Utilisation of Surplus Equipment and Infrastructure
In the process of adaptation to the post-Cold War security environment, the countries on the two sides of the then dividing line reduced their armed forces significantly. A considerable amount of weapon systems, equipment, ammunitions and military sites became unnecessary in the process. Defence establishments to the West of the dividing line did have to resolve certain challenges but the combination of sound defence management mechanisms, parliamentarian scrutiny and societal interest kept the problem manageable. To the East of that line, however, countries had to deal with the issue of defence surpluses in parallel with the return to free market and the principles of democratic rule, with burning conflicts on their territories or nearby, very limited transparency and, generally, quite weak democratic institutions.
Not surprisingly, defence establishments in Eastern, South-Eastern Europe and elsewhere were not able to cope efficiently with this legacy and still face numerous problems. First, maintaining surpluses costs much. Secondly, poor protection, storage and handling of surpluses directly threatens the life of soldiers, employees, the people working or living in nearby communities and the environment, and increases the risk of illicit trafficking and uncontrolled spread to criminals and even terrorists. And third, non-transparent and unaccountable management of the surpluses involves very high corruption risks.
This chapter examines these three groups of problems and presents examples of good practice in resolving them. The final section provides a list of recommendations, the implementation of which lowers the corruption potential of utilisation.
Waste of Resources
The costs of removing defence materiel that has become redundant may be significant. On the other hand, keeping redundant weapon systems, equipment, ammunition and infrastructure diverts valuable human and financial resources away from developing necessary defence capabilities and deploying armed forces in operations that increase the security of the nation, its allies and partners. As the example in Box 10.1