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Chief-of staff: Czech military needs new unit to help allies

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Prague, Dec 19 (CTK) – The Czech military will have to form a new battalion to help the allied units operating in the Czech territory, Chief-of-Staff Josef Becvar said in an interview with CTK on Tuesday.

Moreover, the military command system and management must be restructured to be able to fulfil tasks both in foreign missions and in the Czech Republic, including support for the integrated rescue system and the police, he said.

The number of professional soldiers is to rise by several thousand in the following years and the military must find a suitable placement for them, he told CTK.

“We must strengthen the Host Nation Support capabilities, which means to build a unit of a battalion-size designated for admitting and helping the coalition units that would operate in our territory and provide support for them during their transfer across the Czech Republic or training there,” Becvar said, adding that the allies from the neighbouring countries have similar units.

Next year, the regular assessment of the Concept of the Building of the Military of the the Czech Republic that was adopted at the end of 2015 should start. The results are to be available in 2019 and the concept should be modified in line with them a year later, Becvar said.

The modified document must include the overall rise in the number of professional soldiers by 5000 from 24,000 and keep the number of 5000 active reserve members, he added.

The concept must also preserve the necessity to replace and upgrade the outdated military equipment and fulfil the commitments ensuing from the continuing EU and NATO membership, he added.

New soldiers must be placed somewhere, but the armed forces have no vacant capacities now, Becvar said.

This is why, he is convinced that a new battalion will soon start serving in Rakovnik, central Bohemia, and a new unit may be sent to the Hradiste military training grounds, north Bohemia, while further soldiers must be placed in the existing military facilities, Becvar said.

The Czech military admits about 2000 new professional soldiers, while fewer than 1000 people leave it annually.

Due to the low unemployment rate in the Czech Republic, the military may be short of new recruits in the future.

The military can prevent this by being a trustworthy employer, which it has proven for years, Becvar said.

He added that the military was trying to make the garrisons in which there was not so high interest more attractive and remove shortcomings there.

The military activities in Doupov, north Bohemia, are to be gradually expanded. Some training activities from Vyskov, south Moravia, where the Military Academy is situated, will be moved there, for instance, a basic preparatory course for newcomers. The number of tasks in Vyskov will keep rising in connection with the need to increase the number of soldiers, Becvar added.

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