Army lacks funds and reserves, warns expert Costoval | iRADIO

Joining NATO 25 years ago is considered essential by experts to ensure the country's security. However, over the years, the Czech Republic has not delivered as much security as it promised. According to former Deputy Defense Minister Daniel Costoval, politicians perceived all the threats at a distance: “Today, the government says it is necessary to have a bigger and better army, defense spending is composed of at least two percent of the GDP. These are the hard facts that show that the feeling has changed.



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Military personnel of the Czech Republic | Photo: Honza Ptáček | Source: Czech Radio

Two percent of GDP expenditure is accordingly Security Specialist It is a historically tested minimum cost that ensures defensive capability and an army capable of stopping the enemy or at least preventing him from gaining territory.

Listen to John Bamba's interview Plus. The guest speaker is security expert and former Deputy Secretary of Defense Daniel Costoval

He points out that during the Cold War, NATO countries spent at least three percent of their GDP on defense, while the U.S. averaged double that.

The difference between our commitments and actual defense spending over the last 20 years is approximately 800 billion crowns. In a few years, therefore, more should be published.

“We must overcome this debt in the next five to seven years, because at this time Russia may pose a real threat to NATO countries,” he emphasizes. Security Specialist.

Sweden as an inspiration

At the strategic level, however, he points out that the threat of interstate conflict requires a different military than the one prepared to fight international terrorism. Costoval acknowledges the goal of 30,000 professional players by 2030, but there must be at least 40,000 reservists, four times more than planned.

In addition, an organization should be created for another 50 to 100 thousand reservists of the age and condition required for a modern army. “These are usually people who go to work and sometimes exercise, but they are well prepared in advance,” he explains.

“We have significantly reduced logistics, fewer fighter jets and absolutely less air defense.”


Daniel Costoval

As an example, he cites Sweden, which abolished basic military service several years ago but reintroduced it in a different form in 2018. “It has a selective and strong incentive structure. Almost 30,000 people from a country of 10,000 apply for 7,000 places, so they can choose. There is no reason to fear that there will not be enough willing people in the Czech Republic,” says the expert.

Underfunded forces

Koštoval recalled that after 2005 there was a deep lull and NATO countries unfortunately ignored warnings such as the Russian aggression against Georgia in 2008 or Crimea in 2014 and continued to keep their defense budgets low. Almost everything from solar panel subsidies to social spending got priority.

The production capacities of the defense sector were adjusted to fit the lower budgets, so that the increase in demand would take at least two years. The experience of the conflict in Ukraine shows that the Czech Republic needs at least 48 howitzers instead of the 40 howitzers or 14 Gripens that it has today.


Fighter planes flew over Prague. They thus commemorated the Czech Republic's quarter century in the North Atlantic Alliance

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“We have significantly reduced logistics, mainly because non-combat units have been cut. That's one of the main things. We have fewer fighters than we should have, and minimal air defense that can cover cities and large groups of troops,” he sums up, adding that European states are preparing for a military confrontation with Russia. Not quite ready.

Arms orders are often accompanied by suspicions of corruption and over-pricing. However, Koštoval points out that the comparison is often complicated not by the purchase of the equipment itself, but by the service and training of the players.

“It has its price and it's not good to shout it out to the world, because you're telling the occupier exactly what it is. It creates a certain mystique, and many people think it may have been paid too much,” he says, adding that in the past the control was sometimes excessive and the military Significantly reduced the purchase of equipment.

Listen to the full interview on Interview Plus.

John Bamba, Erd

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