Lieutenant General Gabor Borondi, who has been nominated as the next Commander of the Hungarian Armed Forces, is the right person to upgrade the military’s capabilities from a tactical to an operational level, the defence minister said on Tuesday.
Speaking to the media after Borondi’s hearing before parliament’s defence and law enforcement committee, Kristof Szalay-Bobrovniczky said both he and the government were expecting a protracted war in Ukraine. The Hungarian government is in favour of a ceasefire and peace, but the country, in a military sense, must be prepared for a protracted conflict on Europe’s eastern border, he added.
The Hungarian Armed Forces must be prepared for this, the minister said, adding that in line with the principle of “having the right people in the right place at the right time”, he had proposed that Borondi lead the military from the tactical to the operational level.
The Hungarian Armed Forces, as a member of NATO, must put its new equipment into service, develop new combat procedures as well as a new organisational culture on its way to reaching a new state of combat readiness, Szalay-Bobrovniczky said.
The minister thanked Romulusz Ruszin-Szendi, who last week was relieved of his duties as Commander of the Hungarian Armed Forces, for his work, saying he had put the military “on a new path” over the last two years.
Meanwhile, he underlined Borondi’s “outstanding” military career, noting he had served as deputy army commander and most recently had represented Hungary in NATO. This, he said, meant that Borondi had the deepest and most up-to-date knowledge of and relations with the defence alliance. Szalay-Bobrovniczky also underlined the importance of Hungary’s role given its geographical position and ongoing military upgrade in NATO’s “biggest ever adaptation process”.
Borondi aims to build ‘capable, committed’ Armed Forces
Lieutenant General Gabor Borondi said at his hearing before parliament’s defence and law enforcement committee that his main aim would be the “mental renewal” of the Armed Forces, as well as setting up a capable, committed force that is “operational within NATO too.”
Such an undertaking could only work in a team, “it is impossible without the support and commitment of the soldiers and lower-ranking officials,” he said.
If appointed, Borondi said he would set out to create an “Armed Forces able to live up to its tasks in a domestic and NATO environment.”
Hungary and Ukraine’s other neighbours are in a “pre-war state”, which should influence the training of its Armed Forces, he said.
Hungary’s national army is a well-prepared and well-trained and equipped member of NATO, and the next step is to create a force that is able to exert significant impact on an operational and strategic level, Borondi said.
Voluntary reservists will play an important role in protecting regional strategic points, and cutting off the enemy’s logistic lines, he said. The task requires a flexible approach employing “a flexible unit of local patriots who are protecting their own localities,” he said.
Combat training and strategic reconnaissance are key areas, Borondi said. At the same time, nuclear deterrence must be re-introduced into military education, he said.
Logistics must be developed so it can cater for fighting units, he said.
Borondi said he saw missions as a key terrain for assessing the progress in the training of troops.
Elod Novak of the opposition Mi Hazank (Our Homeland) party slammed Hungarian participation in foreign missions as “taking part in American occupation” and said the money spent there should be ploughed into attractive wages for soldiers at home.
He also noted that while the aim is to increase the number of troops, the forces have recently relieved of their duties a large number of servicemen as part of a “rejuvenation programme”. “This was the first staff increase that started with mass layoffs,” he said, suggesting that Commander-in-Chief Romulusz Ruszin-Szendi had been relieved of his duties for similar reasons.
In response to Novak’s question, Defence Minister Kritof Szalay-Bobrovniczky, who was also present, said that Ruszin-Szendi had been relieved of his duties “due to the Armed Forces proceeding from tactical to operational mode”.
The committee supported Borondi’s appointment with 8 votes in favour and one abstention.