In the evaluated period, the activities of the Military Intelligence (hereafter as MI) were influenced by the dynamics of developments of the internal and external security environment of the Slovak Republic (hereafter as SVK). MI was fulfilling its tasks in accordance with Act. No. 198/1994 on Military Intelligence as amended. Within the internal and the external security environment (SE), MI evaluated security threats and indicators of change, which could lead to the creation of tensions impacting the security and protected interests of SVK. In compliance within the scope of powers, MI collected, accumulated and evaluated information important to ensure the security and the defence of SVK.
Compared to the previously assessed period, the spectrum of identified security threats of the internal and external SE of SVK did not change significantly. As well as in the previously assessed period, the uneven economic, social, and demographic growth of the Slovak regions had a negative impact on the internal SE of SVK. This disparity caused the spreading of negative social phenomenon such as polarization of society, extremism and terrorism, which were further promoted via activities in cyberspace. Furthermore, instability of the internal SE was influenced by organized crime, corruption, and unwanted impacts of migration processes. The security of SVK was also affected by the security situation development in the eastern neighbourhood of the SVK. In relation to the Ministry of Defence (hereafter as MoD) of SVK, several indicators of security threats were observed. These indicators confirmed the trend of combat readiness distraction of the Armed Forces of SVK (hereafter as AF SVK). The most significant threats were the stagnation of training activities and capabilities development, problematic processes of procurement and central acquisition, decrease or suspension of modernization processes, and low public interest in serving in the AF SVK. Compared to the previously assessed period, the intensity of activities of some actors (individuals and groups) undermining the role and the importance of the AF SVK in the state, security and collective defence system of alliance was higher.
The aggravation of the external SE of SVK was also observed. The ongoing dynamics of competitive relations among key geopolitical actors increased and their military strengths and capabilities were enhanced. The existing security architecture was adversely affected by ongoing armed conflicts, development of new weapon systems, non compliance with international law, questioning of necessity of some international organizations, weakening of collective defence mechanisms, and non-compliance with the international arms control systems and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destructions. The instability of the SE was substantially amplified by impacts of unintentional security threats (climate change, pandemics, environmental problems etc.), which occurred more frequently than ever before. MI observed an increased interest of key geopolitical actors in establishing dominance in the cyberspace and space. The international legal regulation of these domains is currently not sufficient. The role of the state as the traditional subject of international relations is being weakened due to the increasing importance and activities of non-state actors, such as nongovernmental organizations or transnational companies.
In the assessed period, the dynamics of relations among SE actors were significantly affected by the expansion of innovations in the field of information and communication technologies (e.g. 5G technology) and armaments, as well as by increasing the application of artificial intelligence, especially in the military. In this context, MI observed and evaluated cyberspace activities, especially in relation to the hybrid warfare method of conducting combat operations. Compared to the previously assessed period, the intensity of actors’ activities in the mentioned areas increased. Despite the abovementioned matters, no negative impacts affecting the performance of the AF SVK was observed.
The range of the activities conducted by the foreign intelligence services (hereafter as FIS) in SVK remained unchanged in comparison to the previously assessed period. However, a change in the modus operandi collecting of intelligence information was detected, enhancing the traditional methods and forms (via human resources). In this context, increased exploitation of cyberspace was observed.
Within the scope of its powers, MI was participating in the control of defence industry goods trade and in the detection of acts related to illicit armaments and illegal arms and ammunition trade.
Furthermore, MI was collecting and evaluating information concerning the activities of terrorist, extremist and paramilitary groups and militant individuals. The threats of terrorist attacks and harmful manifestation of extremist ideologies persist. In the assessed period, the level of risk of the mentioned threats was low in relation to the protected values of SVK.
In 2019, MI was also monitoring migration trends in relation to the security of SVK. MI was evaluating negative impacts of migration, which was mainly affected by the security situation in crisis regions.
As of 31 December 2019, staffing level reached 62,89 % of the planned number of personnel. Personnel of MI consist of professional soldiers (80 %) and public service employees (20 %), of whom 77 % are men and 23 % are women. The average age of the MI personnel is 44 years and 28,5 % of personnel is under age of 40. The rate of personnel with higher education (including first level of higher education) is 76 %.
The billing list of the MoD chapter administration drew up binding indicators for MI for 2019 in the area of revenues the amount of 64 400 EUR, and in the area of expenditures, the amount of 82 945 299 EUR. As of December 31st 2019, the overall amount of the budget expenditures was adjusted to the amount of 94 249 697 EUR.
In 2019, MI processed and provided 321 intelligence products to the authorized and contracted subjects. Of these, 115 were intelligence information, 14 summary intelligence, 148 exchange intelligence products, and 44 specialized open source products provided to NATO.
In the assessed period, the Imagery Intelligence (IMINT) capability was under development. Throughout the year 2019, the initial operational capability was achieved.
In the period from January 1 to December 31 2019, MI submitted a total of 61 requests for consent to relevant legal judges to use information-surveillance devices (hereafter as ISD). 58 requests for consent were approved and 3 were rejected by legal judges for the use of ISD. In 2019, the purpose and objective of lawfulness for the use of ISD was met in 38 cases.
Out of all the 61 requests for consent to relevant legal judges to use ISD, 24 were extension requests for consent using ISD, 2 extension requests for consent were rejected by legal judges to use ISD.
There was no unlawful use of ISD in either of the cases.
In the assessed period, MI monitored and evaluated indicators of security threats, which could have a fundamental impact on the violation of sovereignty, constitutional establishment, and territorial integrity and defence capabilities of SVK. In this context, MI cooperated with authorized users and contracted subjects and participated on the creation of national, as well as Alliance’s strategic defence planning documents.
In accordance with the valid legislation, the intelligence activities of MI were focused on obtaining, collecting and evaluating information related to the construction and development of the AF SVK and the capabilities of their operational deployment. In the aforementioned context, persistent shortcomings were observed in the field of personnel staffing, logistical support and the operability of armament, equipment and material. Within the protection of the military-economic interests of SVK, the activities of MI were focused on information collection about possible inefficiencies of procurement processes, corruption and favouritism, which could negatively impact the protected interests of SVK. Heightened attention was paid to the new defence development projects and projects aimed to increase capabilities of the main types of armaments and equipment. Following the replacement of some types of equipment, MI monitored its level of operability, focusing on the assessment of service life, service and repairs provision and availability of spare parts. The negative state in the identified problem areas is long-lasting.
In relation to the fulfilment of obligations in the international crisis management operations, the security situation in the areas of the AF SVK contingents’ deployment was continuously evaluated. The intelligence effort was focused on providing intelligence support and counterintelligence protection in the phase of pre-deployment, during deployment and after repatriation from operations. The most significant security threats for deployed units continue to be improvised explosive devices and attacks by opposition militant forces (especially “green on blue” attacks).
In the assessed period, MI monitored and evaluated indicators related to the security situation in the eastern strategic direction. Attention was paid to increasing combat potential and capabilities of foreign powers and to the research, development and production capabilities of companies in the military-industrial complex. The tension in the eastern strategic direction is further increasing. Despite the abovementioned fact, the military threat in the specified area is low in relations to the SE of SVK. In the evaluated period, the Russian Federation carried out construction of new military units in the Western and Southern military districts, introduction of new tactical and operational procedures to deploy its AF reflecting the dynamic of development of the global SE. The Russian Federation was developing new types of weapons and increasing training activities. Furthermore, in the assessed period, it paid attention especially to the strengthening of military presence in the co-called “Flank Zones” (particularly in the Crimean Peninsula and near to the South-eastern Ukraine).
In 2019, the erosion of the international security architecture continued. The current security architecture is based mainly on existing bilateral or international contractual obligations in the field of arms control and disarmament. The system of arms control and disarmament treaties is considered as one of the basic pillars of global security which contributes to maintain global stability and trust in international relations. In this context, the activities of major actors in the field of arms control and disarmament were monitored, as well as programs for the development and modernization of missiles. At present, the arms control system can be considered as dysfunctional. In the evaluated period, the most significant event was the termination of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (hereafter as INF), which was justified by the contracting parties accusations made in regard of the non-compliance with existing contractual obligations.
In the period under review, MI continued in its efforts to obtain, analyse and evaluate information related to operational priorities, activities, subjects of interest and modus operandi of Russian intelligence services on the territory of SVK and impacts of actions on the internal SE of SVK. In 2019, the Russian intelligence services continued to be interested in obtaining sensitive and classified information in relation to the defence capabilities of SVK and NATO. At the same time, their interest was confirmed in establishing new and developing existing relationships with persons from the environment of security structures with a likely access to the environment to the MoD and promoting the interests of the Russian Federation in SVK. It was observed, that an increase in the polarization of the political scene of the Slovak Republic exists through the intensified promotion of the officially enforced policy of the Russian Federation and pro-Russian narrative in the environment of SVK. At the same time, the efforts of the Russian intelligence services to penetrate the environment of the local governments were noted. In the period under review, several indicators were also recorded some of which indicate a trend of purposeful establishment of companies and their misuse to cover intelligence activities.
In the evaluated period, special attention was paid to the monitoring and evaluation of the hybrid way of conducting combat activities within the developed theories of modern conflict of the 21st century (the so-called permanent war). In terms of forms of activities, the main forms were spreading of misinformation and strategic propaganda. These activities were performed through the influence of non-military (asymmetric) and other specific means of coercion. Information and psychological operations aimed on the population of SVK were performed with unchanged intensity. The use of disinformation campaigns and spread of strategic propaganda threatens the protected values and interests of SVK. These campaigns could further help to polarize society and weaken the position of the state institutions, as well as the position of SVK in the Euro-Atlantic security system.
In the evaluated period, impacts on the security situation in SVK caused by migration processes were assessed. MI monitored mostly the entities involved in illegal migration. In comparison to the previous period, a decreased number of illegal migrants heading to the territory of SVK, as well as to the EU, was observed.
Throughout the year 2019, MI continued in the evaluation of terrorist threat indicators against the protected values of SVK, persons, objects and facilities of MoD and contingents of the AF SVK deployed abroad. The main intelligence effort was focused on the issue of financing and providing support for terrorism in relation to SVK. Adequate attention was also paid to the activities of militants and terrorists, respectively jihadist groups. The main aim was the early identification of terrorism supporters, radicalized individuals and terror cells. Relevant intelligence measures were taken in this regard. Similarly, as in the previous period, the level of risk associated with terrorism was assessed as low. The defeat of the self-proclaimed caliphate declared by the jihadist group Islamic State has a significant impact on the changes in the global SE. Despite this success, radicalized individuals and supporters of the main players of global jihadism and their regional branches remained the main source of the terrorist threat. The obtained information was provided to authorized customers and shared with other organizations within the National Security Analysis Center and the Expert Group for the Coordination of Exchange and Analysis of Information and Cooperation in the Fight against Terrorism.
In the field of the fight against extremism, the activities of the MI were focused on the gathering and evaluation of information on persons and entities supporting extremist, radical and separatist groups related to MoD. In evaluated period, the activities of right-wing and left-wing extremist entities, paramilitary groups and militant-oriented individuals in the European area were monitored. Extremist activities in cyberspace, as well as deployed communication channels used to spread extremist propaganda were monitored and evaluated. In the evaluated period, intensified efforts of actors to establish themselves on the political scene, as well as to increase cooperation between foreign and Slovak paramilitary groups were observed. In this context, the activities of the paramilitary group “Slovenskí Branci” were the most striking. Threats stemming from extremism and the activities of paramilitary groups and militant-oriented individuals persist. The level of risk to the protected values of SVK did not increase.
MI did not record any manifestations of harmful sectarian groups, which would pose a security threat or negatively affect the performance of the tasks of the AF SVK.
In the field of organized crime within the defence sector, the MI's activity was focused on the detection of illicit armaments and the trade with weapons and ammunition. MI fulfilled tasks in the field of combating drug crime within AF SVK, as well as related to suspicions of corrupt behaviour of MoD employees . All relevant information was provided to the Police Force of SVK for the start of criminal proceedings. A slightly increasing trend has been recorded in relation to drug crime and arms and ammunition trafficking.
In the evaluated period, MI participated in the inspection system of the export of defence industry products, including weapons and ammunition, as well as technologies and products of dual usage. Emphasis had been laid on the assessment of arms trading companies’ licenses and possible illegal activity particularly by the arms, ammunition and combat technology re-export from the declared land of end user to third countries and areas under embargo, in which an armed conflict is taking place or fundamental human rights and freedoms are being violated. Special attention has been focused on investigation assistance in the cases when expansion and devalued weapons1) could have been illegally redesigned and re-operationalized. Within the framework of cooperation with other agencies and organizations, MI participated in verifying the origin of weapons seized on illegal arms markets and used in criminal activities in order to confirm or refute their origin in AF SVK.
During the assessed period MI used intelligence activities to obtain and provide various information to law enforcement authorities related to the suspicion of the illicit production and possession of nuclear materials, radioactive substances, high–risk chemical and biological substances and toxins, as well as illegitimate waste management.
Within monitoring of the external SE of SVK, MI evaluated activities of several state and non-state actors and their efforts to acquire the ability to produce and miniaturize nuclear and chemical weapons, development of their carriers or further development of nuclear potential and missile technologies. In the given area, indicators of increased interest of some actors in obtaining physically and financially affordable weapons of primarily chemical and biological origin, as well as weapons containing radioactive material were observed.
In connection with the identification of cyberspace threats, the activities of MI were focused on the comprehensive resolution of cyber security incidents in order to ensure the defence of SVK. MI was responsible for the information and communication infrastructure security within the conditions of MoD, the protection of selected elements of critical infrastructure and objects of special importance of SVK. The intelligence activity was systematically focused primarily on the collection and analysis of data and information on the methods, forms and means used by advanced attackers from the so-called APT groups, hacktivists and cybercriminals. Tasks related to the cyberspace security were performed by a special group of MI experts. The most common security incidents were attempts to deliver emails with fraudulent content or malicious attachments to users within departmental networks. The dynamics of SE changes and technological development confirm the trend of an increasing number of state and non-state actors' activities in cyberspace, with the potential to negatively affect the protected interests of SVK.
In 2019, MI ensured the protection of classified information within the competence of the MoD on the basis of Acts no. 198/1994 and 215/2004.2)
In 2020, MI prepared and submitted to the National Security Authority (NBU), on behalf of the MoD, the Annual Report on the Protection of classified information in 2019 and a list of all classified documents marked Top Secret and Secret registered in 2019. From the point of view of registered classified documents of level Top Secret and Secret, in 2019, there was an increase in the number of registered NATO and EU classified documents.
The plan of inspection activities of the classified information protection of the MoD for 2019 was approved by the Minister of Defence and implemented to the proposed extent. On the basis of suggestions, special inspections were carried out in two entities within the competence of the MoD. In this context, four task letters were issued by the MoD.
MI performs its own security checks, as well as security checks in relation to the MoD. In 2019, 2405 security clearance applications were received. The security vetting process was finalized in 1867 cases and proposed to the National Security Authority. In 12 cases, an issuance of a decision under the Act no. 215/2004 was proposed. The vetting process was terminated in accordance with the legislation in 135 cases. MI also carried out 91 security inspections of the first class in regard to the security vetting for designated components of the MoD. In this context, 1 513 inspections in the environment were carried out, more than 32 000 requests were processed and 2 115 written statements were sent to the National Security Authority. Within the competence of the MoD, more than 2 800 NATO and EU certificates were issued and tests of security staff were performed in 250 cases. Expert standpoints were prepared on 32 contracts on the entrepreneur’s access to classified information and on 75 amendments to the contracts. During the performance of security checks of entrepreneurs (carried out by the National Security Authority), MI provided 310 written statements. Methodical and preventive-educational activities in the area of protection of classified information were carried out for 400 persons.
In the area of assessing the minimum level of the achieved security standard of physical and premises security, a total of 31 standpoints on security documentation were prepared in 2019. In this regard, a total of 5 inspections was performed in 2019 within the inspection activities. Based on the needs of the MoD, the total number of protected areas increased in 2019. In the area of professional and methodical management and preventive activities, MI carried out tasks in 2019 mainly in the form of individual consultations, methodological standpoints, lectures, professional meetings and as a professional guarantor in project teams, working groups and technical councils. In 2019, cooperation with the National Security Authority in the implementation of selected projects also deepened.
In accordance with the priorities of infrastructure development (White book on defence of SVK 2016) and the decision of the Minister of Defence of SVK, in 2019, MI began to provide physical protection offices in order to reduce possible security risks.
During the assessed period, MI participated in the activities of the National Security and Analytical Centre and various interdepartmental expert bodies and groups as a part of inter-ministerial cooperation.
In the framework of bilateral and multilateral cooperation, MI carried out a total of 54 activities in SVK and abroad.
- 1) Arms of class “D” under the Act no. 190/2003 of the Collection of Laws on fire arms and ammunition and on the change and supplementation of certain acts.
- 2) Act no. 198/1994 of the Collection of Laws on the Military intelligence and Act no. 215/2004 of the Collection of Laws on the protection of classified information and on the change and supplementation of certain acts as amended and its implementing regulations.