by John Hatzadony

The Croatian intelligence community under Franjo Tudjman had a large and varied organization and structure. At least 11 security and intelligence services are known to have operated during the Tudjman era. Most analysts tend to see these agencies as successors to the Tito-era political police. The term 'Croatian Intelligence Service' has been used as a catchall phrase by observers to refer to any service that has appeared in the media. Indeed such a service exists. However, it is remiss to accuse the same organization of all wrongdoing when in fact a number of smaller agencies, which often have overlapping areas of competency, have operated with very little transparency and covert political interference.

Intelligence and national security agencies exist in the civilian and military communities for criminal, internal security and counter-intelligence as well as foreign and military intelligence. Oversight is provided by the Office of the President, the Ministries of Interior and Defence, and the Croatian Sabor. The following analysis provides an overview of the various intelligence agencies, both civilian and military, intelligence community tasking structures, and security service oversight agencies.1 The overviews that follow will provide a brief reference to the reader for the remainder of the work presented. Where available, internal organizational structures of the relevant agencies will be provided. Finally, at the end of the chapter is an overall view of the entire intelligence community in the Republic of Croatia as during December 1999.

Part One: Civilian Intelligence Collection and Collectors

Ministry of the Interior (MUP - Ministarstvo Unutarnijh Poslova)

The Ministry of the Interior is responsible for all aspects of public safety within the Republic of Croatia including those aspects that relate to national security. The MUP is controlled by its Minister and Deputy Minister who are appointed by the President. The ministry's mission is carried out through the Service for the Protection of the Constitutional Order, Police, Criminal Police, and Special Police. These units are run from the central administration in Zagreb, 20 nationwide police administrative regions, 195 police stations, and 113 police substations. In support, the Ministry also maintains the Common Service Division which is responsible for personnel management, material and financial affairs, technical services, information technology and a host of others.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MIP - Ministarstvo Inostrane Poslova)

As a traditional role of foreign affairs and diplomacy, it should not be surprising that the Croatian Foreign Ministry should maintain its own inherent intelligence capability. Particularly important to the diplomatic function of the Ministry is independent foreign affairs analysis and communications security. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs maintains two such security-intelligence related Divisions within its organization. Political analysis is handled by Division IV which is under the direction of an Assistant Minister. Division VII was responsible for internal security and secure communications with outlying Croat embassies and within the ministry also directed by an Assistant Minister. In addition, the MIP is also known to maintain a separate service, the OBS, for more direct action and involvement, no doubt to be translated as covert.

The National Security Office (UNS - Ured Za Nacionalnu Sigurnost): With such rapid growth of the Croatian intelligence community, coordination was undoubtedly a problem. In March 1993 the National Security Office was set up as a coordinating body for all Croatian intelligence. Little information is available on the UNS from the period of its establishment until its reorganization in 1995. In that year a new National Security Office Act was passed by the Croatian parliament reorganizing the Office (see Appendix 1). According to the new law, the UNS was defined as an executive body within the government to coordinate, direct and control the various services of the intelligence community as well as other branches of government with briefs in national security affairs.5 Under Article 2 of the Act, the activities of the UNS are defined as: coordinating assignments among ministries with a national security brief; designated to control and direct tasking of all intelligence and counterintelligence services; integrate, analyze, and evaluate intelligence for the production of reports for the President and the Government. The reorganized UNS was formed with four major offices:

The UNS is administered by its Director who is appointed and relieved by the president. Under The National Security Office Act, the UNS Director is responsible directly to the President for the operations of the UNS as a whole. The Deputy Director of the UNS is also appointed by the President, according to the Act, albeit in accordance with input from the Director. In addition, Service head appointments are also proposed by the director and require presidential approval thus giving the President an unprecedented role in intelligence supervision and control as compared to other branches of the intelligence community. Funding of the UNS is provided in Article 15, however, as with all other agencies with tasking in national security affairs, the actual budget is classified. Lastly, the UNS maintains major field offices in key Croatian regional centers, including: Zagreb, Varzdin, Bjelovar, Sisak, Karlovac, Osijek, Gospic, Pula, Rijeka, and Split.

Part Two: Military Intelligence Collection and Collectors

The role of the military in the independence of Croatia cannot be underestimated. The immediate breakout of war between Croatia and the FRY ensured a major role for Croatian Ministry of Defense (MORH - Ministarstvo Odbrane Republike Hrvatske) intelligence units. This gave the MORH an extremely influential role in the development of policy in foreign affairs as well as in the conduct and operations of the intelligence community.

The Defense Ministry is organized along conventional lines with departments for defense policy, intelligence and security affairs, economics, finance and budget, public relations and information, personnel, and communications. The 1995 defense budget was approximately 10.1 Billion kuna ($1.9 Billion), 8.7 Billion kuna ($1.6 Billion) in 1996, 6.99 Billion kuna ($1.11 Billion) in 1997, and 7.5 Billion kuna ($1.16 Billion) in 1998.

The Armed Forces

The Croatian Armed Forces (OSRH - Oruzane Snage Republike Hrvatske) are organized into six regions of the armed forces (ZP OS - Zborna Podrucja). The ZP OS functions as a regional administrative and operational command for the Croat Army units in their zone of responsibility and include active and reserve units. The six ZP OS regional commands and their headquarters include: I - Karlovac, II - Dakovo, III - Knin, IV - Ston, V - Pazin, and VI - Varazdin.

Part Three: Intelligence Coordination and Tasking

Intelligence coordination and tasking was organized through the President and the Director - UNS. While the reorganized UNS was set up as the head agency to oversee intelligence operations and analysis in Croatia its link within the governmental structure was organized through two main committees: the Joint National Security Committee and the Intelligence Community Coordination Committee.

Through these committees, Croatian intelligence received yearly tasking orders. In response, the individual agencies would then draw up a plan for the year as to how the service would fulfill the tasks assigned through KOOZ. As these were reviewed, the planning reports would then be confirmed by the Joint National Security Committee. According to the former head of the HIS, Miroslav Tudjman, between 1993 and 1998, the main areas of operation for the intelligence community were the protection of the Republic of Croatia, as well as liberated and occupied territories, regional security issues, including resolution of the crisis in Bosnia-Herzegovina, international terrorism and organized crime, and counter-intelligence. 16

Part Four: Intelligence Community Oversight

Like other government agencies, the agencies of the Croatian intelligence community are subject to the laws of nation, the policies of the president, and their own internal directives. To ensure compliance with these laws and policies, the intelligence agencies are subjected to oversight by elements within their own organizations as well as by external oversight mechanisms in the executive and legislative branches of the government.

Thus from 1990, before the declaration of independence, through 1999, the Croatian intelligence community had evolved into some 12 different intelligence agencies within two ministries and independent agencies. Milivojevic estimated that in 1994 the SZUP alone accounted for 4000-5000 personnel including staff with dual functions in the Interior Ministry. Overall funding of the community is unknown but assumed to be large. No publications of the intelligence budget are allowed and only rough estimates can be made about how much funding the Croatian military puts toward intelligence from its budget.


1. Note that this information is as the intelligence community existed through the last year of the reign of Franjo Tudjman.

2. Of interest here is the early relationship between Croatia and Germany. Not only was the government of Helmut Kohl the first to recognize the Republic of Croatia, it seems intelligence cooperation was provided early on as the Croatian SZUP borrowed the name of the German domestic security-intelligence service, the BfV.

3. See Milivojevic, "Croatia's Intelligence Services." Jane's Intelligence Review, 6 (September 1994); 404.

4. See, Milivojevic, "Croatia's Intelligence Services."

5. In response to numerous calls for more openness within the Tudjman regime, the UNS soon appeared with its own web site ( explaining its role in relationship to the Croatian intelligence community as a whole. Also available at the site were a number of official press releases as well as diagrams of its administrative structure. Upon the death of Tudjman in December 1999 and parliamentary elections in January 2000, the UNS web site was shut down for "reconstruction." As of this writing no further information has been provided by the UNS since early 2000.

6. See, "What do the Croatian Intelligence and Security Services Do and How?" The Messenger. November 16, 1997. English translation provided at the UNS web-site February 2000 [].

7. Miroslav Tudjman, "The First Five Years of the Croatian Intelligence Service: 1993-1998," National Security and the Future 1 (Summer 2000): 57-58.

8. See, "The Croatian 007's in School Benches," The Free Dalmatia. October 27, 1997. English language translation provided at the UNS web-site February 2000 [].

9. Milivojevic, "Croatia's Intelligence Services."

10. Balkan Media and Policy Monitor. Online Edition. October 1997. [].

11. Miroslav Tudjman, "The First Five Years of the Croatian Intelligence Service: 1993-1998," National Security and the Future 1 (Summer 2000): 55-57.

12. The Croatian Navy and Croatian Air Force also retain intelligence divisions for tactical missions but each of these branches of the military has less than 2000 personnel thus limiting their roles within the armed forces.

13. Mauro Finati and Paolo Rollino, "Wings over the Balkans." Air International, Vol.56, No.3 (March 1999); 181.

14. The MiG-21 was formerly the mainstay of the Yugoslav Air Force. Early examples were acquired from defecting Croatian pilots who brought their aircraft with them. After the war, the inventory was increased with the purchase of a number of aircraft from the German government that acquired them via East Germany after unification.

15. Quoted in Miroslav Tudjman, "The First Five Years of the Croatian Intelligence Service: 1993-1998," National Security and the Future 1 (Summer 2000): 55.

16. Ibid., 57.

17. Ibid.