Credit: Freepik

Czech Defence Ministry Staffing Levels Cut By 50% Since 1999 NATO Entry

The Czech Defence Ministry has shrunk to less than half of its military and civilian staff since the Czech Republic joined NATO, with the figure falling from 77,700 at the beginning of 1999 to just over 36,000 25 years later, according to data provided by the ministry to CTK and published on its website.

Back in 1993, the Defence Ministry had nearly 132,000 career and basic service soldiers and civilian employees. Their numbers have steadily declined in the following years, to about 77,700 at the time of NATO accession and less than 40,000 in 2004, when mandatory military service was abolished. The figure gradually dropped to about 28,350 by the beginning of 2015.

Since then, the number of soldiers and civilian employees at the ministry has started to increase again due to the deteriorating security situation and the rising budget. At the beginning of this year, there were again over 36,000 of them, of which 27,826 were career soldiers.

Women make up 13.7% of the career soldiers.

According to previous statements by Defence Minister Jana Cernochova (ODS), the ministry wants to focus on recruiting new soldiers and active reserves in the future, assisted partly by the virtual recruitment centre launched last September. In less than six months, the ministry has recorded some 6,700 applicants, but this number does not correspond to the number of people who have successfully completed the recruitment process.

In addition to career soldiers and active reserves, since last year Czechs have had the option to participate in the country’s defence on a voluntary basis. Those who apply for this only have to undergo a medical examination, but would undergo training if the security situation worsens.

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