Statement by Olesya Favorska, the Head of the Reforms Project Office of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine

Statement by Olesya Favorska, the Head of the Reforms Project Office of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine 

As the head of the Reforms Project Office of MOD, I have to inform about events, that have recently occurred to the Office. The intent of the statement is to provide factual description and to refrain from giving any evaluations to the events.

I have to state that the work of the Office is blocked at the moment. 

▪ On March 16th 2020 PRO was ordered under decision of MoD State Secretary to relocate from its premises to another facility. This complicates communication and interaction with stakeholders of the reform projects, led by RPO

▪ The following step was closure of the Unit of civilian experts of Center for service support of MOD and GS of AFU. Most of experts within the unit are RPO members, who worked on implementing defence procurement reform and reform of food supply

▪ On March 26th all the passes of RPO’s members were blocked for access to the premises of MOD main compound (Povitroflotskyi avenue No. 6), thus completely blocking RPO work on defence reform projects, including participation in the meetings, working-level consultations, receiving documents and correspondence, etc.

As of March 30th, RPO had not received any official information on the reasons for the denial of access or explanations from the officials who made such decision.

RPO has addressed the Minister of Defence with an official letter seeking for reasons behind preventing RPO from performing its functional responsibilities as the Minister’s of Defence advisory body, as RPO is designated under MOD Order No. 295 from 20.07.2018

We also see the need to address the Minister publicly, since we are seized of other means of communication.  RPO has been founded as a consultancy and advisory body to the Minister, it is under his authority to determine RPO’s further role in the course of Defence reform. 

The questions which we address, while lacking access to direct communication to the Minister of Defence, are:

1. Is described course of actions planned for dismissal of RPO and curbing its projects of defence reform?  

2. Is described course of action in line with the Minister’s policy decision or it is an initiative of other officials of his administration? (as it is not the first attempt to disband RPO since 2015) 

3. If there is no decision to disband RPO, what are the reasons behind restricting access to the MOD for the RPO’s members and Unit employees? 

4. What are the reasons to disband the Unit of civilian experts?

5. Does MOD leadership intend to continue cooperation with RPO’s team and what are the ways to proceed under the current restrictions? 

6. Does the Ministry intend to continue support and implement the reforms initiated by the Reform Project Office and conducted by MOD?

We strongly believe that such issues should be discussed in open conversations with the reform team, and not to be addressed by hinted messages, restriction of access and disbanding of the structural units that supports our reform activities. 

Continuation of defence reform is upheld by the national legislation, Ukraine – NATO Annual National Programme and many other documents. It requires a thorough approach and discussion. It is impossible to close MOD from reforms.  Stopping or taking steps backwards to implement vital reforms may cause severe consequences for the Armed Forces, losing the support of our partners and allies, and contains risks for Euro-Atlantic integration.
Answers provided to questions above will allow to understand whether the defence reform of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine will continue.

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Reform project office of the Ministry of Defence was established in 2015. 
Main projects of the Reform Project Office up to date:
• Public Procurement reform (Prozzoro implementation)
• Establishment of the Center for Development of Materiel Supply and Quality Control (now - Main Department of Development and Support of Materiel supply of AFS)
• Development of a professional NCO Corps of the Armed Forces of Ukraine
• Reform of the food supply system
• Implementation of the program and project management in the defence planning system
• Reform of the military medical system
• Reform of the defence procurement system: drafting laws on "specifics of providing goods, works and services, to guarantee the needs of defence ", "defence procurement", etc.
• launching a procurement system through NATO structures
• creation of a system of state quality assurance
• methodological support for the transformation of the C2 system 
• reform of the Professional Military Education
• implementation of NATO standards, etc