Current Defence Policy and Modernisation Goals of the Croatian Armed Forces
The internal and external security environment of Croatia has changed gradually since the declaration of independence in 1991. In the beginning, as in a post-war country, hard security played a vital role in the security policy documents, as reflected in the National Security Strategy (NSS) of 2002. With the accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) in 2009 and to the European Union (EU) in 2013, multilateral cooperation and collective defence had been prioritised and the new NSS from 2017 was designed to mirror this approach. The changed security environment spurred a reformed approach to defence matters and resulted in increased participation in international peace operations under EU, NATO and UN auspices. Furthermore, as a NATO member, Croatia needs to be ready to answer challenges threatening the collective security of the organisation, such as cyber threats ranging from fake news and foreign electoral intervention to cyberattacks. The first part of this analysis shows what path Croatia has taken after the declaration of independence, which is followed by introducing the current goals of Croatian security policy. Finally, international peace operations, defence spending trends and the capability development priorities of the Croatian Armed Forces are discussed.