Spanish Secretary of State for Defense Ángel Olivares this afternoon presented the accounts of his Department as included in the General State Budgets for 2019 to the Defense Committee of the Congress of Deputies.
During his speech, Olivares highlighted the importance of the investment programs intended to "recover essential capacities" that have been lost during the [financial] crisis and the boost that can be given to social policies to improve the quality of life with this budget.
As detailed by the Department’s head of economic policy, the consolidated budget of the Ministry of Defense for 2019 amounts to 9,973 million euros, including the budgets of the State and autonomous agencies, but excluding future budget extensions for Peacekeeping Operations.
Olivares compared this figure with the 9,823 million euros that would result from including the CNI in the consolidated 2018 budget; it represents an increase of 150 million euros, equivalent to an increase of 1.53% over the previous year.
The Secretary of State highlighted as a novelty the increase in the budget of operations outside the national territory during 2019 compared to previous years. The extension of operations abroad approved by the Council of Ministers last December set the total amount used to finance these operations at 1,176 million euros, which represents an increase of 76 million euros over 2018, or 6.9 percent.
This increase in the budget, in the opinion of Olivares, brings "certainty to the economic availability, and allows a more efficient planning and greater transparency".
"It is better than the previous one," he acknowledged, but "it is not enough to mitigate the reduction in Defense spending during the years of the economic crisis, which has led to the deterioration of many capacities essential for defense."
Olivares wanted to "also put in value the recently acquired commitments to give continuity to the Special Modernization Programs (authorized by the Council of Ministers), after the breakdown of the economic crisis, in order to obtain new operational capabilities and improve the currently existing. "
The Secretary of State placed special emphasis on the chapter on investments, and highlighted the approval of six major modernization programs, "unprecedented in the history of these programs, and which has required an extraordinary management effort as to fit perfectly into the margin of the current budget of the Ministry of Defense."
He recalled that these programs "have no negative effects on the development of other spending policies; it will not negatively affect the established public deficit objectives, nor will it affect the commitments derived from the stability and growth pact of the European Union. "
Olivares explained to the deputies that these budgets will allow them to achieve the objectives of the defense policy. In this sense, he has highlighted as challenges the following objectives:
• Promote social policies, improve the quality of life of the personnel of the armed forces and develop the Culture of Defense.
• Maintain our influence in the international arena and at national level, taking an active part in International Organizations, developing cooperation activities through Defense diplomacy and collaborating with other organizations, following the principle of unity of action of the State.
• Improvement in management, promoting measures aimed at training staff and improving management tools for the Ministry's resources, seeking to increase efficiencies.
• Promotion of innovation in the development of equipment in collaboration with companies and research centers, some of them within the framework of European defense research programs, thus supporting the industrial and technological resources of our companies as well as their size, and their commercial national and international expansion.
• Implementation of environmental sustainability and energy efficiency based on the principle of "sustainable development compatible with the missions of the armed forces,” and training the Emergency Unit to intervene in technological catastrophes.
• Development of the policy of information and communication systems and technologies of the Ministry of Defense and information security in the framework of the digital transformation process of the Ministry of Defense.
Finally, the Secretary of State affirmed that "considering that Defense is, and should be, a State Policy, it would be desirable to achieve a State commitment that would allow the Defense to have the budgetary predictability it requires", through an agreement on a scenario of sustained economic growth.
This would facilitate more rational and effective planning, ensuring the sustainability of the defense model and the achievement of the objectives of the Armed Forces and National Defense, at the level required by a nation with Spain’s economic capabilities and international projection.