Slovakia is a small country located in Central Europe and is known for its strong military and defense. The Slovak Armed Forces (SAF) is the military branch of the country and consists of three branches: Army, Air Force, and Special Forces. The total active personnel stands at around 20,500 with an additional reserve force of around 7,000 personnel. Slovakia has a higher defense budget compared to its GDP as it spends about 2% of its GDP on defense. The country also imports weapons from countries such as the United States, Germany, and Russia. Slovakia also has strong ties with other countries in the region such as Poland and Hungary which allows them to cooperate militarily when needed. As a result of this strong military presence in the region, Slovakia has become an important regional hub for security and stability in Central Europe. See naturegnosis to learn more about the country of Slovakia.
The defense, which is based on general military duty in 2004 with an initial service of six months, comprises 22,000 men and is organized into two brigades, 70 fighter aircraft and 19 attack helicopters. The reserves amount to 22,000 men and form a national guard. The material is semi-modern and of Soviet and own origin. The armor industry in Slovakia was one of the largest in the Warsaw Pact.
Slovakia applied for membership in NATO in 1997 and became a member in 2004. A mountain hunters’ association is earmarked for NATO purposes as a special association. Defense costs have fallen from 4.7% of GDP in 1985 in the then Czechoslovakia to 2.0% in 2001. Slovakia participates in a number of UN peacekeeping efforts, including with about 100 men in Serbia and Montenegro (KFOR) and in addition with 40 men in Afghanistan and 75 men in Iraq. To see related acronyms about this country, please check ABBREVIATIONFINDER where you can see that SVK stands for Slovakia.
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Slovakia’s defense overview
Slovakia joined NATO from 2004. The country has military service with 6 months of initial service. Slovakia has a total workforce of 15,850 active personnel (2018, IISS). The country has no navy.
The army’s personnel force is 6250 active personnel. For heavier materials army has 30 tanks of type T-72, 249 armored vehicles, and 101 armored personnel carriers.
The Air Force has a workforce of 3950 active personnel. Of material has air force twelve fighters of a MiG-29, ten transport aircraft, 12 training aircraft and 22 helicopters.
Slovakia participated in the NATO operation in Afghanistan (Operation Resolute Support) in 2018 with 36 personnel, and had 150 personnel deployed in Latvia (Enhanced Forward Presence).
Slovakia also participated in the UN operation in Cyprus (UNFICYP) with 242 personnel, and in the EU operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina (EUFOR) with 41 personnel.
Slovakia – A young Slavic republic
An independent state for a few years, and even less a member of the European Union, Slovakia is experiencing new and stimulating situations: the country has been able to quickly overcome the difficulties of the early days of independence, and collaborative relationships with neighbors and with the rest of Europe have strengthened its balance
Wooded mountains, flowery countryside
Mountainous and hilly for about three quarters, landlocked, Slovakia does not have great peaks, except in the Carpathians (Mount Gerlach, 2,655 m), of which it includes some parts – Beskids, High and Low Tatras – to the north. To the south prevail hills and plains furrowed by rivers (Morava, Váh, Tibisco) that flow into the Danube ; this crosses the capital of Bratislava (427,000 residents) and marks a stretch of the border with Hungary.
The continental climate favors the presence of dense forests in the mountains and intense crops (wheat, barley, corn) in the valleys and plains.
86% of the population is Slovak, with a large Hungarian minority, and lives largely in the countryside and in small towns: agriculture (cereals, industrial plants) and cattle breeding are very popular. Beyond the capital, the few cities – only Košice, to the east, has a considerable size – host industrial plants (mechanical, chemical, textile) which partly process local resources (coal, metals).
Living conditions are good and are improving, especially after joining the European Union.
A recent independence
Slovakia became a sovereign and independent state in 1993. Its territory, inhabited since ancient times, was occupied by Celtic, Germanic and then Slavic populations, and included in various political formations. In the 9th century, when it was Christianized according to the Byzantine rite, it was part of the Great Moravian Empire. Between the 9th and 11th centuries it then passed under the sovereignty of Hungary, of which it shared the fate – integrating into the Habsburg Empire starting from the 18th century – until the end of the First World War (1914-18).
In 1918 Slovakia, together with Bohemia and Moravia, became part of the newly formed republic of Czechoslovakia. Between the two world wars the country was involved in the deep tensions that swept Central Europe in the face of the threat of Nazi Germany. After the Munich agreements (1938) and on the eve of the German invasion of Bohemia and Moravia (1939) it gave itself a fictitious independence under the pro-Nazi government of Josef Tiso, but remained in fact subject to Hitlerite Germany for the entire course of World War II (1939-45). In 1945, after the liberation, Slovakia was included in the reborn Czechoslovakia, which in 1948 became a communist country, fully integrated into the bloc of countries under the leadership of the Soviet Union. In this context, it managed to obtain a growing autonomy.
However, tensions with the Czech component of the population remained profound, and re-emerged with the fall of the communist regime in 1989-90. Thus came in 1993, in a peaceful way and following a popular referendum, the dissolution of Czechoslovakia and the formation, on its ashes, of the Czech Republic and the Republic of Slovakia. The latter thus obtained independence, but in a context of strong economic backwardness. Like other countries of the former socialist bloc, Slovakia joined the European Union in 2004.