The country has been a member of NATO since 1999. The Czech Republic and Poland (2008) are involved in a defense issue for the whole of NATO concerning the deployment of a robotic defense against missiles from mainly the Middle East with a radar facility located in the Czech Republic and the robot part in Poland. To see related acronyms about this country, please check ABBREVIATIONFINDER where you can see that EZS stands for Czech Republic.
Since 2005, the defense has been based on volunteerism with the aim of being complete by 2010-12. It is organized in an army of 16,000 men with a rapid response force (brigade) and a mechanized brigade, and an air force of 6,000 men with 50 fighter aircraft, of which 12 are JAS 39D Gripen, and 38 attack helicopters etc. Half-military border and security forces amount to 3,000 MAN. The material is semi-modern of Soviet and own production and increasingly of Western origin.
Defense costs in 1985–2006 decreased from 4.7% (in the then Czechoslovakia) to 2.3% of GDP. The Czech Republic participates in a number of UN peacekeeping efforts. Afghanistan (NATO-ISAF), Serbia (KFOR) and Iraq (MNF) and with observers in five countries. The United States and the United Kingdom have advisors located in the Czech Republic.
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Czech defense overview
The Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999, and in 2005 the country introduced a professional army. The total force is 23,200 active personnel, including 3,650 personnel in the Presidential Guard and the Military Police (2018, IISS). The Czech Republic has no navy.
Army has a personnel strength of 12 250. Heavier material comprises 30 tanks of a T-72, 227 armored vehicles, and 21 armored personnel.
The aircraft’s personnel strength was 5850. Materials included 35 fighter aircraft (14 Gripen and 21 L-159 ALCA), 30 transport aircraft, nine L-39 Albatros type training aircraft (can also be used as light attack aircraft), and 52 helicopters, of which 17 were combat helicopters (seven Mi-24 and ten Mi-35).
In 2018, the Czech Republic participated in NATO operations in Afghanistan (Operation Resolute Support) with 281 personnel, and in Serbia (KFOR) with ten personnel. The Czech Republic had also deployed 60 personnel in Latvia (Enhanced Forward Presence).
The Czech Republic also participated in UN operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) with one personnel and one observer, in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) with three observers, and in Serbia (UNMIK) with two observers.
In addition, in the EU operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina (EUFOR) with two personnel and in Mali (EUTM) with 41 personnel.
A new social system
With its old industrial traditions, its favorable position in relation to Western Europe and its democratic traditions from the interwar period, the Czech Republic had a better starting point than many other former communist countries to cope with the transition from state capitalism to private capitalism and from communist dictatorship to democratic multi-party system. Economist Václav Klau s was Czechoslovakia’s finance minister from December 1989 after the fall of the Communist government, and he was strongly influenced by the American economist Milton Friedman and the so-called Chicago school. He became the independent Czech prime minister and led the transition to a market economy through price liberalization, privatization, opening of foreign capital (Volkswagen went strong into Škoda, among others) and convertible currency. But Klaus’ policy was not just about removing regulations. In many areas, practical policy was different from economic liberalism. This included both long-term government control over major banks, and a pragmatic attitude to the extent of the state social security network.
Up to 1993, gross domestic product showed negative growth or zero growth. In 1994, a marked increase (almost 3%) began, and in 1995 the Czech Republic joined the OECD as the first of the former communist countries. In 1997, however, growth was reduced to 1%, the Czech krone was devalued and financial tightening measures were introduced. With the Czech Republic’s negotiations for EU membership from 1997, the economy was on a stronger track, and after the turn of the century economic growth has been steady, with inflation under control and unemployment roughly on average for the EU. With EU membership, VAT was increased and the social budget tightened somewhat.
The Czech Republic was among the three former communist countries that were invited to NATO enlargement in July 1997 and became a NATO member in 1999. The country has been one of the countries that wants the United States to play the leading role in NATO, and President Havel provided full support in 2003 to the US strategy to disarm Iraq.
In 1997, the Czech Republic started negotiations on membership in the EU, and in 2002 the country was invited as a member. A referendum on membership was held in 2003. As in the other eastern European candidate countries, there was great tension in the turnout. It ended up at 55%. The population of the Czech Republic was considered the biggest doubt among the candidate countries, but the yes majority was as much as 77.3%. The Czech Republic joined the EU on 1 May 2004.
A particular problem has been related to relations with Germany, especially in connection with the expulsion of the large German population (Sudetis) in the present Czech Republic after the Second World War. After nearly two years of negotiations, Germany and the Czech Republic in 1997 adopted a joint declaration in which Germany regretted Nazi Germany’s assault on Czechoslovakia, and in which the Czech Republic regretted the injustice committed against many Sudanese post-war.