The President of the Republic of Croatia and Commander in Chief of the Croatian Armed Forces Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović attended the opening of the military exercise “Velebit 18 – Joint Force” at the barracks “Josip Jović” in Udbina and visited the national exercise Command Centre and expedition camp of the Command Support Centre.
“Velebit 18 – Joint Force” – a comprehensive, joint, interservice exercise of all units of the Croatian Armed Forces – began today at the barracks “Josip Jović”. The exercise will last continuously for 72 hours and will be conducted at 11 locations throughout Croatia.
President Grabar-Kitarović voiced hope that the exercise will provide a clear picture of the Croatian Armed Forces’ capabilities and shed light on those areas where further improvements are needed. It is the task of the Croatian Army, which was established during the Homeland War, to preserve this heritage and to build on it with new know-how and abilities, said the Croatian President. She commended the military exercise as an example of “preparedness and determination in reviewing the abilities of active and reserve personnel”.
The President praised an increase in the national defence budget to the “appropriate level” and assessed that this is important in view of Croatia respecting its international commitments, as a member of the international community and NATO, but also because this guarantees the security and stability of the country.
Speaking about the Black Hawk helicopters that were presented yesterday, President Grabar-Kitarović said that they are “not a handout of the United States and US Congress to Croatia, but clear acknowledgment that the allies have recognized us as a responsible member of NATO that is providing more than an appropriate contribution to joint efforts in facing global challenges and security threats, such as terrorism”.
The Croatian President underlined that the donation of Black Hawk helicopters marks the beginning of the modernization of Croatia’s aviation, which is among the priority projects. A cycle of investments in human potential, living conditions in the barracks and personal training is also underway.