The Armed Forces must move into a new era, which we call the “Armed Forces of 2030”. This was emphasized, among others, by the Minister of National Defense, Nikos Dendias, in his today’s interview with the Kathimerini of Sunday and the journalist Vassilis Nedos.

As he said, for this reason, during the recent changes in the leadership of the Armed Forces, “an approach of a total change of the leaders, that is beyond the head of the General Staff and the heads of the General Staffs” was chosen.

“We need to develop the domestic capabilities to produce low value, high capability systems. It is not possible for the country, a country with a large defense budget, to buy everything off the shelf, even off the shelf abroad, and not produce the slightest bit,” he explained.

“The challenges”, he continued, “that the country faces due to its geographical position, but also due to the situation in the wider region, require a radically different approach. The presence on the battlefield of a series of new systems – as the experience has shown us in Ukraine, the Caucasus and in the latest conflicts in the Gaza Strip – proves that the doctrines followed today by the Greek Armed Forces must be studied to a large extent. to be revised”.

He clarified that “Ukraine clearly shows us that the decision-making authority must be at a lower level, that is, both the junior and middle officers must have the ability to act independently and make a decision.”

“Also,” he added, “reflection with the aim of making the best possible decision should be rewarded. The order, when finally given by the leadership, must be carried out. But in the planning phase, everyone must have a full sense of their obligation to say what they think is right.”

He underlined that “the Air Force without an ODA that works normally, cannot stand. The problems we face in our shuttles and helicopters are the result of this malfunction over decades.”

In the following days, he pledged that “the new legislation concerning innovation in the Armed Forces will be submitted. This legislation will prove that the production potential of the country can be connected with the needs of the General Staff”.

Mr. Dendias pointed out that “the research that can also come from the military schools, can work positively for the creation of new products, which can cover at a reasonable cost some of the needs of our Armed Forces”.

The government’s intention is to create an ecosystem “completely different from what has existed so far”. “For,” he said, “so far what have we got? Two severely problematic state enterprises, ODA and EAS and zero or almost zero domestic production”.

“This in the 21st century,” he added, “cannot be tolerated in a country that spends so much money to serve the needs of the Armed Forces with weapons systems.”

“I connect it”, he explained, “to the new leadership, because the new leadership must also enter into the logic of describing and delegating the needs of the domestic defense industry, as it will gradually develop.”

“Also,” he said, “he must perceive the new age, the cost-benefit logic, and the opposition to anything pharaonic that does not serve our needs. In order to realize this goal, we will first commit a small and then a larger part of the budget of the Armed Forces, which will be allocated exclusively to Greek products”.

On the changes to the service, he clarified that it will be followed “first, the Finnish model by adapting it to our own needs” which means “the service should empower the soldier, but also provide him with regular retraining so that he is integrated into a a unit in which it can operate in the future as well, monitoring the new weapons systems, the new doctrines, the new capabilities”.

“We are going to a new reality in the term. We will implement it gradually, aiming for a broad social and political consensus” he continued.

“But,” he clarified, “what exists today, with units that have 25% and 30% occupancy scattered around the country, I don’t think that can be the reality of the 21st century, if we want to respect ourselves and the needs of our country. The merit of the Armed Forces must cease to be determined by parades”.

Regarding the government’s legislative initiative for the marriage of same-sex couples, he pointed out that “in order to place someone in charge, a final proposal must first come to the cabinet.”

He also recalled that in 2015, he himself, as a deputy of the official opposition, had voted in favor of the same-sex cohabitation agreement.

Regarding the equipment, he called the F-35 “an iconic weapon” while adding: “Greece currently has an extremely capable Air Force at the level of combat aircraft. I estimate that we have a clear advantage.”

“We’re going to get the F-35s, but it’s not necessary to get them tomorrow morning,” he said, adding: “But that’s not the main problem. As much as I understand that just as we saw the Rafale in the Greek skies, so when we see the F-35 we will feel pride and self-confidence, we have to deal with the roots of the problems.”

“By taking,” he explained, “weapon systems only at the top of the pyramid and ignoring the base of the pyramid, we are not moving forward. An Air Force that has F-35s but does not have sufficient transport aircraft is not a modern Air Force.”

For the fleet he was clear that it “must be modernized” and “a number of MEKOs must be modernized”.

“Above all, the availability of Navy ships must be addressed. To be precise, the full availability of the ships, not just to go out to sea, but to go out with all their systems in operation” emphasized the Minister of National Defense.

“This,” he said, “means smart use of the resources we have. We don’t necessarily need too many ships, but we definitely need well-equipped ships.”

He expressed his respect for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and said: “I hope he will not take things to extremes in the remaining 4.5 years of his presidency.”

As he explained, he is worried about “what will happen to Turkey when Erdogan leaves? We don’t know what will happen. Turkey is not a static country, and I think it is not certain that the current president will impose his succession. But even if he imposes it, we don’t know how it will work.”

“During the succession phase of a strong long-term leader, there is always instability. We don’t know where this instability can break out,” explained the Minister of National Defense.

“So we are talking about 4.5-5 years from now. That is, before 2030 we must be ready for any eventuality. But in general, our region does not allow complacency. We have heaps of foci of instability around us that require us to have modern Armed Forces” concluded Mr. Dendias.