Croatia Report



Croatia has made significant institutional reforms that underscore the country’s commitment to pursuing a WGA on the national level. For example, significant changes were made to how multiple governmental organisations operate, and a new state infrastructure was formed to respond to crises. This infrastructure, which is provided with sufficient human resources, is made up of the homeland security system (HSS), the National Security Council (NSC), and the body known as the Coordination of the Homeland Security System (CHSS).
The HSS aims to “provide an integral methodology and systematic monitoring of the risks for national security and establishment of the priorities in procedures” as well as to provide “coordinated preparation and implementation of regulations that will determine the measures and procedures of the security protection of importance for national security, particularly the protection of critical infrastructures” (Republic of Croatia 2017: 14). The HSS consists of: central bodies responsible for defence activities, domestic and foreign affairs, civil protection, finances, the administration of justice, security and intelligence; public and private companies (especially those involved in the private-protection sector); civil society organisations; other central bodies of the state administration that are crucial for defence or protection-and-rescue operations (e.g. the Croatian Firefighting Association, the Croatian Red Cross or the Croatian Mountaineering Association); and skilled private individuals who can help the HSS with tasks related to risk management or in crisis situations that could potentially impact national security. When the issue involves homeland security, governments at the local and regional levels can also be engaged.
The National Security Council (NSC) is the central body of the HSS. The National Security Strategy (ibid.: 14–15) notes that the NSC has several tasks. First, it takes into consideration “the risks and issues from the scope of work of the government bodies related to national security.” Second, it enacts “guidelines, decisions and conclusions on the manners of protection and realisation of the national interests and strategic goals.” And, third, it is also supposed to “regularly review reports on the state of risks and threats to national security and other strategic and planning documents and give recommendations to competent governmental bodies for the purpose of harmonisation [of] the development of capabilities and operation.”
Lastly, the Coordination of the Homeland Security System (CHSS) was formed to coordinate the operation of the HSS; to see that the decisions, conclusions and guidelines of the NSC are implemented; and to “launch and coordinate development of the National Security Strategy or update the existing strategic documents” (ibid.: 14). To list some of its tasks in more detail, the CHSS is responsible for: supervising security threats and risk reports created by other government bodies as well as coordinating the creation of national security risk assessments; supervising the application of strategic and planning documents that have an influence on the HSS as well as giving recommendations to the relevant government bodies about capabilities development; supervising crisis-response capabilities and coordinating the development of relevant plans among various homeland security bodies; organising and participating in crisis-response exercises planned at the national government level; and providing recommendations to pertinent governmental bodies on how to align the riskresponse procedures of Croatia with those of other organisations, such as NATO and the EU. Lastly, pursuant to Article 13 of the Act on National Security System, the CHSS must keep Croatia’s president, prime minister and speaker of the parliament informed about the results of its meetings in addition to submitting an annual report on the system’s activities. Although this has not yet happened in practice, the CHSS is authorised to recommend that the government declare an emergency and establish a crisis-management headquarters.
This CHSS is comprised of: the deputy prime minister of Croatia, who is in charge of national security, as a president of the CHSS; the president’s national security adviser; several federal ministers (including those from the ministries of Defence, Foreign and European Affairs, Finance, the Interior, Justice, Health, Croatian Veterans’ Affairs, and Sea, Transport and Infrastructure; the head of the General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces; the general director of the police; the general director of the firefighters; the general director of the Office of the National Security Council; the general director of the Security-Intelligence Agency; and the general director of the National Information Security Authority.
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