OMLT in Tarin Kowt, which he
believes does not yet exist. He asked if the U.S. planned to
open such an OMLT and, if so, when it would be possible for
Slovakia to take over the lead. Once the Slovak General Staff
has confirmation such an OMLT will be available, they will be
in a position to specify the type of training and assistance
they would require. At minimum, Sekelsky said Slovakia would
require training, logistical support, and 3-4 U.S. troops to
provide specific expertise.

Special Operations Forces


--------------------------




6. (C) Sekelsky said the General Staff would very much like
to take advantage of DoD's offer of training and equipment
for the 5th Special Operations Regiment, even though the
existing mandate does not allow for the deployment of such
forces. Sekelsky said the General Staff is thinking it may be
possible to deploy approximately 65 members of the 5th
Special Operations Regiment in early 2011. The current goal
is to secure all of the training and equipment the regiment
will need, including new vehicles, in 2009-2010. Sekelsky
acknowledged that the current budget situation may make this
difficult to achieve. Comment: The MoD has born the brunt of

GoS cost-cutting in the wake of the economic crisis. The PM
has publicly said he will look to MoD first when he needs to
save money, and that the Minister of Defense should not
expect to make any major equipment purchases in 2009. End
comment.



7. (C) Embassy comment: The General Staff's current thinking
precludes anything but a garrison-OMLT, even in the second
half of 2010. In contrast, the idea of deploying special
forces in early 2011 presumes a significant change in the
Slovak mandate. At the end of the meeting, Sekelsky outlined
his view of the way ahead: first, he will secure a letter
from Defense Minister Baska outlining the General Staff's
aspirational plans. Second, DATT should use that letter to
secure assistance from the USG. Finally, the Embassy should
lobby Slovakia's political leaders to secure an expanded
mandate for Slovak forces. In upcoming meetings with senior
Slovak officials -- including President Gasparovic and
Foreign Minister Lajcak -- we will underscore the importance
of Slovakia fulfilling its commitments and responsibilities
as a NATO partner. Ultimately, however, it will be PM Fico's
willingness to move forward that is decisive. At every
opportunity, we will remind interlocutors at MoD, MFA and in
the President's office that senior Slovak government
officials who believe Slovakia can and should take on a
larger, more robust role in ISAF are in the best position to
persuade the skeptical PM to lend his support and grant
access to required resources.
EDDINS