The focus of tasks was intelligence to secure the area of defence and security of the Slovak Republic (hereinafter referred to as „SR“) within the competence of the Ministry of Defence of the Slovak Republic (hereinafter referred to as „MOD SR“).
Intelligence activities of the Military Intelligence (hereinafter referred to as „MI“) in 2017 were in compliance with specified priorities1) focused on gathering and collection of the information for early identification and evaluation of security threats indicators against protected values and interests of the SR and its allies.
The security environment of the SR was still negatively affected by damped and persistent security threats in the past evaluation period. There were no significant changes in the sources (actors) of these threats. The sources of the threats have been identified and monitored in the cyber space, on the territory of the SR, in the regions of the European Union (EU), the Western Balkans, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Ukraine, the Near and Middle East and North Africa (particularly in crisis and conflict areas of some regions). Confirmed assumptions have been made that the level of negative effects of threats and activity intensity of identified actors are increasing and their spectrum is expanding. The dynamics of the indicators of the magnitude of some threats has changed2) as well as the intensity of their perception by authorized users and other state bodies. Substantially increased attention was therefore paid in particular to the issue of the assessment of indicators of cyber-threat, strategic propaganda and information-psychological activities, terrorism and extremism.
Higher dynamics of changes in threat scope indicators were noted in cyber threats of cyber-attacks and extremism. In both areas, a slight increase (increase in risk) was recorded in comparison with the previous assessment period.
However, in relation to cyber-attack threats, the identified increase may be related mainly to a significant progress in the level of the MI capabilities in this area (e.g. in the area of threat detection and identification). Other reasons for this trend are also the anonymity problems in the cyberspace, the high level of sophisticated activities of various hacking groups (often with the support of state institutions), and the qualitative technological progress in artificial intelligence (growth).
In relation to extremism, the increase is caused by conceptual changes in the access of some radical and extremist subjects to the way in which their activities are carried out. Their goal is to influence public opinion and to achieve a positive change in the perception of their ideology by society. At the same time, there is a slight increase in the level of radicalism in the internal structures of such subjects.
In the field of strategic propaganda, information - psychological activities and terrorism, there were no relevant changes compared to the previous evaluation period. The level of risk in relation to these threats has been rather stagnant or may have tended to increase somewhat in specific time periods. The general complex problem in relation to the type of threats remains the relevance and evaluation of their indicators at the state level (this is not just the SR problem).
On a regular basis, in accordance with valid legislation, the capabilities of the Slovak Republic Armed Forces (including the military-industrial complex) have been monitored and evaluated, as well as the combat potential of the armed forces of foreign powers3), the negative effects of propaganda at the strategic level4), the activities of foreign intelligence services, radicalism and extremism, migration processes, criminal activities of individuals, organized groups in relation to the defence sector, efforts to obtain classified information by unauthorized persons, illegal proliferation of weapons systems, weapons and military technologies (including weapons of mass destruction).
As of 31 December 2017, the number of members and employees of the MI reached 54.30% of the planned number of personnel. There are 78% of professional soldiers and 22% of employees in the public service, 78% of whom are men and 22% are women.
The average age of members and employees of the MI is 42 years, with 42% under the age of 40. 77% of personnel is university educated (including first-level higher education).
By the schedule of the administrator of the chapter of the MOD SR, the MI´s budget for the year 2017 has been set in the field of income of EUR 58 860.00 and in the area of expenditures amounting to EUR 44 000 000.00. In the period from 1 January 2017 to 31 December 2017, 11 budget measures were implemented by the administrator of the chapter of the MOD SR, adjusting the total limit of the budgetary expenditures to EUR 54 429 890.00.
In 2017, the MI processed and provided 398 intelligence products to authorized and contracting entities. Of which were 168 intelligence information, 13 summary intelligence, 176 intelligence exchange information for partner intelligence services, and 41 specialist products of open source resources for NATO.
In the reported period, the main efforts in relation to capability development were mainly focused on defence cyber capabilities. The process of preparing the New Cyber Security Act5) has been completed. In particular, the process of progressive building of the CSIRT.MIL6) unit continued, focusing on its personnel and material replenishment and technical equipment. In August 2017, the process of accrediting the unit was initiated through the Trusted Introducer certification authority, whose activity is covered by Géant association. Accreditation will allow the unit, subject to all the conditions set, to exchange relevant information in that area with partner CSIRT units.
In the area of cyber capabilities, efforts have also been made in relation to the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Center of Excellence7) in Tallinn. Since February 2017, the commissioned member of the MI has been a member of the steering committee of the organization.
In addition to the above mentioned processes, the activities have also been conducted in the area of threats of asymmetric character, which are aimed at cooperation and formal admission of the SR into the activities of the NATO Strategic Communication Center (CoE STRATCOM NATO). Since the end of 2017, the process of approving the membership of the SR has been underway in the said institution.
In the period from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2017, the MI submitted a total of 65 requests for the use of information and technical means to the law judges. 65 approvals have been issued by lawful judges for the use of information and technical means. Of the total number of 65 written authorizations issued by the legal judge for the use of information and technical means by the MI, the legal purpose and objective was achieved in 54 cases. The information obtained by the MI through the use of information and technical means were provided in 2 cases to the law enforcement authorities. There was no even one case of illegal (unlawful) use of information and technical means.
In the reported period, the intelligence activity of the MI was primarily focused on the obtaining and assessment of information related to building up and developing of the armed forces. The main effort was focused on the preparation and implementation of major defence development projects. Priority was given to 8x8 Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV), 4x4 combat armoured/multi-role tactical vehicle, Armoured Fighting Vehicle (AFV) upgrading project, helicopter and traffic aviation replacement projects, multi-purpose tactical aircraft acquisition project, mid-range 3D radar acquisition and DELOSYS system integration project.
In the field of maintaining current capabilities, the intelligence activity was mainly focused on monitoring, reporting and evaluating processes and activities related to the preparation and processing of the defence sector strategic documents (including NATO related documents), planning processes, training and staff replenishment.
Other areas included operational capability of armament, equipment and materials, research and development, especially with emphasis on the moral and physical obsolescence of combat equipment and technology, the termination of technical life cycle and technical renewal, problematic supply of spare parts, public procurement, and the provision of service, repairs and overhauling within and outside of the defence industry.
In relation to participation of the Armed Forces of the Slovak Republic in international crisis management operations - NATO, the EU, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the United Nations, the security situation in the areas of deployment of our armed forces units abroad was continuously assessed. Attention was paid mainly to intelligence coverage of the preparation phase of the units prior to their deployment and to the intelligence support of the commanders of the Slovak Republic contingents (SLOVCON8)) in missions abroad.
A security challenge in relation to the issue of implementing major defence development projects, maintaining existing capabilities and training, training and staff replenishment remains a lack of strategic communication of the department in relation to society and a wide range of other target groups.
The negative trend of human resource development continued in 2017. The most serious reason is the failure to meet the basic selection criteria. These include, in particular, health conditions, physical performance criteria, problems related to narcotics, psychotropic substances or radicalism and extremism. A similar, negative trend in relation to narcotics and psychotropic substances, radicalism and extremism is also recorded in the area of sustainability of existing staff compared to the previous assessment period (slight increase). In addition, the trend of increasing interest in the Slovak Republic Armed Forces personnel from paramilitary and criminal structures and foreign intelligence services is also recorded. In relation to hybrid warfare method of combat operations, information and psychological operations activities focused on armed forces as one of the target groups a number of specific activities have also been recorded and assessed on the social networks and in media. However, the trend in this area was comparable to the previous reporting period (rather stagnation). There was also no significant change in this area compared to the previous assessment period even in relation to the contribution of the SR in international crisis management operations. In relation to participation of the Slovak Republic Armed Forces in operations abroad during the period of assessment, the threat of attack by militants infiltrated into the friendly forces (“green on blue attacks”) still persist.
In addition to the aforementioned issues, in the reporting period was also evaluated the combat potential of the foreign armed forces, the security situation in Ukraine and selected countries in the Western Balkans and the Middle East. Emphasis has been placed on existing or potentially conflicting areas where the worsening of the security situation has the potential to be a source of tension escalation in the region, with subsequent enlargement to neighbouring countries.
The negative development of the security situation in conflict areas has also been monitored and assessed in the context of migration (particularly in relation to internally displaced persons in Ukraine and the security situation in separatist regions of the country, changes in migratory routes, intensity of their use and cross-border criminal activities). In 2017, the MI recorded attempted abuses of illegal migration by Islamic radicals (in particular, operatives of the Islamic state's global jihadist group) in south-eastern Europe in order to move to EU member states. Another trend is the increased involvement of organized crime groups in the organization of illegal migration, especially in so-called eastern Mediterranean route (the Balkan route). There remains a relatively large number of illegal migrants at the EU's external border (in particular in Turkey and Libya) aiming at crossing the Schengen border. Efforts to monitor the development of the security situation at the Slovak-Ukrainian border continued. There has been an increase in the number of illegal migrants from Vietnam and Afghanistan trying to enter the EU across this border. In this context, co-operation and support at the operational and information level has traditionally been provided to the relevant components of the Police Force of the Slovak Republic and the Ministry of Finance of the Slovak Republic.
In relation to the capabilities of our own armed forces and the combat potential of the foreign armed forces, the main effort was to acquire knowledge and generate intelligence on the current situation in these areas.
In the reporting period, the negative effects of propaganda at the strategic level and the activities of foreign intelligence services on the protected interests of the SR continued. The intelligence was continuously provided to the relevant security sector entities of the SR.
In the sphere of protection of the defence department against the activities of foreign intelligence services, the activities of the MI were aimed at detection, intelligence documentation and prevention of intelligence activities performed by foreign intelligence services. In the reporting period, the trend of growth and increase in the intensity of activities of foreign intelligence services in the SR continued. Active measures were taken to eliminate the activities of foreign intelligence services. In the recorded cases, intensive cooperation with the partner intelligence organizations was carried out.
In the field of counter-terrorism, the work was focused on the assessment of indicators of threats of terrorist attack against the SR, especially with respect to persons, objects and facilities of the defence department. Special attention was paid in this area to the threats of a terrorist attack on the Slovak Armed Forces contingents abroad (in particular the Resolute Support operation in Afghanistan). In the reporting period, efforts to identify both active and passive supporters of jihadist groups, monitoring of domestic and foreign risky communities with links to members of the armed forces or citizens of the SR with links to the defence department continued. Information gathered was shared with the Expert Group on Coordination of Exchange and Analysis of Counter-Terrorism Information and Cooperation, with foreign partner organizations and the National Security and Analytical Centre (NBAC). Attention has also been paid to the monitoring and evaluation of jihadist propaganda in the social media environment.
In the area of the fight against extremism, the intelligence activity of the MI was focused mainly on lustration and gathering of information on the activities of physical and legal entities which support several radical and extremist subjects and have links and connections to the defence department. Among the members of the armed forces and citizens of the SR which are interested in joining the Armed Forces of the Slovak Republic, there was also a growing trend of the number of sympathizers who openly or secretly tend to extreme opinions and ideologies (especially neo-fascism and neo-Nazism).The activities of Slovak paramilitary and militant groupings were continuously monitored. Attention was paid to their efforts to establish themselves in politics, forms and methods of their promotion and cooperation with similarly oriented domestic and foreign actors. In the reporting period, the efforts and activities of the legal entity to conduct a campaign against the defence department were recorded. The MI has been continually evaluating the indicators of the connection of extremism with the activities of foreign powers and foreign intelligence services. The evidence obtained confirms the long-term assumption that the number of these indicators has also increased. Relevant intelligence information has been provided to authorized users in this respect.
In 2017, the MI monitored in open sources the activities of those harmful sectarian groupings, which had been found to be working against the limitation of the basic human rights of the individual. The second monitored group were sects, whose ideologies and activities are aimed at self-harming the individual, respectively showing long-term psychological action against an individual in order to fully control it. In this period, the perpetrators of harmful sectarian groupings among the members of the defence department were not recorded. The activity of the sects did not pose a security threat during the reporting period within the defence department.
In the field of organized crime, several cases of detection of acts connected with illegal arming, illicit trafficking in military ammunition, explosives and drug offenses performed by the Armed Forces of the SR officers were repeatedly recorded. In their implementation (particularly in the areas of illicit arms and drug offenses), co-operation with the relevant departmental and non-departmental bodies was established. In all cases, a set of intelligence and coordination measures have been adopted which have led to their criminal law settlement. In the area of drug crime, a slight increase in the number of cases of consumption of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances by members of the Armed Forces of the SR was recorded in the reporting period.
Increased intelligence was also devoted to trafficking in narcotics and psychotropic substances in connection with their distribution by members of the Armed Forces of the SR. In some cases, suppliers or manufacturers of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances from the civilian environment were also identified and the information were continuously provided to the law enforcement authorities.
Regarding the media information on lack (missing) of ammunition in the Armed Forces of the SR inventories, a set of active intelligence and analytical measures were adopted, aiming at the detailed identification of the phenomenon, responsible persons to investigate the labour and criminal liability of individuals.
In the context of cross - border crime at the Slovak - Ukrainian border, a set of intelligence and safety measures were implemented in cooperation with the Police of the Slovak Republic. In the period under review, the MI received further knowledge of the violation of the Slovak airspace on the Slovak-Ukrainian border by organized crime groups. In the reporting period, a number of violations of the airspace of the SR by airplanes of small aircraft and drones were recorded.
With regard to illegal migration, information on misuse of the original or, respectively, partially altered travel documents by a group of persons residing in the SR were obtained. Based on existing agreements with foreign partner services, the Partner Intelligence Service was provided with knowledge of a foreign national involved in the organization of illegal migration. The MI also gained information on the activity of non-governmental, humanitarian organizations and their involvement in the process of typing and recruiting people for Islamic radical organizations from illegal migrants in the Western Balkans. The MI also gained knowledge of the process of procurement of Syrian false personal documents, documents from unspecified EU Member States. False passport prices range from $ 250 to $ 1,500 depending on their quality. An interest was also recorded in the purchase of the SR identity cards for their further use for refugees from the Near and Middle East. All these findings are shared with partner intelligence organizations, or relevant home security agencies.
In the reporting period, in accordance with valid legislation, the MI evaluated information on exports and re-exports of military material with the participation of Slovak business entities and the links of Slovak manufacturing and trading companies to these activities. Intelligence measures have been taken to get early information on illegal trafficking in conventional weapons, weapon systems and military material that could be exported to conflict areas and used to support terrorism or could be used in local military conflicts.
In respect to this issue the MI gained knowledge about the planned export of modified weapons from the territory of the SR with the assumption of their re-deployment in the territory of Ukraine. At the request of the relevant state administration bodies, several publicized information on suspicions of circumvention of international sanction regimes and embargoes by some Slovak business entities was also verified with negative results in the period under review. The findings were provided to relevant government bodies for further use and possible action.
In the sphere of protection of the military and economic interests of the SR, the intelligence activity was devoted mainly to measures aimed at fulfilling financially demanding contracts focusing on the possible uneconomic and ineffective handling of the funds entrusted, non-fulfilment of the obligations under the contract, possible corrupt and clientelistic behaviour with negative impact on the protected interests of the SR. As part of the analytical and information activity, the attention of the MI in 2017 was mainly devoted to the fulfilment of the project of research, development and procurement of an armoured fighting vehicles and multi-purpose tactical vehicles, a modernization project for ISTAR Battalion armoured reconnaissance vehicles, DELOSYS, radar equipment, UH 60M BLACK HAWK helicopters and medium C-27J SPARTAN aircrafts, as well as a decision-making process to purchase multi-purpose tactical aircrafts and to ensure the operation of MiG 29AS / UBS fighter aircrafts in an authoritative manner.
In the sphere of protection of classified information, the intelligence activity was primarily focused on the verification of the security of the persons authorized to acquaint with classified information, the continuous evaluation of the information obtained and the potential security risks (according to valid legislation) or other facts that could have an impact on the security of these persons. Within the scope of the Defence Department, 11 suspected cases of unauthorized manipulation of classified documents were recorded in the period under review. For the purposes of criminal proceedings, the MI prepared two expert opinions and one supplement to the expert opinion for law enforcement authorities. Clarification of violations in the field of protection of classified information was ensured by MI in cooperation with the Military Police (VP) MOD SR.
In the field of personnel security (2nd to 4th level security clearance), 1933 applications for security clearance were accepted in 2017. In the course of the security vettings, 1,270 inspections were carried out in the MOD SR and more than 27,000 requests were made to other state bodies, local authorities and legal entities. With regard to the issue of NATO and EU certificates to authorized persons within the competence of the MOD SR, more than 10,000 administrative and registration operations related to the issuance of 3 812 certificates were carried out. With regard to the right to acquaint with classified information, 9,632 records were made and registrated on the designation of the proposed person and the cessation of authorisation for acquaintance with classified information. The MI participated in the process of performing security vettings of persons carried out by the National Security Authority (NBU) by providing 2 457 written submissions on the requests submitted.
In the evaluation period, 17,441 responses to lustration requirements were processed, 11,329 from MI organisational components, 3,483 from the Slovak Information Service (SIS) and 2,629 from National Security Authority (NBU). The MI processed 5,210 lustration requests for SIS and Police Force of the SR.
In 2017, 255 documents were sent for assessment in the frame of comment actions (both in-house and inter-departmental). The MI has, in its case, applied its observations in 54 cases.
In the field of physical and object security, the tasks of assessing the real status, accuracy and completeness of the security (classified) documentation and their amendments have been continuously fulfilled. In addition to the above mentioned tasks, methodological and preventive-educational activities and cooperation with the National Security Authority of SR have been also executed in this area.
The MI also participated in the interdepartmental co-operation during the evaluation period as a standard part of the activities of the National Security and Analytical Centre (NBAC) and various interdepartmental expert bodies and groups.
Within the framework of the bilateral and multilateral cooperation, the MI carried out 46 activities on the territory of the SR and abroad.
From September 5-22, 2017, an international SFIT 17 exercise was held in the SR with the participation of 26 NATO military counter-intelligence services and 12 NATO intelligence and security agencies, including the NATO Counter Intelligence Centre of Excellence (CI COE) in Krakow. Approximately 400 people participated in the exercise, including over 200 direct exercisers. About 150 participants in the exercise were from SR. Most of them were MI members. Other components of the Armed Forces of the Slovak Republic and the Ministry of the Interior of the Slovak Republic also contributed actively to the organization and security of the exercise.
- 1) The priorities are determined by the focus of the activity of the MI on a specific year. The relevant Control Committee of the National Council of the Slovak Republic was acquainted with the document "the Focus of Intelligence Activities of the Military Intelligence for the year 2017" .
- 2) The level of risk, the motivation of the actors or their capabilities.
- 3) The armed forces of states which may, in relation to the interests of the Slovak Republic and its international commitments in the military field represent a potential adversary.
- 4) In the framework of the so-called information, or a hybrid warfare (the expert community defines these terms as information and psychological action on the population and the hybrid method of combat operations).
- 5) The law was adopted in February 2018 with effect from 1. April 2018.
- 6) Computer Security Incident Response Team. This is essentially the unit to combat cyber threats.
- 7) NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Center of Excellence.
- 8) SLOVCON – Slovak Contingent.