The two Swedish specialists, Pär Carlsson and Jonas Lindgren, who normally serve at Swedec in Eksjö, have just returned from a mission in Moldova. Here they give a brief background and status report:
Thirteen participants from the Moldovan Armed Forces, Interior Ministry and Ministry of Justice took the three-week course "Fundamentals of ammunition", at the Moldovan Military Academy "Alexandru cel Bun", in Chisinau. The course was conducted by four Moldovan trainers under the supervision of the Swedish, Austrian, and Canadian specialists. The specialists and their knowledge was the countries' contribution to the project in cooperation with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
The goal of the mission is to contribute to a safe and secure storage of conventional ammunition in Moldova by providing training in inventory management including security and visual inspection, aimed at technicians, supervisors and management personnel in ammunition storage.
The project also aims to contribute to stability in the region by increasing the confidence of Transnistrian authorities.
− The program has contributed to the risk reduction of ammunition depots, as well as a better understanding of the risks and a better handling of ammunition, explains Pär Carlsson. I am convinced that at the end of the project, Moldovan Defence Forces will have a program for sustainable training for their specialists that meets the international standards in the field.
Because of the lack of expert staff and financial resources in Moldova, the condition of ammunition stocks has deteriorated in recent decades. After an evaluation visit conducted by OSCE in 2006-2008, a series of measures were recommended to improve the situation, including:
- Improve the rules and regulations relating to inventory management and training standards
- Increase understanding of the division of ammunition in different risk groups and educate personnel about the compatibility groups in order to reduce the dangerous mixture of ammunition
- Practice the practical skills necessary to expand storage of ammunition, since the majority is manual handling
During an inspection in late 2011, a needs assessment was conducted which concluded that the best solution was to increase the capacities of the Moldovan Defence Ministry through effective and sustainable training in inventory management at all levels.
Together with the Ministry, basic and continued training were developed for warehouse personnel.
−Training programs ensure that employees in ammunition storage, as well as those governing the activities, understand and apply the principles of security of supply management at the operational level, says Jonas Lindgren.
After the three-week course was concluded, a formal closing ceremony was held in the ballroom of the Moldovan Ministry of Defence. The Moldovan defense minister, chief of staff of the Moldovan army, the Swedish and Austrian ambassadors, military attaché, and acting deputy head of the OSCE Moldova all participated.
Swedish Ambassador Ingrid Tersman stressed in her speech the importance of building an education structure in the Moldovan armed forces to secure the sustainability of the program.
The second phase of the course continues in June 2015, which is a practical course in "Basic handling of ammunition."