New recruitment drive and equipment modernisation imminent
The recent changes in legislation and the increase in funding for the Czech Armed Forces will boost the recruitment of soldiers to around two thousand for this year. The changes will also set in motion the procurement process of replacing outmoded equipment with new, consequently creating a stronger and more capable Active Reserve force.
The military budget has been increased by four billion Czech Crowns for 2016, and the new legislation also guarantees its continued growth over the next two years. The Ministry of Defence can now begin its work on Concept 2025 and the Long-term Outlook for 2030 in order to reach the planned military expenditure rate of 1.4% of the Czech Republic's GDP by 2020.
In five years, the Czech Armed Forces should comprise of approximately 27 thousand professional soldiers and five thousand active reservists.
"I consider recruitment a main priority for 2016," explained Minister of Defence Martin Stropnicky. Currently, the occupancy rate at some military units averages at only 60%. It is therefore vitally important that government and legislative bodies reverse this trend to ensure that the military is perceived as an excellent employer able to compete successfully in today's labour market.
By Nuala Casey and Oldrich Holecek
January 25, 2016