Michael D. Barbero, a retired United States general who has served in the U.S. military for decades in senior leadership positions, spoke in an interview with Klix.ba news portal about the future of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) in NATO.
As an experienced general who has served in various NATO missions, Barbero told Klix.ba that he also saw the importance of NATO membership as an ex-NATO commander in Iraq.
Answering in the question of how does he look at the potential of the IT industry in BiH, Mr. Barbero answers that he believes that BiH’s IT sector has tremendous potential for several reasons.
“First, there is a young population that is very well-educated in IT, smart systems integration and information science. So, there is a great source of smart and innovative human capital. Second, the entrepreneurial spirit is thriving in Bosnia, I see it in the goal-oriented and problem-solving team that we have at our company. And, third, it is much less expensive to develop IT solutions that are based in Bosnia which gives Bosnia-based IT companies a tremendous competitive advantage over European and American competitors,” Mr.Barbero answers.
He adds that, while a low price is crucial, the quality of service is equally important and that he believes that in the future, the IT sector in Bosnia must deliver the gold standard quality of service and not just be the cheaper IT option.
“This is one of the reasons I partnered with BS Telecom, because it is a company that was able to create a first-classs, market-leading product and we are positioned to greatly expand our market. Our company is partnered with many of the major American IT companies because we deliver both cost and quality, and this is a winning combination for Bosnia IT industry in the future,” Mr.Barbero further explains.
He continued by saying that he is very positive about the potential that he sees in Bosnia in the IT and other business sectors and that he hopes the government recognizes and supports the development of the IT sector, so it serves as an engine for the overall growth of the economy in Bosnia.
He further continued by explaining to what extent does he consider the security segment important for the development of the IT sector but of the economy as a whole. Mr. Barbero answered that security is very important for the development of the economy as a whole and for the development of the IT sector. Also, the IT sector is critical to securing networks, finances and data for all types of organizations in the private and public sector.
“Today and in the future, every organization must consider cyber and insider threats. The cyber threat from external sources is real and you must constantly evolve your defenses and continuously “red-team” your own systems to protect your organization and its networks. And insider threat, from a trusted individual who has access to your networks, technologies and data, is a critical threat to every organization. In today’s world if an organization does not have systems in place to detect, counter and remediate the effects of cyber and insider threats, then it is just a matter of time before there is a successful attack with crippling results,” Mr. Barbero explains.
He continued by saying that security in the context of investment in Bosnia, it is a question of the risk to the investor and how Bosnia can mitigate these risks in order to attract foreign investment.
“A strong rule of law that prevents corruption and at the same time protects foreign investments is essential. There must be real and enforceable legal mechanisms in place to reduce risk to investors. Bosnia, and the region, have made great progress to improve the environment for foreign investment and to attract foreign investment. In fact, we have created an American-registered company named BS Smart Solutions, in order to bring our Bosnia-based IT product to the American market. So, while there is still much work that has to be done to reassure investors, our American partnership is an example that progress is being made,” Mr.Barbero explained.
Mr. Barbero answers on the question that BiH is a potential candidate for NATO membership, and what future will the country have in NATO.
“As the former commander of the NATO Command in Iraq, I have seen the benefit of this alliance first-hand. So, I am a huge supporter of NATO. I believe that it is in the interest of America, Western Europe and NATO to do everything possible to integrate this region — the Balkans —into Western institutions. So, NATO should find ways to work with Bosnia and the other nations in this region to prepare these countries for NATO membership. And we — NATO and the United States — should be very active in helping Bosnia resolve its internal issues so that it can continue down the path to NATO membership. In the end, NATO membership will certainly provide enhanced security which will make Bosnia more attractive to investors,” Mr.Barbero concludes.