In U.S., Kazakh Defence Minister Discusses Transition to Professional Army

Министры обороныKazakhstan Minister of Defence Adilbek Dzhaksybekov met U.S. Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel on Nov. 14 at the Pentagon to discuss military cooperation between the two countries, focusing particularly on the U.S. assistance for Astana’s efforts to build a completely professional army over the next few years.

“The United States is a strategic partner for Kazakhstan. Regular meetings between the leaders of Kazakhstan and the United States, as well as a common understanding of the issues of strengthening peace and stability greatly contribute to the deepening of relations between our two countries. One of the important aspects of cooperation is cooperation in the military sphere,” Dzhaksybekov said.

Currently, military cooperation between Kazakhstan and the U.S. is based on a five-year cooperation plan for 2013-2017, which was signed in Washington in November 2012. Kazakhstan-U.S. military cooperation is developing in such areas as peacekeeping and military education.

At a bilateral meeting, the parties discussed issues of stability and security in Afghanistan and Central Asia. The Kazakhstan defence minister noted that Kazakhstan actively participates and supports international efforts to stabilise the situation in Afghanistan.

“At the initiative of President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan provides economic and humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan. Our defence ministry is also involved in implementing the policy of Kazakhstan to help Afghanistan. We support other countries in the region to improve their defence capacity and security in order to counter possible threats,” Dzhaksybekov added.

In turn, Hagel noted Kazakhstan’s important contribution to stabilising the situation in Afghanistan. He also expressed America’s interest in continuing cooperation with the Armed Forces of Kazakhstan in training, joint exercises, as well as interaction in the military-industrial complex.

According to the Defence Ministry of Kazakhstan, upon the instruction of President Nazarbayev who also is the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of Kazakhstan, the ministry is at the final stage of transition to a professional basis to create a balanced composition and structure of the army, which will be adapted to modern threats and will have a high level of combat training.

“The U.S. armed forces have a good experience in the professionalisation of the army, and in this regard we need to exchange our experience in conducting human resources policy, the method of recruitment, study of the features of budget planning and social services. Any transformations depend on human resources potential and training of Kazakhstan military personnel in U.S. educational institutions is important for us. We are interested in collaboration of American and Kazakhstan military schools and are willing to cooperate in the field of military science,” Dzhaksybekov said.

The defence ministers also discussed military-technical cooperation, in particular, the development of relations in the military-industrial complex.

The Minister of Defence of Kazakhstan invited representatives of the U.S. Department of Defence and U.S. military-industrial companies to take part in the international exhibition KADEX 2014 in Astana.

The Kazakhstan delegation also met representatives of the leading companies of the military-industrial complex, such as General Atomics, Boeing Defence, OshKosh, Lockheed Martin, Sikorsky and others. Dzhaksybekov held a number of bilateral meetings with them discussing issues of mutual cooperation.

On the same day, Dzhaksybekov participated in a roundtable hosted by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies(CSIS). Participants of the event discussed possible potential developments in Afghanistan and the region after the withdrawal of coalition forces.