LJUBLJANA: Slovenia became the only NATO country whose army is headed by a woman with the appointment of Major General Alenka Ermenc as chief of staff.
President Borut Pahor, the country´s commander-in-chief, welcomed Ermenc´s appointment and said he expected her to start improving the army´s current poor state, blamed largely on underfunding.
“Major General Ermenc´s appointment was proposed based on her experience as a commander of Slovenian army units, for her contribution for establishing a professional army force and her civil and military education,” the government said in a statement.
A Slovenian army brigade earlier this year failed NATO´s combat readiness test being assessed as “not combat ready”. The note was improved after additional training and new tests were carried out.
Currently serving as the army´s deputy-chief of staff, Ermenc, 55, will officially take over the job on Wednesday.
She will replace outgoing Major General Alan Geder, who has been in post since February.
Ermenc, a mother of three, graduated from the Royal College of Defence Studies in London and went on to complete a Master´s degree in International Studies at London´s King´s College University.
She started her military career as a member of the Territorial Forces that played a key role in winning Slovenia´s independence from Yugoslavia in 1991.