Major General Alenka Ermenc.—Reuters
Major General Alenka Ermenc.—Reuters

Ljubljana: Slovenia’s government on Tuesday appointed a female officer as the head of the army, a first for the small country which is a member of Nato and the European Union.

Maj. Gen. Alenka Erm­e­­nc, 55, will formally take up her post as the Chief of the General Staff of the Slove­n­ian Armed Forces at a ceremony on Wednesday, when she will also become the only woman to currently hold the top army post among the Nato countries.

The British-educated Ermenc replaces Maj. Gen. Alan Geder after serving as his deputy. Geder took over Slovenia’s military earlier this year after his predecessor was sacked over poor results in a Nato test.

Slovenian President Borut Pahor hopes Ermenc’s appoint­­­ment will help improve the performance of Slovenia’s military.

“The global trend of a deteriorating security situation continues and even though Slovenia is not dire­ctly threatened military-wise, it must improve its mi­­litary safety relatively qui­ckly,” Pahor said in a statement released by his office.

An Alpine nation of some two million people, Slovenia has about 7,500 soldiers, including both active and reserve troops.

Ermenc was promoted to the rank of major general last week. She has participated in the Nato-led KFOR peacekeeping mission in Kosovo and holds of several army awards.

At the Nato headquarters in Brussels, a Nato official said the alliance “has long recognised the importance of women in the armed forces.”

“For Nato, equal participation contributes to more resilient societies, more effective forces, and lasting peace,” said the official.

Published in Dawn, November 28th, 2018

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