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New acquisition body may help Czech military, chief-of-staff says

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Prague, June 20 (CTK) – The Czech military could have its own acquisition office that would help the overburdened armament section of the Defence Ministry, Chief-of-Staff Josef Becvar said at the Zofin Forum on defence and security affairs today.

He told CTK that he would welcome it if the acquisition office started operating at the end of the year or at the beginning of next year.

The upgrading of the military equipment requires more effort, employees and space in order to cope with the huge number of projects, Becvar said. He rejected the view that the setting up of a new office was necessary due to the incapability of the armament section.

The Defence Ministry has been repeatedly criticised for slow action in signing contracts on arms purchases.

Deputy Defence Minister Tomas Kuchta said today the armament section did not have enough experienced employees. He said it was hard to hire a young lawyer with a good command of foreign languages and enthusiasm for military projects who would be ready to work for the rather low salary that the ministry can pay.

The Czech military must sign several major modernisation projects soon, but the step has been postponed. The critics of the postponements put the blame on the armament section, which has changed its director three times since early 2014 when current Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky was appointed.

Czech Defence and Security Industry Association (DSIA) head Jiri Hynek told journalists that the country’s defence budget has been insufficient for a long time and the military needs to complete a great number of contracts. Hynek said this is one of the reasons why the military is unable to spend all the money it has for acquisitions.


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