After the disintegration of the communist system in Eastern Europe the former communist countries had to make an unprecedented transition to a “normal” society. Having been diverted from their natural path of development, with limited private property and political rights, these countries had to once again begin following the European path of development. Transforming the defense sectors in these societies was a crucial challenge. Yet there were complications in the sphere of defense transformation because of the overlapping of three transitions. The first was the shift from armies established as support for the communist regime to professional military organizations subject to civilian control.
The second was the transition from mass conventional armies that were established to fight in World War III, which was never waged, to militaries that were relatively limited in their number of troops, the main purpose of which is to participate in a broad spectrum of operations beyond national boundaries. The third transition was that from a reliance on large quantities of Soviet equipment — most of it relatively cheap and easy to produce and maintain—to advanced, high-quality (and expensive) Western equipment. These transitions took place in a context of economic crises (of different magnitude) caused by the clash between planned economies and free market realities, when there were still groups in society that were not willing to give up the communist system easily.