General Josef Becvar assumes the post of Chief of the General Staff of the ACR

Autor: Nuala Casey, Oldrich Holecek

Lieutenant General Josef Becvar was appointed the new Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic by President Milos Zeman at Prague Castle on 4th May.

Ceremony at the Vitkov National Memorial, Prague

The changeover ceremony began at the historical site of the Vitkov National Memorial in Prague in front of representatives from a selection of military units and the Honour Guard of the Garrison Command of Prague.

In his address to the Generals, senior military representatives, units and guests, Minister of Defence Martin Stropnicky expressed his gratitude to the outgoing Chief, General Petr Pavel, for his achievements in commanding the military for the last four years. “The strategy and scope of his many decisions went above and beyond the call of normal everyday duty, and have resulted in many positive and beneficial achievements. The present Czech Armed Forces is a reflection of the superior level of knowledge, will and ability of the General Staff management, embodied by a highly effective method of command and decision-making,” said Minister Stropnicky.

Minister Stropnicky presented the combat flag of the Czech General Staff to its new Chief, Lieutenant General Josef Becvar. “It is a great honour for me to hoist the combat flag and assume the command of the Czech Armed Forces, particularly on the eve of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. It is both a professional and personal challenge for me,” said General Becvar.

At the end of the ceremony, General Pavel and Lieutenant General Becvar signed the hand-over protocols.

Ceremony at Prague Castle, the seat of the President of the Czech Republic

Later that day, the President of the Czech Republic and the supreme commander of the Czech Armed Forces, Milos Zeman, officially appointed Lieutenant General Josef Becvar as the new Chief of the General Staff of the ACR.

President Zeman praised General Pavel for his highly professional work and dedication, and wished him every success in his new position as Chairman of the NATO Military Committee.

“I believe that under your command the Czech army will continue to combat terrorism and adhere to and strengthen practices that have been established in Afghanistan, Mali, the Sinai and a number of other deployments,” said President Zeman to Lieutenant General Josef Becvar, and added: “I also believe that you will continue to build up the presence of Czech soldiers in the Golan Heights, as well as successfully employing our field hospital to help refugees in Jordan and elsewhere.”

General Becvar, replied "I consider too that two of my highest priorities are to finalise the process of a military build-up and to increase personnel levels."

The ceremony at Prague Castle was also attended by Minister of Defence Martin Stropnicky, along with and the most senior commanders of the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic.

May 6, 2015