Czech Army


The Army of the Czech Republic, which was established on January 1, 1993 together with the establishment of the independent Czech Republic, directly follows the establishment of the Army of the newly formed independent Czechoslovakia on October 28, 1918. Therefore, the current official name Army of the Czech Republic.


  • On October 28, 1918, the "Czechoslovak Army" was established, which was the main part of the so-called Czechoslovak Armed Forces – this is how the armed forces were then called.
  • By the annexation of Bohemia and Moravia and Silesia by Nazi Germany the Czechoslovak Army ceased to exist for the period from March 15, 1939 to May 8, 1945.
  • The name "Czechoslovak Army" was used after World War II until 1954.
  • In 1954, the name was changed to "Czechoslovak People’s Army" (ČSLA).
  • After the Velvet Revolution in November 1989 and the restoration of freedom and independence, Act No. 74/1990 Coll. was promulgated on March 14, 1990 changing its name to "Czechoslovak Army" (ČSA).
  • Today, the name "Army of the Czech Republic" is valid from January 1, 1993.


Today’s Army of the Czech Republic is an expression of the sovereignty and independence of the Czech Republic. Therefore, the roots of today’s Army are related to the establishment of the independent Czechoslovakia on October 28, 1918 and the restoration of Czechoslovak independent statehood after World War II in May 1945.

Establishment of Czechoslovakia and the Czechoslovak Legions

Czechoslovakia fought for its independence on the battlefields of the First World War, a mere, albeit important, political action by T.G. Masaryk and E. Beneš would not be enough for the establishment of Czechoslovakia.

Since 1914, units of volunteer foreign military resistance have been formed from Czech and Slovak volunteers and compatriots, for which the name of the Czechoslovak Legions has taken hold. The army began to emerge in France and Russia and later, from 1917, also in Italy. In Russia, a unit called the "Czech Companions" were initially formed. In France, within the framework of the Foreign Legion, a separate company was formed from Czech and Slovak compatriots, for which the name "Nazdar Company" was adopted. It took part in the victorious battle of Arras on May 9, 1915, where it suffered heavy losses and was disbanded. At the end of 1917, real Czechoslovak Legions began to form in France - with the arrival of some legionnaires from Russia and the arrival of Czechs and Slovaks from captivity in Romania and Serbia.

June 30 is celebrated as the Day of the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic based on the decision of the President of the Republic since 2002. It commemorated the parade in the French city of Darney, during which two rifle regiments of Czechoslovak legionaries took an oath of allegiance to the future republic and the basis of an autonomous Czechoslovak army built in the spirit of the traditions of the Czechoslovak Legions was founded. The oath was attended by E. Beneš and French President R. Poincaré. The 21st and 22nd Rifle Regiment formed the Czechoslovak Rifle Brigade. This brigade arrived in Czechoslovakia in the spring of 1919.

The Czechoslovak legionaries in Russia returned home after passing through all of Russia during constant fighting with the Red Army as far as in Vladivostok, from where 36 ship transports were sent between July 1918 and February 1919.
In France, over 11,000 people joined the Legions. In Russia, over 60 thousand people. In Italy, 20,000 people were included in the Legions, and after the signing of the armistice in 1918, the units expanded to 60,000 people - first a division was formed and then even an army corps.

Restoration of statehood - 2nd resistance

As before  1918, during World War II, a "Czechoslovak" Army was formed abroad, which fought against the occupying Hitler’s Third Reich in the case of Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia, and the fascist regime of the Slovak State. The foreign 2nd resistance cooperated with the domestic resistance, but foreign action was decisive for the restoration of independence. Even the greatest success of the domestic resistance - the killing of Heydrich - was largely realized, thanks to specially trained soldiers sent from Great Britain by the London Czechoslovak Government in exile. (In this context, we recommend a part in the Czech Century series: Bullet for Heydrich and the French-British film The Man with the Iron Heart).

The foreign action was formed as soldiers and other people, as well as politicians, fled Czechoslovakia. There was an effort to participate in the fighting in Poland and France, where in the case of France, a number of Czechs and Slovaks succeeded, including pilots. An agreement was made with the French Government to form the 1st Czechoslovak Infantry Division in France; however, only the 1st Regiment (Regiment: Kratochvíl) and the 2nd Regiment (Regiment: Satoria) intervened in the fighting. The 5th Fighter Squadron had 18 Czechoslovak pilots, including Alois Vašátko and František Peřina. Due to the rapid advance of Hitler’s armies, large Czechoslovak units were gradually formed in Great Britain, the Soviet Union and the Middle East (under British command).

Ground and air units were formed in Great Britain.

Already in 1940, the 1st Czechoslovak Mixed Brigade was established. A number of soldiers were recruited from it to the 1st Czechoslovak Army Corps created in 1944 in the Soviet Union, including General Karel Klapálek. The Mixed Brigade later became the Czechoslovak Independent Armored Brigade, which came back to its homeland with the Allied armies after landing in Normandy - it entered Czechoslovak territory in Cheb.

Czechoslovak squadrons were created:

  • 310th Czechoslovak Fighter Squadron RAF - July 12, 1940
  • 311th Czechoslovak Bomber Squadron RAF - July 29, 1940
  • 312nd Czechoslovak Fighter Squadron RAF - September 5, 1940
  • 313rd Czechoslovak Fighter Squadron RAF - May 10, 1941

Czechoslovak pilots also fought in the ranks of other squadrons - for example, in the 1st RAF Fighter Squadron Karel Kuttelwascher or in the 122nd RAF Fighter Squadron, including Otto Smik and František Fajtl, who commanded the squadron in 1942.

The first Czechoslovak pilots in the ranks of the RAF landed with 54 Spitfires at Prague Airport on August 13, 1945. Bomber pilots a week later.

In the middle of 1940, the Czechoslovak Infantry Battalion 11 - East was formed in the Middle East, which was subject to the British High Command of the Middle East and administratively fell under the Czechoslovak Republic’s military mission for the Middle East and Egypt. Lieutenant Colonel Karel Klapálek became the commander. In 1941, the battalion took part in the defense of the North African port of Tobruk - hence the nickname "desert rats". The Czechoslovak unit was abolished in 1943 and its members sailed to Great Britain.

Ground troops in the Soviet Union began to emerge in 1942. In the Ural city of Buzuluk the 1st Czechoslovak Independent Field Battalion was formed. It was set to fight for Sokolovo in the spring of 1943. After the reorganization and as a result of losses suffered, the 1st Czechoslovak Independent Brigade gradually formed from May 1943. In March 1944, the brigade moved to Rovno, the center of Volhynian Bohemia, and recruitment began. In addition to compatriots from Volhynia and Subcarpathian Russia, Czechoslovaks imprisoned in the Soviet GULAG and released for service in the Czechoslovak combat unit were also admitted to the newly formed unit. The result of the recruitment and arrival of a number of Czechoslovak soldiers from Great Britain was the establishment of the 1st Czechoslovak Army Corps. It counted 2 infantry brigades, 2 paratroop brigades, 1 tank brigade and 5 artillery regiments; total 16.5 ths. persons. The corps entered Czechoslovak territory in Slovakia thanks to the Carpathian-Dukla operation at the end of the summer of 1944, in which it suffered heavy losses.

As for the air force, the 128th Czechoslovak Fighter Squadron was first created in the Soviet Union in May 1944 after the transfer of 21 Czechoslovak pilots from Great Britain, including František Fajtl. In June, after being completed, it was renamed the 1st Czechoslovak Fighter Air Regiment in the USSR. In the summer of 1944, the regiment intervened in the fighting to help the Slovak National Uprising by moving to the Slovak airport Zolná. After the retreat from Slovakia and the transfer of a number of Slovak pilots to the Soviet Union, other air regiments were created - the 2nd Czechoslovak Fighter Regiment and the 3rd Czechoslovak Attack Regiment. The merger of all three regiments created the 1st Czechoslovak Mixed Air Division. The division’s first aircraft landed at the airport in Kbely on May 14, 1945.

The Czechoslovaks in the ranks of the foreign military resistance primarily wanted to fight the enemy that destroyed Czechoslovakia. Everyone was looking for the shortest way to get into the fight. For the vast majority of them, it was not so important whether this happened in units in the West (Great Britain) or in the East (Soviet Union). This is well documented in the story of František Fajtl. The pilot and squadron commander in Great Britain decided to move to the Soviet Union to the newly formed air unit - the move took place in early 1944, when the opening of the second front in the West seemed far away. Finally, the second front was opened in June 1944 by landing in Normandy (Operation Overlord).

Although during the war it was not so important whether the Czechoslovaks fought in the West or in the East, after the war and especially after the communist coup in February 1948 it was important. For the communist totalitarian regime. Many soldiers fighting in Czechoslovak troops in the West began to be persecuted, including imprisonment and killing in communist camps. (We recommend the Wild Country TV series in this regard.)

There are a huge number of publications and Internet resources on the topic of the 2nd Foreign Resistance. We recommend as a beginning the website of the Military History Institute (VHÚ Prague) and the exposition of the Army Museum of Žižkov, the Kbely Aviation Museum and the Lešany Military Technical Museum.


Czech Republic is a legal and democratic state based on the Constitution of the Czech Republic (1/1993 Coll. Constitution of the Czech Republic) adopted by the Czech National Council on December 16, 1992. The people are the source of all state power (Article 2, paragraph 1). The Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms is part of the constitutional order of the Czech Republic (Article 3).

The Constitution stipulates that the Czech Republic is a parliamentary republic where legal, executive and judicial powers are separated. The Government is responsible for defending the state – executive power. According to the Constitution, the Government decides as a body (Article 76, paragraph 1), so it is responsible for the defense of the state and preparation for it as a collective body. The Commander-in-Chief is appointed by the President of the Republic (Article 63 (1) (c)).

The Parliament of the Czech Republic decides on the declaration of a state of threat (Constitutional Act No. 110/1998 Coll. On the Security of the Czech Republic - Article 7) or a state of war (Constitution, Article 43, paragraph 1). Pursuant to this article of the Constitution, the Parliament also decides on the deployment of the Armed Forces outside the territory of the Czech Republic and on joining the defense systems of international organizations of which the Czech Republic is a member.

Within the framework of the Government executive, the Ministry of Defense of the Czech Republic is established - the so-called “competent” Act No. 2/1969 Coll. (2/1969 Coll. Competence Act). Specifically, it is § 16 of this Act, which stipulates that the Ministry of Defense is the central body of state administration for ensuring the defense of the Czech Republic, the management of the Army of the Czech Republic and the administration of military districts.

This basic legislative framework is followed by other laws - see the section "Legislation, the Czech Army and its tasks".


The Constitution of the Czech Republic speaks only of the Armed Forces. Act No. 219/1999 Coll. Is then dedicated to the Armed Forces. According to this Act, the Armed Forces are divided into:

  • The Army
  • Military Office of the President of the Republic
  • Castle Guard (§ 3, paragraph 2)

The Army of the Czech Republic is the basis of the Armed Forces and is divided into military units and military facilities (§ 13).


  • Act No. 219/1999 Coll., On the Armed Forces 
  • Act No. 221/1999 Coll., On Professional Soldiers 
  • Act No. 222/1999 Coll., On Ensuring the Defense of the Czech Republic
  • Act No. 585/2004 Coll., On military service and its ensuring - the so-called military service
  • Act No. 45/2016 Coll., On the service of soldiers in reserve
  • Act No. 15/2015 Coll., On the abolition of the Brdy military district, on the determination of the boundaries of military districts, on the change of regional borders and on the amendment of related acts 

In addition to these laws, the Ministries of Defense is touched by the following laws, which cover the areas for which the ministry is responsible, but do not apply to the Armed Forces (ie the Czech Army, the President’s Military Office and the Castle Guard):

  • Act No. 289/2005 Coll., On Military Intelligence 
  • Act No. 214/2004 Coll., On the Establishment of the University of Defense 
  • Act No. 170/2002 Coll., On war veterans 
  • Act No. 310/1999 Coll., On the stay of the armed forces of other states in the territory of the Czech Republic 
  • Act No. 300/2013 Coll., On the Military Police 

Czech Republic is a democratic and legal state. Therefore, the entire functioning of the Army is subject to political decision by the Government and Parliament. The Army is therefore subject to civilian control by constitutional bodies (Act No. 219/1999 Coll., § 12). The Army of the Czech Republic is and does what the Government and the Parliament (elected representatives of the citizens) decide within the constitutional order of the Czech Republic. This is the fundamental difference between today’s Czech Republic and communist Czechoslovakia or the totalitarian and authoritarian states of today.

From the point of view of the Czech Republic’s defense, ie from the point of view of the size, composition and capabilities of the Army, the key act is No. 219/1999 Coll., On the Armed Forces. It sets management parameters and tasks for the Czech Army. This law is therefore the basic, but not the only and sufficient, stone for maintaining and developing military capabilities in the Czech Army. The law defines tasks as a constant for which the Government is responsible. The specific content and set of necessary military capabilities is a matter of daily work of the Government (see section "Defense objectives of the Czech Republic - ambitions vs. reality and needs of the Czech Republic") and international defense organizations such as NATO. As the security environment develops, the specific state and capabilities of the Czech Army must evolve with it.

By the Act No. 219/1999 Coll. two basic tasks are set: to prepare for the defense of the Czech Republic and to defend it against external attack, and to fulfill the tasks arising from the international contractual obligations of the Czech Republic on joint defense against attack (§ 9 and § 10). This is the Czech Republic’s membership in NATO. These tasks are supplemented by possible tasks within the Czech Republic, such as assisting the Police of the Czech Republic, etc. (§ 13). The competence and responsibility of the Ministry of Defense within the Government of the Czech Republic is also summarized in Act No. 2/1969 Coll., The so-called Competence Act, in § 16.

According to Act No. 219/1999 Coll. the Army of the Czech Republic is controlled by the executive, the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic approves the budget on the proposal of the Government. The President, as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, approves military orders, appoints and dismisses the Chief of the President’s Military Office, and awards combat flags to units (§ 5). He appoints the Chief of the General Staff on the proposal of the Government and after discussion in the Committee for the Defense of Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic (§ 7). The Government approves operational plans for the use of the Armed Forces, the structure of the Army, the total number of soldiers of the Armed Forces and the Concept of the build-up of the Army (§ 6). It also decides on the systematization (size) of the Czech Army’s General Staff (§ 7). The Ministry manages and develops the Army on a daily basis according to the decisions of the Government and the Parliament (§ 7).


The laws set out the basic task - the defense of the Czech Republic against external attack. What exactly this means in terms of specific steps and measures is given by the results of the threat analysis. Threat analysis is performed permanently. The content of strategic documents - Security Strategy of the Czech Republic, Defense Strategy of the Czech Republic, Concept of the build-up of the Czech Army and, due to NATO membership, also the Strategic Concept of the Alliance (NATO) can be considered milestones in threat assessment. Annual reports of intelligence services are published annually; from the military point of view, the most relevant annual reports are Military Intelligence (Vojenské zpravodajství ( In response to the results of the threat assessment, the ambition is set, what threats and how many threats the Army should be able to handle in parallel. Simply put, how many large and local conflicts should the Armed Forces be able to successfully handle at one time - a decision of this type is secret, as this would help enemies and potential challengers in a successful attack. After setting the ambition (what the Armed Forces should be able to handle), military experts determine how many and what units will be needed, how many and what equipment will be needed, how units and equipment will be used, etc. In the case of the Czech Republic, this is a matter of NATO decisions, The Czech ambition is thus determined by the decisions of the Czech Government and the military commitments that the Czech Government has accepted in NATO.

The current Czech military ambition (embedded in the Czech strategic documents - Defense Strategy of the Czech Republic and the Concept of the build-up of the Czech Army) can be summarized as follows: in addition to two ground forces combat brigades to build „the third combat maneuver element“ – the airborne regiment – as the nucleus of the Third Brigade which will make it possible in the future to build a division - a unit standardly composed of three brigades - and thus increase the capabilities of the Army at peace, which is the core of the Armed at war. At the same time, it has ambitions and a qualitative parameter – to build one of the brigades as a so-called "heavy brigade", ie a heavily armored unit with strong firepower, including tracked Infantry Fighting Vehicles and tanks. The last new element in the Czech ambition is the construction of a satellite center with the ability of global satellite coverage for the needs of the Czech Republic and NATO, including the ability of domestic self-sufficiency regarding the production and control of satellites.

The very basic defense goal of the Czech Republic is to be part of the Alliance group of countries that will give the Czech Republic strategic weight in ensuring the state’s defense. This strategic weight and depth is NATO through the alliance of most European countries with the US and Canada, and strategic deterrence through nuclear and conventional weapons.

The problem of the vast majority of European countries, including the Czech Republic, is that governments set ambitions or accept commitments, but at the same time not enough money is allocated for these tasks within the budgets of individual states. Today, the underfunding of the Czech Armed Forces is at the level of approximately CZK 600 billion – the sum of funds since 2005 that the Army has needed, but due to the size of the allocated defense budget, it has demonstrably not received. The Czech Republic is thus undermining its main defense goal – a strong and functioning NATO.

An example of where the underfunding of the Army leads is the size of the Supersonic Air Force of the Czech Republic. The Air Force currently has 12 single-seater and 2 two-seater JAS-39 Gripen aircraft. 12 single-seater Gripen aircraft form a squadron, which is part of the combat forces. According to all military expert analyzes, the Czech Army needs at least two squadrons, ie 24 supersonic aircraft, to fulfill the assigned tasks. However, the budget allocated to the Ministry of Defense does not allow this, limited funds must also be provided to the Land Forces.

The approach of the Czech Republic, like all other NATO members, is governed by the principle of minimum sufficiency - military needs are defined at the level of minimum needs in terms of the ability to defend oneself. The Communist bloc and today’s authoritarian and totalitarian states, on the other hand, give priority to the military in setting state spending, because in those states the military also has repressive tasks to keep these undemocratic regimes in power and the military is an instrument of power expansion in international relations. It is historically proven that defense is significantly cheaper than offensive plans.


Czech Republic joined NATO on March 12, 1999, along with Poland and Hungary. It thus joined the collective defense organization, which is based on the right to self-defense enshrined in Article 51 of the UN Charter.

Upon joining the Alliance, the Czech Republic undertook to contribute to NATO’s common defense and made a related commitment to spend 2% of its GDP on defense each year. This level was adopted in NATO even before the accession of the Czech Republic as a minimum sufficient level of financing of the armed forces with regard to military needs in the light of existing threats.

With the Czech Republic’s accession to NATO, the Czech Army became involved in NATO’s integrated military structure with the SHAPE strategic headquarters in Mons, Belgium. At the same time, the protection of Czech airspace and the Czech Air Force were involved in the Alliance’s integrated air and missile defense of the airspace of member states - NATINAMDS (NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defense System).

The build-up of the Czech Army has also become an integral part of the Alliance’s defense planning process in the light of identified threats and defined military needs (defense ambitions). Thus, in two-year and four-year cycles, the Czech Republic is undergoing an evaluation of the fulfillment of accepted commitments and at the same time accepting commitments to build military capabilities identified as necessary for NATO’s collective defense efforts. In addition to these alliance commitments, the Czech Republic and every other NATO member state is developing its military capabilities on the basis of its national political decisions.

The most challenging commitment for the Czech Republic at the moment is to build a heavy armored brigade by 2026. It is already clear that due to low budget resources allocated to the Ministry of Defense, this goal will not be met by 2026. The Czech Republic’s highest commitment to NATO is to provide a brigade task force for NATO’s collective defense - Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty.

The Czech Army’s involvement in NATO also means participation in an inexhaustible number of activities, including various exercises, negotiations, etc. Czech Army is in permanent daily contact with the Allied armies, including cooperation in foreign missions to maintain and promote peace and stability.


Czechoslovakia and subsequently the Czech Republic, after regaining sovereignty and independence and restoring democracy, began an active approach to participating in foreign military missions and operations to maintain and promote peace and stability. This approach has been and still is based on the belief that outbreaks of conflict and threats are best addressed at the point of origin and not wait for threats to one’s own citizens and one’s own and the Alliance’s territory. At the same time, Czech Republic demonstrated its determination to contribute to security at the global and regional level within the Euro-Atlantic Western Community. Thanks to this approach of the Czechoslovak and Czech Governments after 1989, Czech Republic was admitted to NATO in March 1999 and subsequently to the EU in 2004.

An excellent elaboration of an overview and information on the involvement of the Czechoslovak and Czech armies in foreign operations can be found on the website of the Military History Institute: VHÚ Prague.


The budget for the Ministry of Defense, ie for the Army of the Czech Republic, is governed by Act No. 218/2000 Coll., On Budgetary Rules. This law determines that the budget of the Czech state and thus of the Ministry of Defense lives from year to year. In 2021, a law on the state budget for 2022 is being prepared. The law on the state budget is being adopted by the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic at the end of the year - from November to December. The Army thus knows what budget it will manage next year at the end of the previous year. Together with the Act on the State Budget for a given year, the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Parliament always approves in a special resolution the so-called medium-term budget outlook for the next two years - so in connection with the 2022 budget the medium-term budget outlook for 2023 and 2024 will be approved. The outlook is not binding, it is an indication of how the budget is likely to evolve. Czech Army thus has a budget security for one year and a non-binding budget promise for the next two years. Beyond the medium-term budgetary outlook, there is no certainty or serious indication of budget developments other than political promises and statements by the Government or individual political parties.

The needs of the Army of the Czech Republic, like any other army in a modern state, are much longer-term. The maintenance and development of military capabilities - the construction of new units or the modernization or purchase of new weapon systems - are projects for three to ten years. Even for shorter projects, implementation often takes place across multiple election periods. The projects thus suffer from changes in governments or changes in priorities in individual election periods. This often leads to changes in projects or their postponement. In any case, the consequence is the delay in the implementation of projects, which from a defense and military point of view must be implemented in earlier time horizons.

The Czech budgetary and political reality could be overcome by adhering to the commitment made upon joining NATO and renewed in 2014 at the NATO Summit (NATO Summit Declaration, § 14, NATO - Official text: Wales Summit Declaration issued by the Heads of State and Government participating in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Wales, 05-Sep.-2014) - to allocate 2% of GDP each year to defense, or to allocate financial resources so that the long-term average is 2% of GDP. This would create a desirable reality for the Czech Army and the Czech Republic’s defense interests in the form of a stable resource framework, which would enable the Army to effectively plan and implement projects for the maintenance and development of military defense capabilities.

Part of the Alliance ‘s commitment is the so - called investment promise - that with an annual budget of at least 2% of GDP, 20% of the investment budget will be allocated annually. This parameter is given by the long-standing recommendation within NATO that annual defense budget expenditures should follow the formula: a maximum of 50% for salaries and other social expenditures, a maximum of 30% for current expenditures (maintenance, service, etc.) and 20% for investments. Such a distributed expenditure from the defense budget, with its minimum amount of 2% of GDP, will ensure timely modernization and a sufficient technological level of the Armed Forces.

Czech Republic last fulfilled its alliance commitment in 2005 (see the appendix “Budgets of the Ministry of Defense of the Czech Republic since 1993). The draft basic parameters of the budget for 2022, approved by the Government in June 2021, allocates CZK 5 billion less for the Ministry of Defense of the Czech Republic, the same as for 2023, compared to the so-called medium-term budget outlook approved by the Chamber of Deputies in December 2020, defense budget at the level of 1.4-1.5% of GDP for 2022 and 2023. This effectively means that Czech Republic will not meet its commitment from the NATO summit in 2014 that defense spending will reach 2% of GDP by 2024. It will also mean postponing a number of armament projects and projects of construction of units according to the Concept of build-up of the Czech Army.


At the time of the birth of the independent Czech Republic, Czech Army had 106,679 soldiers, of which 33,282 were professional soldiers. In 1993 the Army of the Czech Republic was based on a two-year and subsequently one-year basic military service of conscripts from the age of 18. In 1993, Czech Army had the following weapons:

  • Tanks: 1,617 pieces
  • Wheeled and tracked armored combat vehicles: 2,315 pieces
  • Artillery caliber of 100 mm and above: 1,516 pieces
  • Combat aircraft: 227 pieces
  • Combat helicopters: 36 pieces

The Government’s goal after November 1989 was to reduce the numbers given by the aggressive Soviet bloc united in the Warsaw Pact to a reasonable - at least sufficient level. This was related to the reform of the Army.

Part of the reform was the transition to a fully professional army. In May 2001, the Government set the necessary conditions for the reform of the Armed Forces. First of all, it was a task for the reformed Armed Forces to be built so that they would be able to defend the territory of the Czech Republic and be able to handle the so-called assistance tasks under Czech law in favor of the Integrated Rescue System of the Czech Republic and its components. On August 29, 2001, the Government approved the goals and principles of the reform of the Czech Armed Forces. On April 29, 2002, the Government took note of the Concept of Build-up of Professional Army of the Czech Republic and Mobilization of the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic. After the necessary decisions of the Government and discussion in the Parliament of the Czech Republic of the government’s proposal of Act No. 585/2004 Coll., On military service and its ensuring, this law came into force on January 1st, 2005. The basic military service was abolished and a professional Army of the Czech Republic was established.

Today, the Czech Army has 26,621 professional soldiers - according to the decision of the Government and the Active Reserve are at the level of 3,440 people. The equipment is as follows:

  • Tanks: 119 pieces (30 modernized T-72M4)
  • Wheeled and tracked armored combat vehicles: 439 pieces
  • Artillery caliber of 100 mm and above: 179 pieces
  • Combat aircraft: 38 pieces
  • Combat helicopters: 17 pieces

The above numbers of soldiers and equipment indicate a radical reduction in the number and weapon systems in the Czech Army. (For more details on the development, see the appendix “Approved numbers of soldiers and civilian employees of the Ministry of Defense of the Czech Republic since 1993” and the appendix “Numbers of main equipment of the Czech Army“) This radical reduction is due to monitoring the build-up of the Army on the basis of the principle of minimum sufficiency in collective defense in NATO, but unfortunately also by underfunding the Czech Army since 2005, when the Czech Republic last fulfilled its alliance commitment to spend 2% of GDP on defense. The development from 1989 to 2009 is described in great detail and summarized in the “Defense Policy of the Czechoslovak and Czech Republics (1989-2009)” (

At the time of approval of the White Paper on Defense of 2011 (, which was audited by experts from the governmental and non-governmental sectors, a number of units of combat support forces were at the brigade level - such as the Engineer Brigade or Artillery Brigade. After the approval of the White Paper on Defense by the Government of the Czech Republic, the same Government decided to reduce the budget in such a way that it overcame even the blackest budget scenario contained in the White Paper. The result was a reduction in the Czech Army, ie a reduction in units (number of soldiers). From the Engineer Brigade or Artillery Brigade the Army came down to today’s 15th Engineer Regiment and 13th Artillery Regiment in Jince (for more details, see the section "Structure and units of the current Army of the Czech Republic"). For a basic idea - the brigade consists of 3-4 battalions; the regiment consists of about 2-3 battalions.

Today, the Government of the Czech Republic and NATO recognize that the Army must be larger and modernly armed due to the deteriorating international security environment. However, the budgetary resources allocated to the Czech Army do not reflect this will of the Czech Government - see the section “Economy of the Defense Sector - Army Financing” and the appendix “Budgets of the Ministry of Defense since 1993”.

In February 2020, the Chief of the General Staff of the Czech Army warned at the Command Assembly of the Czech Army that “The Army has suffered enough in recent years. Years of neglect and cuts left the army’s torso, a skeleton that we must now strengthen again.“


Czech Army is made up of units of several types of forces. For specific operations and tasks, task forces are created at various levels (eg brigade task forces). The Army is made up of Land Forces and Air Forces. In addition to the Czech Army, there is Military Intelligence responsible for cyber defense.

Land and Air Forces are divided into Combat Forces, Combat Support Forces and Combat Assistance Forces. This division reflects the basic division of tasks within the Army - combatants and soldiers who support and assist them in combat.

The permanent professional Army is supplemented by the Active Reserve - members of the Active Reserve are part of the units in which places for active reserves are created.


In 2020, the numbers of soldiers were approved at the level of 26,621 people and the numbers of the Active Reserve at 3,440 people. (For more details, see the appendix “Approved numbers of soldiers and civilian employees of the Ministry of Defense of the Czech Republic since 1993.)

The Land Combat Forces include:

  • 4th Rapid Deployment Brigade „Nation’s Defense“ (uses Pandur wheeled armored vehicles and Iveco vehicles)
  • 7th Mechanized Brigade "Dukelská" (uses tracked IFV/BVP-2, T-72M4 and T-72M1 tanks)
  • 43rd Airborne Regiment (newly created)
  • 601st Special Forces Group („General Moravec“)

The Air Combat Forces include:

  • 21st Tactical Air Force Base Čáslav („Zvolenská“), where the 21st Tactical Air Wing is located, the core of which is the 211th Tactical Squadron with JAS-39 Gripen aircraft and 212th Tactical Squadron with L-159 Alca aircraft
  • 25th Air-Defense Missile Regiment ("Tobrucký")

The Land Combat Support Forces performing the tasks of combat assistance forces include:

  • 13th Artillery Regiment ("Jaselský")
  • 31st Regiment of Radiological, Chemical and Biological Protection – („Major General Oskar Starkoč“)
  • 53rd Regiment of Reconnaissance and Electronic Warfare („General Heliodor Píka“)
  • 15th Engineer Regiment („General Karel Husárek“)

The Air Combat Support Forces fulfilling the tasks of combat assistance forces include:

  • 22nd Helicopter Base ("Biskajská"), which uses the Mi-171 multi-purpose helicopters and Mi-24/35 attack helicopters/gunships. (This base will receive the American H-1 helicopters - 8 pieces in the multipurpose version and 4 pieces in the attack version.)
  • 24th Air Force Base Prague-Kbely

The ground combat security forces include:

  • 14th Logistics Support Regiment („Colonel in memoriam Alfréd Bartoš“)

Individual units have their own websites and accounts on social networks, where you can find information on their equipment, structure, etc. The links are given below:

Land Forces:

Air Forces:

Information on the armament of individual units can also be found in summary form on Equipment and armaments of the Army (, information about the Military Police is on, information about Military Intelligence is on Military Intelligence (, information on Active Reserve is on Active Reserve (AZ) (


Armament is a multidisciplinary matter - analyzes of the international security environment, military expertise, the economy of the state and the Army of the Czech Republic, legal aspects including public procurement, analysis of the market and technological trends, personnel strategy of the Army and foreign security policy come into play. The position of the Armaments and Acquisitions Section of the Ministry of Defense of the Czech Republic is unique. It is the only workplace of the state that procures military material for the Czech Army.

The key moment of every armament project is the formulation of the military requirement - the so-called specification - by the Czech Army’s General Staff. Subsequently, the key factor is the financial intensity, ie whether the Ministry of Defense of the Czech Republic has financial resources for the implementation of a militarily needed project. Part of the assessment of the financial demands of each project must be not only the price of the acquired weapon system, but also the costs of its life cycle, ie the costs of maintenance, regular service and repairs. The life cycle of a number of key weapon systems has been in the order of decades, and modernization projects are also included.

The acquisition of military equipment, like many other economic activities within the European Union, is subject to adjustments at the level of EU legislation. This corresponds to the legal regulation in the Czech Republic – the transposition of EU legislation is incorporated into Act No. 134/2016 Coll., On the award of public contracts.

Although the purchase of military equipment by EU Member States is regulated by EU legislation, its essence is as follows: EU Treaty, Article 346 (EUR-Lex - 12008E346 - EN - EUR-Lex (, as well as the whole Directive No. 81 / 2009 (EUR-Lex - 32009L0081 - EN - EUR-Lex ( respects the sovereignty of the EU Member States in defense matters and therefore in armaments. However, Member States must justify their actions and demonstrate that they are in accordance with the security and defense interests of the Member State.

The main Czech armament projects are listed in Annex No. 4, Concept of the build-up of the Czech Armed Forces 2030 (koncepce__2030.pdf ( The largest current armament project is the acquisition of 210 tracked Infantry Fighting Vehicles for the 7th Mechanized Brigade. In 2027, the contract for the lease of 14 supersonic Jas-39 Gripen aircraft expires, and the Ministry of Defense has already begun preparatory work for the acquisition of supersonic aircraft for the period after 2027.

In 2016, the Government of the Czech Republic approved the Strategy for Armament and Support of the Domestic Defense Industry - the document is at: strategie-vyzbrojovani-do-2025.pdf ( The strategy prefers the acquisition of proven military material in practice and categorizes the domestic defense industry into 4 categories, with only state-owned enterprises in the highest category and Czech-owned private enterprises in the second.


Any country that wants to preserve at least the core of its independence and sovereignty includes domestic industrial capabilities in its security and defense system. These should ensure self-sufficiency at least at the basic level of basic equipment of soldiers and units. The industry of the Czech Republic would be technologically able to fulfill this ability if the Government of the Czech Republic required and supported this approach. Like the Czech Republic, Sweden with a population of ten million can produce globally competitive supersonic fighter jets and submarines. Today, the Czech defense industry does not reach this level, because the governments of the Czech Republic have not yet been able to decide what critical products and technologies the Czech defense industry should be able to produce, or have and control.

The Czech lands were the most industrialized part of Austria-Hungary. After the establishment of an independent Czechoslovakia in 1918, the Austro-Hungarian arms industry was restructured for new needs. In the 1920s, a modern defense industry was established in Czechoslovakia with a comprehensive structure and its own design and development capacity. This was the result of the concept of the Czechoslovak government to focus on domestic-made weapons systems so that the army would be provided in all major types of armaments. In the end, it succeeded only in large part, not completely. The Czechoslovak government originally tried to go the way of creating state-owned enterprises. After bad experience - especially in terms of economic results and inability to achieve the set goals - the defense industry was finally established, dominated by private companies integrated into the security and defense system of Czechoslovakia (including the Institute of Long-Term Contracts and Act No. 131/1936 Coll. On State Defense , which defined important companies). The state had only three enterprises: the Military Aircraft Factory, the Military Forest Enterprises and the MNO Printing House. However, they also had poor economic results. The core of the Czechoslovak defense industry were two groups of arms companies concentrated around Živnobanka and around Anglobanka. (The period 1918-1939 is elaborated in more detail in the publication of the Military Historical Institute "Czechoslovak Armaments Industry in the years 1918-1939".)

After the Sovietization of Czechoslovakia after World War II as a result of the usurpation of power by the Communist Party in 1948, all enterprises in the defense industry were nationalized. Their existence, content of production and direction of development were subject to management and decisions from the Soviet Union. Due to the massive armies of the Soviet bloc focused on attack, including the Czechoslovak one, the arms industry was the dominant sector of the economy in the period 1948-1989. This caused a shortage of ordinary consumer goods for the country's population.

The state retained the following state enterprises in the independent Czech Republic: LOM Praha s.p. (LOM PRAHA), VOP CZ s.p. (VOP CZ, s.p.), Military Technical Institute s.p. (Military Technical Institute | VTÚ s.p. (, Military Research Institute s.p. (VVÚ | Vojenský výzkumný ústav. S. P. (, Vojenské lesy a statky ČR s.p. (Unique nature, care with tradition - Military forests and estates of the Czech Republic, s.p. ( As in the period 1918-1939, state-owned enterprises do not have very good economic results, due to which their competence stagnates or even decreases - the reader can look at the annual reports of state-owned enterprises on their websites.

The dominant part of the Czech defense industry is in the private sector. It found itself there after the collapse of the Soviet bloc, the Soviet Union and the collapse of the communist regime in Czechoslovakia. The loss of clients in the form of communist armies, the significantly smaller needs of the Czech Army in a democratic state and the inability to stay in a competitive environment led to the collapse of a number of state-owned armaments companies and to the privatization of moribund state-owned enterprises. In many cases, however, Czech entrepreneurs built new manufacturing companies in the defense industry. The list of companies and enterprises in the field of security and defense industry can be found on the website of the Defense and Security Industry Association (Defense and Security Industry Association of the Czech Republic - Members of the AOBP). The most successful manufacturers in the field of defense industry include:

  • Czechoslovak Group consortium (CZECHOSLOVAK GROUP a.s.), in which there are companies such as Tatra Defense Vehicle, Tatra Trucks, Excalibur Army or Retia
  • CZ Group consortium, which includes Česká zbrojovka from Uherský Brod (Home | CZG)
  • also eg the company ERA Pardubice producing passive radars and other companies under the wings of Omnipol a.s. (OMNIPOL a.s.)
  • Ray Service (Ray Service, a.s.)

Due to its location in Vlašim and the Czech management, although with a foreign owner, the most successful companies belonging to the Czech defense industry include the Sellier and Bellot company which produces ammunition (Your ammunition company since 1825 - Sellier & Bellot (

Aero Vodochody Aerospace a.s. is one of the most technologically and structurally successful companies (AERO Vodochody AEROSPACE a.s.), which was able to develop the new subsonic L-39NG training aircraft with the possibility of use as a light combat aircraft. There is only Leonardo in Europe, which has currently managed to do so with the M345.


The Czech Republic is a rich country with great industrial and technological potential. What will be the Army of the Czech Republic will depend on the Government of the Czech Republic and its decisions. Due to the continuing allocation of low budgets for the Ministry of Defense, the words of the Chief of the General Staff of the Czech Armed Forces, Aleš Opata, who stated at the Prague conference "Our security is not given" in June 2021 that we were "missing our train".



Doc. Ing. Antonin Baudys, CSc. (Antonín Baudyš - Wikipedia (
Period: 1.1.1993 - 21.9.1994
Political party: KDU-ČSL
Prime Minister: Václav Klaus

RNDr. Vilém Holáň (Vilém Holáň - Wikipedia (
Period: 22.9.1994 - 3.7.1996
Political party: KDU-ČSL
Prime Minister: Václav Klaus

JUDr. Miloslav Výborný (Miloslav Výborný - Wikipedia (
Period: 4.7.1996 - 1.1.1998
Political party: KDU-ČSL
Prime Minister: Václav Klaus

RNDr. Michal Lobkowicz (Michal Lobkowicz - Wikipedia (
Period: 2.1.1998 - 21.7.1998
Political party: ODS, US
Prime Minister: Josef Tošovský

RNDr. Vladimir Vetchy, CSc. (Vladimír Vetchý - Wikipedia (
Period: 22.7.1998 - 3.5.2001
Political party: ČSSD
Prime Minister: Miloš Zeman

Ing. Jaroslav Tvrdík (Lt. Col. ret.) (Jaroslav Tvrdík - Wikipedia (
Period: 4.5.2001 - 2.6.2003
Political party: ČSSD
Prime Minister: Miloš Zeman, Vladimír Špidla

Ing. Miroslav Kostelka (Lt-gen. ret.) (Miroslav Kostelka - Wikipedia (
Period: 9.6.2003 - 4.8.2004
Political party: non-party member for the ČSSD
Prime Minister: Vladimír Špidla

JUDr. Karel Kühnl (Karel Kühnl - Wikipedia (
Period: 4.8.2004 - 4.9.2006
Political party: US-DEU
Prime Minister: Stanislav Gross, Jiří Paroubek

Jiří Šedivý, Ph.D. (Jiří Šedivý - Wikipedia (
Period: 4.9.2006 - 9.1.2007
Political party: non-party
Prime Minister: Mirek Topolánek

JUDr. Vlasta Parkanová (Vlasta Parkanová - Wikipedia (
Period: 9.1.2007 - 8.5.2009
Political party: KDU-ČSL
Prime Minister: Mirek Topolánek

MUDr. Martin Barták (Martin Barták - Wikipedia (
Period: 8.5.2009 - 12.7.2010
Political party: non-party, proposed by the ODS
Prime Minister: Jan Fischer

RNDr. Alexandr Vondra (Alexandr Vondra - Wikipedia (
Period: 13.7.2010 - 7.12.2012
Political party: ODS
Prime Minister: Petr Nečas

Mgr. Karolína Peake (Karolína Peake - Wikipedia (
Period: 12.12.2012 - 20.12.2012
Political party: LIDEM
Prime Minister: Petr Nečas

RNDr. Petr Nečas (Petr Nečas - Wikipedia (
Period: 21.12.2012 - 19.3.2013
Political party: ODS
Prime Minister: Petr Nečas

Ing. Vlastimil Picek (Gen. ret.) (Vlastimil Picek - Wikipedia (
Period: 19.3.2013 - 29.1.2014
Political party: non-party
Prime Minister: Petr Nečas, Jiří Rusnok

MgA. Martin Stropnický (Martin Stropnický - Wikipedia (
Period: 29/01/2014 - 13/12/2017
Political party: ANO
Prime Minister: Bohuslav Sobotka

Ing. Karla Šlechtová (Karla Šlechtová - Wikipedia (
Period: 13.12.2017 - 27.6.2018
Political party: non-party for ANO
Prime Minister: Andrej Babiš

Mgr. Lubomír Metnar (Lubomír Metnar - Wikipedia (
Period: 27.6.2018 - 17.12.2021
Political party: non-party for ANO
Prime Minister: Andrej Babiš

Mgr. Jana Černochová (Jana Černochová – Wikipedie (
Období: 17.prosince 2021 – 
Politická strana: ODS
Předseda vlády: Petr Fiala


Year            MoD budget in billion CZK            % of GDP            % of the total budget
1993                    23.777                                         2.61                  6.67
1994                    27.008                                         2.60                  7.11
1995                    28.275                                         2.26                  6.54
1996                    30.509                                         2.16                  6.30
1997                    31.328                                         1.90                  5.97
1998                    37.643                                         2.07                  6.65
1999                    41.688                                         2.25                  6.99
2000                    44.670                                         2.35                  7.07
2001                    44.976                                         2.10                  6.49
2002                    48.924                                         2.23                  6.65
2003                    53.194                                         2.21                  6.59
2004                    52.481                                         1.90                  6.04
2005                    58.445                                         2.00                  6.34
2006                    63.105                                         1.96                  6.18
2007                    61.338                                         1.74                  5.62
2008                    52.896                                         1.44                  4.78
2009                    59.726                                         1.65                  5.12
2010                    50.845                                         1.38                  4.40
2011                    45.708                                         1.23                  3.96
2012                    42.936                                         1.13                  3.73
2013                    41.464                                         1.08                  3.54
2014                    41.069                                         0.96                  3.39
2015                    47.342                                         1.06                  3.65
2016                    45.608                                         0.97                  3.74
2017                    52.909                                         1.05                  4.04
2018                    59.799                                         1.13                  4.27
2019                    68.321                                         1.21                  4.40
2020                    74.300                                                                  4.65
2021                    85.400                                                                  4.72

For the years 1993-2020, the figures are based on the actual drawing of the budget allocated by the Act on the State Budget of the Ministry of Defense of the Czech Republic. For the year 2021, these are the numbers approved by the Act on the State Budget for this year (Act No. 600/2020 Coll.)

In the case of the budget for 2021, the chapter of the Ministry of Defense of the Czech Republic was reduced by CZK 10 billion by the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic during the discussion in the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament. Thus, Act No. 600/2020 Coll., On the state budget, contains CZK 75,349 billion regarding the Ministry of Defense of the Czech Republic chapter. This money was returned to the Ministry of Defense of the Czech Republic in accordance with the government proposal of the Act on the state budget for the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament in two steps by CZK 5 billion each in January and March 2021.

The above figures are taken from the website of the Ministry of Defense of the Czech Republic, except for the year 2021. Detailed information on the annual parameters of the budget of the Ministry of Defense of the Czech Republic can be found at the Departmental Budget | Ministry of Defense (


soldiers         professional soldiers        civil employees                 total
106 679              33 282                             25 286                      131 965

soldiers         professional soldiers        civil employees                 total
73 591              27 654                               27 726                      101 317

soldiers        professional soldiers        civil employees                  total
54 906              23 184                               21 301                        76 207


soldiers                       civil employees               total
23 110                              14 971                      38 081
Active Reserve
1 312

soldiers                       civil employees                total
22 261                              8 303                        30 564
Active Reserve
1 098


soldiers            civil employees        state employees              total
21 670                  6 411                           1 131                      29 512
Active Reserve
1 259

soldiers            civil employees        state employees              total
26 621                  7 017                           1 133                      34 771
Active Reserve
3 440

The approved numbers of soldiers and civilian employees are never 100% fulfilled. This is due to two basic reasons:

  • There is a natural turnover of staff - recruitment responds to staff departures
  • Budgets for the Ministry of Defense of the Czech Republic after 2006 began to fall sharply to 1% of GDP. To date, the budget has risen to about 1.3% of GDP. Although the budget began to grow after 2014, its current level still creates a crisis situation within the MoD and the Army. This is also reflected in the fact that not all approved (table) positions are filled.

According to the Audit Conclusion of the National Audit Office of 2019 (Audit Conclusion from the SAO Audit No. 18/17 - State Property and Funds Spent on the Acquisition and Distribution of Equipment of Members of the Army of the Czech Republic (, Czech Army actually had 17,896 soldiers - according to the approved numbers it should have 21,670 soldiers.

Detailed information on the development of personnel in the Army and at the Ministry of Defense of the Czech Republic in each year in the period 1992-2020 can be found at Development of actual numbers of persons in the Ministry of Defense of the Czech Republic in 1992 - 2020 | Ministry of Defense (


                                                                1993        2003        2013        2021
Tanks                                                        1 617          541        164*         119*
Armored vehicles                                     2 315      1 235         528           439
Artillery (caliber above 100 mm)     1 516         528          194           179
Combat aircraft                                         227         125           38**         38**
Combat helicopters (Mi-24/35)                     36           34           24              17

* of them 30 modernized T-72M4
** 14 JAS-39 Gripen jets and 24 L-159 ALCA jets

Sources: publication Army of the Czech Republic - Symbol of Democracy and State Sovereignty, 1993-2012, published by the Ministry of Defense of the Czech Republic 2012; other publicly available sources of information.


The documents are listed in order from most basic.

The list of all strategic documents of the Czech Republic adopted since the establishment of the independent Czech Republic in 1993 is on the Czech Strategic Documents Ministry of Defense (



Armádní generál - (Army) General, OF-9
Generálporučík - Lieutenant General, OF-8
Generálmajor - Major General, OF-7
Brigádní generál - Brigadier General, OF-6


Plukovník – Colonel, OF-5
Podplukovník – Lieutenant Colonel, OF-4
Major – Major – OF-3


Kapitán – Captain, OF-2
Poručík – 1st Lieutenant, OF-1
Podporučík – 2nd Lieutenant, OF-1


Štábní praporčík – Chief Warrant Officer, OR-9
Nadpraporčík – Senior Warrant Officer, OR-8
Praporčík – Warrant Officer, OR-7
Nadrotmistr – Master Sergeant, OR-6
Rotmistr – Sergeant 1st Class, OR-5
Rotný – Staff Sergeant, OR-4
Četař – Sergeant, OR-3
Desátník – Corporal, OR-2


Svobodník – Private 1st Class, OR-1
Vojín – Private, OR-1

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