Forces: February 16, 2002


Czech Defense Minister Jaroslav Tvrdik plans to rebuild the military into a smaller all-volunteer force by 2006. Active duty military officers oppose this plan (feeling that the current structure and conscription should be maintained) and hope that a new defense minister (after the Summer 2003 elections) will scrap the plan. The Czech military was given a "poor" rating by NATO in terms of making the required military reforms and equipping its military with NATO standard and compatible equipment. The biggest problem is that the Army has not received enough funding. The L-159 fighter program has consumed most of the Czech weapons procurement budget, and the military wants to cancel half of the 72 aircraft they have ordered.--Stephen V Cole


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