Responsibilities of the Ministry of Defence
Pursuant to the Regulation 236 “By-Laws of the Ministry of Defence” approved by the Cabinet of Ministers on 29 April 2003, Ministry of Defence is the first-level executive government body responsible for defence and led by the defence minister.
Latvia’s core national defence tasks include forecasting and prevention of military threats, safeguarding of national independence, territorial integrity and population safety across Latvia.
The Ministry of Defence is responsible for the coordination and implementation of the national defence policy, planning of defence spending and activities, military command and education of defence forces. Defence minister is the civilian official overseeing the National Armed Forces and other units reporting to the Ministry.
When faced with national level threats, National Armed Forces together with allied forces ensure the integrity and defence of Latvia’s land, sea and air space. Together with civilian government institutions, National Armed Forces are responsible for host nation support of allied troops deployed in Latvia.
One of the fundamental elements of Latvia’s national defence strategy is integration into collective defence framework of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), which aims to protect its member states against all types of military threats. Ministry of Defence, other government departments, National Armed Forces coordinate their efforts aimed at strengthening NATO’s organisational capacity and efficiency, as well as representation of Latvia in key decision-making processes. Ministry of Defence and National Armed Forces directly contribute to development of NATO capabilities, international missions and other security build-up initiatives. National Armed Forces are fully integrated into Alliance’s combat forces and units.
National Armed Forces assist civilian institutions in mitigating various threats and minimising and management of potential consequences. Support provided by National Armed Forces contributes to cost efficiency of government interventions and better preparedness across National Armed Forces.
Ministry of Defence is led by minister of defence – a civilian official politically accountable to the Saeima (Parliament) and the Prime Minister.
State Secretary of the Defence Ministry is a member of civil service who oversees the administrative work of the Ministry of Defence and ensures the continuity of its programmes upon the change of the political leadership of the Ministry.
Organisational structure of the Ministry is based on departments and permanent sections.
Structural reform of the defence sector was completed on 1 January 2010. Structural reforms were aimed at streamlining resources and units of the National Armed Forces and the Ministry of Defence and narrowing of some of their functions.
Ministry of Defence took over some of the functions of the NAF Headquarters and units by adding defence staff to the personnel of the Ministry, turning it from a civilian institution into civilian-military institution. Centralisation of functions and staff, allowed Ministry to generate savings in areas like human resource management (integration of defence staff did not increase the size of Ministry’s staff) and achieve more efficient and expedient decision-making.