World news story

Developing new selection and training system of future Bosnia and Herzegovina Armed Forces officers

As a result of a joint Ministry of Defence of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and British Embassy Sarajevo project, BiH is to introduce a more effective and transparent system to select and train its next generation of young military officers.

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Presentation of the new programme

Deputy Minister of Defence Marina Pendes announced that urgent action is required to overhaul the current systems of Armed Forces officer selection, recruitment and training of junior officers. A new selection system will be introduced at the end of 2013. This system will be designed to attract the best young leaders from society and, for the first time, will be open to male and female applicants directly from the civilian sector. Currently, all junior officers are recruited from the ranks of soldiers and non-commissioned officers. The decision to open the officer selection process to the best and brightest from the civilian sector comes as a result of a 10-month long study conducted jointly by the Ministry of Defence of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the British Embassy’s Defence Section.

The British Defence Attaché, Lieutenant Colonel Rob Tomlinson, who has co-chaired the study group, remarked:

BiH Armed Forces recruits hundreds of highly motivated and skilled young soldiers every year. These young men and women deserve the very best quality leadership particularly as they face increased opportunities to serve alongside international military forces on combined operations in Afghanistan and elsewhere. The country has a duty to ensure that its young soldiers and NCOs are led by the best young officers the country can produce. Due to the restriction of the current officer selection system junior BiH officers at platoon commander level are, on average, at least 15 years older than their international counter-parts. The new system is designed to attract and select the best young graduate-level leaders from society and to provide them with the best possible leadership development training possible.

Workshop participants

Deputy Minister Pendes stated that a pilot young officer selection commission will be conducted at the end of this year with the aim of recruiting at least 25 junior leaders directly from the civilian sector. Successful applicants from that process will be put through a new and intensive military and leadership development training programme, before joining their units at the end of 2014.

Assistant Minister for Personnel and the Co-chair of the study group representing the Ministry of Defence of BiH, Dr Sead Muratovic, emphasized the importance of this joint project and the necessity for the BiH Armed Forces to start the selection and training of officers within their existing capacity. The commitment to offer the opportunity to young men and women of Bosnia and Herzegovina to become commissioned officers of the BiH Armed Forces represents an important step forward and improvement to the existing system.

Published 5 July 2013