Romania Table of Contents
After five years of sustained military budget increases in the early 1980s, the Ceausescu regime reduced military expenditures by 4.8 percent in the 1986 state budget. At his instruction, the GNA passed an additional 5 percent cut in military spending and the size of the armed forces. It also adopted a change in the 1965 Constitution to hold a national referendum to confirm or to reject this reduction. Young Romanians aged fourteen to eighteen, who were likely to favor any cut that might decrease their chances of induction into military service, were allowed to vote on the referendum. On November 23, 1986, in balloting typical of that during Ceausescu's rule, a reported 99.9 percent of all eligible citizens turned out and voted unanimously in favor of the 5 percent reduction. This electoral ploy may have enabled Ceausescu to overcome more easily the apparent opposition to the plan among the professional military.
Implementing the decision made in the November referendum, Romania cut its 1987 military expenditures by US$156 million to US$1.171 billion, an actual reduction of more than 11 percent. Active units discharged 10,000 soldiers and mothballed 250 tanks and armored vehicles, 150 artillery pieces, and 25 aircraft. Deteriorating economic conditions and a chronic labor shortage in the mid-1980s probably necessitated the cut in military spending and the force reductions that accompanied it. Nevertheless, a genuine commitment to disarmament--and its attendant potential for enhancing Romania's security--and desire to demonstrate this commitment cannot be entirely discounted as a factor behind the unilateral reductions.
Data as of July 1989