Law on National Security. What will it change in Ukraine?

Author : Iryna Sampan

Source : 112 Ukraine

The presidential bill No. 8068 on national security was adopted as a basis in Parliament. This document defines the movement of Ukraine towards the European Union and NATO. The text, among other things, provides for the development of the state, even in the context of a military conflict, and in certain provisions even actions in a state of martial law. analyzed what is vital for the development of the army and the entire power bloc in the new document
23:36, 10 April 2018

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112 Agency

The war in the east of Ukraine and the occupation of part of its territory, which began in 2014, forced the leadership of the state to reform the defense sector. And without an updated legislative framework, this is impossible. It is very logical and quite natural that the law on national security, written during a real war and with the help of foreign advisers, will differ from the laws on the same security and defense of the country in the early 2000s (although the old laws were simply rewritten from even more old 90's). Verkhovna Rada has not yet adopted the new law "On National Security" Verkhovna Rada has not yet adopted, but the media have already published the full text of the document. Its final clauses state that after the adoption of this law, three already existing ones lose their validity: the Law on the Fundamentals of National Security of Ukraine of 2003, the Law on Democratic Civilian Control over the Military Organization and Law Enforcement Bodies of the State of 2003 and the Law on Organization of defense planning of 2005.

In order to understand why to adopt a new law, if there are already three old ones, we compared these documents. And now it becomes clear what in the new document is vital for the development of the army and the entire power bloc.

What is fundamentally new in the Law on National Security?

The text, among other things, provides for the development of the state even in the context of a military conflict, and in certain provisions even actions in a state of martial law. The authors (the document will be presented by the president) tried to prescribe who will be subordinated to whom, who will answer for what, and who will be responsible for what.

The next curiosity for Ukraine and its defense budget is capacity-based planning. The most effective use of available funds and a reasonable hierarchy of priorities: "What do we spend today money on - what amount we spend in the next period - how much is left - how can we use the balance correctly". In such a way they think and plan in NATO, and foreign advisers teach Ukraine. "When you go to a store with your child and he wants three coats at a time - red, green and blue, and the red coat is warmer, but the child wants green, and you only have money for one coat. You cannot buy all the coats at the same time, but you can buy the best - red. You need to learn how to "squeeze juice from a lemon", use the resources for the intended purpose," told in an interview the senior defense adviser Stephen Silverstein.

Well, one of the most important provisions of the new law is a certain annual amount of financing the security and defense sector. It should be at least 5% of the planned GDP, of which at least 3% should go exclusively to the defense forces. The number of expenditures for the defense industrial complex should not be less than 0.5%.

National interests optimized

Comparing the new document with the bill "About the Fundamentals of National Security of Ukraine" in 2003, it is clear that the list of national interests has now been reduced. For example, in the old version, there was even a paragraph "development of spirituality, moral foundations, intellectual potential of the Ukrainian people, strengthening the physical health of the nation, creating conditions for expanded reproduction of the population, preserving and strengthening the institution of the family." Or one of the priority national interests in Ukraine was "... guaranteeing the free development, use and protection of Russian, other languages of national minorities of Ukraine" (this is to the question of infringement of someone's languages).

These concepts are so subjective for every Ukrainian that authorities have decided to unite them into three global spheres of national interests in the new law:

- state sovereignty and territorial integrity;

- development of the economy, civil society, growth of the level and quality of life of the population;

- integration into the EU and membership in NATO (more correctly, the movement in this direction).

Security and defense forces

These are Ministry of Defense, National Security Service, Ministry of Internal Affairs, National Guard, National Police, State Border Service, State Migration Service, State Service for Emergency Situations, Security Service, State Security Administration, State Service of Special Communication and Information Protection, State Special Transport Service, NSDC Staff, intelligence agencies, central executive authority for military-industrial policy, other bodies.

The coolest, of course, is the post of president, because he is the supreme commander-in-chief, directs all the security and defense forces: declares war and introduces martial law / emergency, decides on general or partial mobilization, issues orders, directives on defense issues, security and appoints and dismisses the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council and his deputies, appoints / dismisses the High Command of the Armed Forces (following the recommendations of the Commander-in-Chief) and many other common affairs.

Last September, Petro Poroshenko put into effect the decision of the National Security and Defense Council "On the Supreme Commander's Headquarters." The HQ is an emergency organ of the highest military command or the place from which the supreme commander-in-chief is leading the country during the war. It was established in 1941 during the Second World War; it was almost immediately led by Stalin and included well-known commanders and military commanders. Don’t be confused with the General or Operational Headquarters, this is different. But since the decree of Petro Poroshenko is "for official use" and "top secret", you can learn little about the headquarters.

Ministry of Defense

Nothing much will change here, at least in 2018. The Ministry, as before, must deal with the preparation of the state for defense, military and military-technical policy, defense planning, take care of the allocation of resources. However, we also repeatedly told in our articles that the Defense Minister will be a civilian (not a military) and his deputies too. Now it will be spelled out in the law.

"The Ukrainian Defense Minister is appointed to the post by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on the proposal of the President of Ukraine from among civilians. The First Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine and the Deputy Defense Ministers of Ukraine are appointed from among civilians," reads Article 15 of this document.

Therefore, the final provisions said that this law on national security comes into force on the next day of its publication, except Article 15 on the appointment of a civilian defense minister and his deputies, - these provisions come into force on January 1, 2019. That is, one more year the Minister of Defense of Ukraine will be a serviceman, and it is obvious that this is Stepan Poltorak.

Also in the bill, it was registered that a whole 16 article on the restructuring of the Armed Forces and the General Staff came into force on January 1, 2021. Today Victor Muzhenko is both the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces and the chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces. These posts should be divided - separately the commander-in-chief and separately there will be a chief of the General Staff.

The Commander-in-Chief will be the highest military official subordinate to the president and defense minister, he will be entrusted with all the full powers to lead the Armed Forces of Ukraine. He will be subordinate to the General Staff of the Supreme Armed Forces, the Joint Operational Headquarters of the Armed Forces, the command of the individual combat divisions, forces, other military command and control agencies that are not related to the types (separate forces) of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Actually, this will come into force in 2021.

It is also interesting how the actual Joint Operational Headquarters of the Armed Forces will operate. It will be headed by the commander of the united forces (appointed/dismissed by the president), he obeys the commander-in-chief. His responsibilities include planning the application and management of the combined forces, is responsible for acquiring capabilities in the field of management, communications and information processing, participating in the implementation of the policy of deployment of forces. "

The idea of using joint forces in operations is approved by the president.

In the Ministry of Internal Affairs, nothing has changed. The only thing to note is that in peacetime, the National Guard performs law enforcement functions, and in wartime, it is part of the defense forces and reports to the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces.

Democratic civilian control

The Ukrainians will be able to control their Armed Forces or other power structures through the public organizations which they are members of, through deputies of the representative bodies they choose, or through the media, forming a public request for information. That is, the democratic nature of control is automatically laid down in the right to choose those who will directly realize this control - the parliament and the president.

Then everything is simple. Civilian control is called so because it is exercised by civilians (not military) who are in office as president, in the parliament, in the NSDC, in the Cabinet and local government bodies, and in 2019 as defense minister.

Who is authorized to exercise control over the defense sector? These are the President, the Verkhovna Rada, the Cabinet of Ministers, other bodies of executive power and local self-government, courts and the public. To say briefly, the president controls the entire security and defense sector through the NSDC and the Council Secretary. The Verkhovna Rada adopts laws and, in particular, the defense budget, that is, regulates expenditures and their use. Also, the parliament can create temporary commissions to investigate or control issues of public interest. Control over the observance of human rights and freedoms in the defense sector is carried out by the authorized human rights institution of the Verkhovna Rada. The military ombudsman is not yet expected.

The Cabinet provides this control to all law enforcement agencies.

And a little about the media. Spoiler: nothing for media work will change. The law "On Democratic Civil Control over the Military Organization and Law Enforcement Agencies of the State" (2003) stated that "the media" contribute to enhancing the prestige of the service of defenders of the Motherland, strengthening public confidence in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, other components of the Military Organization of the State, law enforcement agencies." The new law does not provide this, because such orders can exist for any state body, but not for journalists!


Let us recall once again that a fundamental change should occur in the approaches to planning, taking into account changes in the security environment (within the country, on its borders and the situation with neighboring countries) and Ukraine's economic and financial capabilities. Long-term planning (more than 5 years, in the old law - for 12 years), according to the law, should be in the form of the following documents:

The National Security Strategy, the Strategy for Military Security, the Strategy for Public Security and Civil Protection (developed by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, concerns warnings for civilians and their prevention), the Defense Industry Development Strategy (represented by the Central Executive Authority, which provides the formation and implementation of the state military-industrial policy) and the National Intelligence Program (responsible coordinating body for intelligence matters).


Recently, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis called on the Verkhovna Rada to pass a law on national security as soon as possible, "it will provide a firm legal basis for defense reforms to support a secure and democratic Ukraine." Why does the Pentagon's head think of the Ukrainian law and the timing of its adoption? The answer is - Americans want to see where their money is going to and how Ukraine uses the US aids. This is possible only with the introduction of democratic civil and public control, as well as internal one. Is there any guarantee that the law will be able to reduce the level of corruption in the defense sector at least a little? No. This is a human factor, as people remain the same.

The law is designed to clearly delineate the powers of the law enforcement agencies and even the powers of each body within these departments. To avoid duplication of functions and incomprehensibility, who is responsible for what, who obeys whom. It is important.

And the last. Ukraine aspires to become a member of NATO; this is one of the priority national interests, that is, the adoption of the standards of the alliance in preparation, provision, and command. The laws must also be adapted accordingly. And not just the law "On National Security" itself, but many reasonably drafted security strategies and military doctrines, well, and their timely implementation.

Related: Inflation in Ukraine increases by 1,1%, - State Statistics Service

Related: Ukraine to pay pensions in Donbas through Red Cross

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