The United States Office of Defense Cooperation (ODC) in Montenegro prides itself as being able to offer a full spectrum of opportunities through the full package approach concept, all the while supporting the United States focus of being the leader of Strategic Competition. ODC Montenegro has also made some significant Security Cooperation achievements with one of NATO’s newest members. For example, through the FMF program and the Countering Russian Influence Fund (CRIF), Montenegro has been able to add two full time cyber consultants to their Ministry of Defense for 20 months, working on cyber security and policy improvements. Another $8 million of funds was also provided for Cyber software and hardware upgrades. Recently, ODC Montenegro added a new permanent Foreign Military Finance (FMF) / Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Program Manager to their team, increasing their overall office size; further demonstrating the United States commitment and dedication to its Partner and the NATO strategic mission.
Professional Military Education and Training is also at the forefront of the ODC mission. Formal U.S. Government Security Assistance programs to the Montenegrin Armed Forces began in 2008. Montenegro continuously utilizes the International Military Education and Training (IMET) program for officer and a non-commissioned officer (NCO) education, and Basic Officer Leader Course (BOLC) and Captain’s Career Course (CCC) graduates are historically in commanding positions in their respective platoons and companies, using the skills they learned while in training in the United States. Further, the Military Academy program is strong with two current midshipmen at the United States Naval Academy, two current active duty graduates, an active duty graduate from West Point, and a cadet shortly starting his education there.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the ODC Office utilized the OHDACA program in providing critical diagnosis and monitoring equipment to one of the world’s hardest hit countries. Through U.S. European Command (EUCOM), the program donated medical equipment to bolster capabilities in many regional and local hospitals, with over $156,000 to date. An additional $355,000 donation of equipment approved by EUCOM is planned for upcoming delivery to hospitals and laboratories throughout Montenegro. Montenegro also received 20 ventilator devices from U.S. contributed stock at NATO. One of the greatest partnerships the Montenegrin Armed Forces has is with their State Partnership Program and the Maine National Guard, which has enhanced the bilateral relationship since 2006. Despite COVID restrictions, mil-to-mil training and relationship building has continued virtually. With a Maine Air National Guard Bilateral affairs Officer (BAO) in the ODC, the Maine National Guard has reinvigorated planning for in-person events later this year and next year.
Through the FMS Program, the ODC office coordinated the purchase of Oshkosh Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTV) and equipment worth approximately $36.1 million, with the first 20 having arrived the Fall of 2020. The largest ever FMS sale to Montenegro and the first European fielding of the vehicle; this was a landmark case and greatly increases Montenegro’s future interoperability potential with U.S. and NATO forces as other regional partners take on the vehicles. The first batch of five Oshkosh Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTVs) ordered by Montenegrin Armed Forces has arrived in Montenegro. Montenegro, which joined NATO in 2017, is not the first member nation to to express interest in the JLTV program. The arrival was announced by Predrag BoÅ¡koviÄ‡, the Minister of Defence of Montenegro. Montenegro is to acquire JLTVs in basic configuration, eight in anti-tank configuration, and the remaining four in medical and command configurations.