STA, February 22, 2018 – The government dismissed on Thursday Major General Andrej Osterman as the chief of the general staff of the Slovenian Armed Forces, appointing his deputy Alan Geder as replacement. The move comes after an elite brigade failed a NATO combat readiness test last week.
Announcing the move at a press conference after the government session, Prime Minister Miro Cerar said that Osterman had been dismissed on proposal from Defence Minister Andreja Katič.
Cerar acknowledged that the decision was connected to the 800-strong battalion-sized battlegroup performing dismally at the combat readiness assessment in Poček in the framework of the NATO programme Course for Land Forces (CREVAL).
Readiness was inspected across five areas - planning, operation, logistics support, communication, and administration - each marked on a 1-5 scale. Slovenia only received one pass mark (3), with four fail (2) grades.
Cerar said that the report from Minister Katič suggested that the reason for such an assessment and situation was poor training.
The prime minister noted that the government had earmarked additional funds for the Slovenian Armed Forces in 2016 to improve organisation and preparedness.
"The government has done most of its job, so we were surprised when we received the report," Cerar added.
Under the defence law, the army chief of staff is the person responsible for preparedness and functioning of all units of the Slovenian army, he explained the decision to dismiss Osterman, who was appointed in October 2014.
Cerar has ordered Katič to come up with additional measures to improve the readiness and performance of the battlegroup within a month.