Given that for the first time in 25 years a new law on the Intelligence Agency is under parliamentary procedure, that should be passed before the process of full-fledged NATO membership is completed, the Intelligence Agency shares with the public the most important benefits of it.
The new law is the result of months work by a team of the Agency, in consultation with the academic community, the Ministry of Justice, partner services of NATO and EU member states and specialized bodies of the Alliance.
The need for the new law was imposed due to the newly emerging changes in the security environment of the state, both regionally and globally, which requires urgent, efficient and timely response on the ground. The new law defines the Agency as an external intelligence service that collects, processes, analyzes, exchanges, stores and protects data and information on asymmetric, hybrid and cyber-threats from abroad.
This makes a clear distinction between competencies of the Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency, which has not been specified so far.
The new AR law encompasses reforms to the country's security system that officially began with the adoption of the Law for Operational-Technical Agency (OTA) in April 2018, the Law for National Security Agency (ANB), in May 2019, and the Law for coordination of the security intelligence community, in May 2019.
The law improves and strengthens professional standards: departisation the Agency, improves the management of the Agency, introduces a deputy director, regulates and specifies the way in which tasks are performed and the use and control of methods and means of work and provides better protection to the classified information gathered by the Agency and received by partner agencies, and soon by NATO as its member state.
It also contains an important social aspect for employees: it regulates employees' rights and obligations, i.e. equates them with colleagues from the relevant security services, in terms of retirement conditions and salaries, according to the specifics of intelligence work.
It will at the same time enable new staffing and reinforcement with a new profile needed of young educated staff, who should build their career and future in our country.
It is particularly important that the new AR law implements NATO's remarks and recommendations, as well as the partner services of NATO and EU member states. It defines the Agency's role and enables its appropriate regional and international positioning, thereby enhancing its interoperability and making it an equal partner of the NATO and EU member services.
Given the specific timeframe of the pre - election period that unexpectedly limited the work of Parliament, we hope that lawmakers will recognize the importance of the current momentum and will adopt the NATO accession protocol with a comprehensive security and intelligence reform.