Comparison of Military Manpower Policy in the Czech Republic and the Former Czechoslovakia

Kategorie Articles in English, Bezpečnostní politika, Studie | Autor: Pavel Doško | 17. 10. 2013 | 17:32

Military manpower policy changed considerably in the Czech Republic in its recent history. Armed forces underwent a transformation from the concept of massive conscription-based forces of the communist era to much smaller professional armed forces of today. The following article analyzes the evolution of manpower policies in the Czech Republic and the former Czechoslovakia. The comparison is made in three distinct periods: 1988, 1998 and 2008. These three periods are evenly apart by 10 years and each one of them represents a period with a specific military manpower policy as well as conditions that influence the policy.

Author: Pavel Doško, master student of Security and strategic studies at the Faculty of social studies, Masaryk university.

Introduction

Military manpower policy changed considerably in the Czech Republic in its recent history. The Czech Armed Forces underwent a transformation – which is still underway – from the concept of massive conscription-based armed forces of the communist Czechoslovakia to much smaller professional armed forces of today. At the same time, also the security environment of the Czech Republic underwent some important changes, as did the political framework, society, economy and others (Tůma – Janošec – Procházka 2009).

The aim of this paper is to compare military manpower policies of the Czech Republic (or Czechoslovakia at that time) in three distinct periods in order to understand these policies and reasons for their adoption. The main aim is to shed light into this topic, which is under-researched in the Czech Republic even in spite of its importance and impact, which is still society-wide as there are still 1.5 million men in compulsory military reserves and on the other hand there are several years of birth of young men, which were exempt of the compulsory military service. The armed forces employ over 0.5% of the economically active population and they also play an important role in foreign military operations, collective defence and in other roles (Ibid.; Doško 2013).

The military manpower policies are generally researched from an economic point of view, a political one, or a security one; therefore another aim of this paper is to research the changing military manpower policies of the Czech Republic (and former Czechoslovakia) multi-disciplinarily and therefore widen the sum of knowledge about military manpower policies in general.

Firstly, after the introduction, we start with a methodological and conceptual framework of the paper in order to specify the research questions, the design of the paper and explain the basic terms. Then there are three chapters, dealing with military manpower policy of the Czechoslovakia in 1988, of the Czech Republic in 1998 and in 2008. These three periods are evenly apart by 10 years and each one of them represents a period with a specific military manpower policy as well as conditions that influence the policy. Then we compare the three cases and the results of the paper are summed up in conclusion.

1 Methodology

Based on the aims of the paper, the main research question is: “How did Czech military manpower policy evolve?“ This main research question is supplemented by specific research questions, which aim at specific conditions for evolvement of the military manpower policy. These specific research questions are: (a) “How did Czech military manpower policies reflect respective subjective security situations?“,[i] (b) “How did Czech military manpower policies reflect respective political frameworks?“, (c) “How did Czech military manpower policies reflect respective views of the society?“, (d) “How did Czech military manpower policies reflect respective economic situation?“, (e) “What other influences can be found on the Czech military manpower policies and what is their role?“ We concentrate on these specific sub-topics in an effort to answer the main research question.

Therefore, design that suits these research questions best is a comparative case study. We study the military manpower policies in three distinct periods, in 1988, 1998 and 2008; so there are three cases – military manpower policy of the Czechoslovakia in 1988, of the Czech Republic in 1998 and in 2008. These represent three distinct periods with different security situations and other conditions as well as differing military manpower policies. The main method is the comparative method and these periods allow for comparison across time and we use the time-axis comparison of similar cases (Karlas 2008). Therefore, we present each case and concentrate on the below mentioned variables and then we compare the cases and values of the variables in order to answer the research questions.

Stemming from the research questions and the discussed design of the paper, we can now specify the variables. The main dependent variable is the actual military manpower policy, which can be measured as a way of military personnel procurement (conscription x recruitment), numbers of military personnel, their retention and compensation for service (wage, social policy of the armed forces). This dependent variable is influenced by a number of independent variables, whose role we are trying to discover. Those are subjective security situation, membership in international organizations (closely connected with the security situation), public opinion and societal views, political situation, economic situation (GDP, growth, resources allocated for the military) and military tradition.

In the paper we use both primary and secondary sources. The primary sources consist mostly of Czech conceptual documents in the field of security and defence, while the secondary sources consist mostly of monographs and academic journal articles written by Czech authors from the security field. While the topic has not been given much attention by the Czech security community, there are some quality works we can base our research at (Kříž 2004; Pernica 2007a; 2007b; 2012; Tůma 2006; Tůma – Janošec – Procházka 2009 etc.).

2 Conceptual Framework

Before we proceed to the actual matter at hand, it is necessary to conceptualize some basic terms used in the paper in order to ensure proper understanding. Attention is paid only to the most important terms and other terms not mentioned here are explained when needed in the upcoming chapters below.

The first and foremost of the terms to be conceptualized is military manpower policy, a part of a wider military personnel policy. It is a policy, ergo the outcome of a political process, which is being realized by the armed forces and deals with military personnel. This policy can be decided upon by the government, elected representatives, the head of state, and the commander-in-chief (these can coincide) or by the military itself (Kříž 2004). In the framework of this policy, mostly the actual numbers of military personnel are of interest by the researchers. From a different view, it is useful to study the way militaries procure manpower – therefore whether the service is voluntary (professional militaries) or compulsory (conscription-based militaries). Then we also study the length of the service (retention), role of civilian employees or compensation for service in terms of wages and other benefits provided for example by a social policy of the armed forces for their personnel (Pernica 2006; 2007b; Doško 2013).

The actual goals of this policy in terms of numbers and also way of procurement stem from requirements that are placed upon the capabilities of armed forces. The armed forces in general receive a set of political instructions about required capabilities and those capabilities are achieved as a mixture of manpower and capital, which in this setting means military equipment (tanks, fighter jets, artillery pieces, small arms, etc.). These capabilities and ways to achieve them as a mixture of manpower and capital are constrained by allocated budget; however we can say that specific goals of the military manpower policy are generally set by the required capabilities for the armed forces; however the dynamics can be different according to specific political setting. These requirements and a way of their accomplishment can stem from various grounds, most prominently from security situation, but also from military traditions, views of the public, etc. (Warner – Asch 2007; Doško 2013).

Furthermore, we should shortly pay attention to several other terms. Most prominently there is the actual term of armed forces; those are organizations designated for conducting armed conflicts and maintaining security of the referent object against enemies, both foreign and/or domestic. These centrally-directed, continuous organizations should be distinguished from inner security apparatus, most particularly by the fact that they abide by rules and laws of armed conflict and also by their primary focus on foreign enemies (Doško 2013; Pernica 2003). Then we need to conceptualize the term conscription, which can be also called compulsory military service in a self-explaining way. It effectively is a use of state power to enlist population in the armed forces; most commonly young men of 18 years of age are subject to conscription (Ibid.). In opposition to conscription there are professional armed forces, also called volunteer-based armed forces, based on the fact that entry into professional armed forces is not based on application of state power as in the case of conscription, but it is rather voluntary. In that case, soldiers are subsequently employees of the state and they receive wage and benefits, which cover their opportunity costs arising from potential other employment (Pernica 2007b).[ii]

It should also be noted that armed forces usually consist of soldiers – military personnel – and civilian employees, which do not wear a uniform and they do not carry arms nor participate in combat. These civilian employees can play a significant role in administrative and rear echelon positions in the armed forces and may form up to about 1/3 of the total personnel figures (Pernica 2007b). However, military manpower policy deals primarily with soldiers, civilian employees are then subject to a wider military personnel policy. These boundaries are rather thin due to interconnectedness of the two categories, however they should be distinguished and this paper deals mostly with military personnel (Ibid.; Warner – Asch 2007).

3 Czechoslovak Military Manpower Policy in 1988

The first case of our comparative study is the Czechoslovak military manpower policy in 1988. At that time, there was a united Czechoslovak Socialist Republic (CSSR; Československá socialistická republika), a communist-led totalitarian state with centrally-directed economy, which was integrated in the Soviet bloc and also a member of the Warsaw Pact,[iii] a collective defence organization based on Soviet leadership (Kříž 2010a; Tůma 2006). While the communist regime was about to end in 1989, the decay of the regime did not reflect itself strongly in the armed forces and therefore we can study the year 1988 as a continuation of a much longer period, which started to change only in the early 1990s.

The main component of the CSSR’s armed forces was called the Czechoslovak People’s Army (CSPA; Československá lidová armáda). The CSPA of 1988 was a substantial force, composed of no less than 210,000 soldiers, of whom approximately 150,000 were conscripts and 60,000 were employed soldiers, most of them officers (Karaffa – Balabán – Rašek 2009).[iv] Those were supplemented by further 80,000 civilian employees, making the armed forces an employer of 3.9 % of economically active population (CSO 2013; Pernica 2007b), and active soldiers comprised 2.8 % of the economically active population, with another ca. 4.0 % of the economically active population in the reserves, which would bring the wartime manpower to ca. 500,000 soldiers. Ca. 6.8 % of the economically active population were soldiers, either active or in the reserves – and the reservists were undergoing scheduled training (Ibid.). We can see that the CSPA used conscription and young men reaching 18 years of age were required to serve 24 months in the CSPA. Evasion was a criminal offence; however it was possible to legally refrain from the service in case of a serious health condition. There was no possibility of a national – or civil – service, which would allow non-armed service for religious or conscience reasons (Ibid.; Rašek 2009; Doško 2013).

As we already stated above, Czechoslovakia was a member of the Warsaw Pact. As such, Czechoslovak military policy was not independent and it was rather set by the Soviet command through the Warsaw Pact. It was the Cold War era, which was gradually coming to an end. In 1987 the Warsaw Pact changed its policies to defensive, however this change did not have much space for materialization in the structure of armed forces. The CSPA was therefore designated for a massive armoured thrust towards Rhine and most of its fighting forces were amassed in the western part of the country. The CSPA was equipped with high numbers of heavy arms, for example with ca. 4,500 tanks, 700 aircrafts or 3,400 artillery pieces (Mika 2009; Tůma – Janošec – Procházka 2009). The subjective security situation therefore reflected a grave threat of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), located just on the western border of Czechoslovakia and the armed forces were built for a massive offensive operation (Frank 2003; Mika 2009).

The public opinion about the armed forces was generally negative as they were a part of the communist party power system. Another source of the public view is cited as the 1968 invasion of the Warsaw Pact countries, which was not met with a response of the Czechoslovak armed forces, just as it was not met with such a response in 1938 in case of the Munich Agreement and in 1939 in the case of the German invasion. However there were no available polls about public views conducted. Even if people viewed the CSPA negatively, the communist regime did not provide space for a significant policy change (Zlatohlávek 2004; Mika 2008).

While the economy was stagnating and in deep structural crisis and the growth in recent periods was largely extensive if there was any at all, the armed forces received substantial funds amounting up to 4 % of the gross domestic product (Musil et al. 2003; Tůma 2006), which does not account for costs in militarization of society and opportunity costs of conscripts, whose service is much cheaper than in the case of professional soldiers (Pernica 2007b).

Also, the CSPA’s role was to guard the socialism and the communist regime, which was a specific role of the armed forces and it fostered their political position. Another specific role of the CSPA was to educate the youth, if only the young men and not women. The armed forces served as an instrument of the national economy, it was the sole largest teaching institution for drivers, mechanics, etc. Due to their high personnel demand, the armed forces were instrumentally used in maintaining the zero unemployment, therefore as a tool of military Keynesianism. They also had an indoctrination role and the conscripts were subject to communist party propaganda (Kříž 2004; Doško 2013).

449px-CSLA_battledress

CSPA battledress (Source: Wikipedia.org).

4 Czech Military Manpower Policy in 1998

The second case of this comparative study is Czech military manpower policy in 1998. As the case suggests, Czechoslovakia had already been dissolved into the independent Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic. The dissolution came in force in 1993 and most importantly it resulted in division of the armed forces between the two independent states. The formerly united armed forces were divided in ratio of 2:1, 2 parts for the Czech Republic and 1 for Slovakia (Tůma – Janošec – Procházka 2009).

The Czech Republic of 1998 was a democratic state in a post-bipolar world; it was still undergoing a transformation period from the communist regime and central planning to a democratic system with a market economy (Musil et al. 2003). The Czech Republic was not a member of any collective defence organization; however it was about to become a member of NATO in 1999, which was to provide much sought-for security guarantees that were lacking since the Warsaw Pact had been formally dissolved in 1991.[v] Since then Czechoslovakia – and then the Czech Republic – had sole responsibility for its defence for the greater period of the decade (The Czechoslovak Federal Assembly 1991; Kříž 2010a).

The Armed Forces of the Czech Republic (AFCR; Ozbrojené síly České republiky) in 1998 were composed of the Army of the Czech Republic (ACR; Armáda České republiky), which comprised the bulk of forces, the Castle Guard (CG; Hradní stráž) and the Civil Protection (CP; Civilní ochrana). The armed forces were conscription-based (MOD 1997; Síla 2007). There was a compulsory military service for men entering 18 years of age and the service phase lasted for 12 months. There also was an option of civil service, non-armed 18 months-long service outside of armed forces, which was designated for those with religious beliefs or conscience-based objections barring armed service (Pernica 2007a; 2007b). However, evasion of conscription was wide-spread and only about 55-70 % of the liable population actually served either in civil or compulsory military service during the 1990s; evasion was particularly wide-spread among university students, of whom only about 10 % served (Pernica 2007b; CSO 2012).

As of January 1, 1998 there were exactly 56,701 soldiers in the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic;[vi] 23,759 of them were professional soldiers, that is employees of the state, who received regular wage – and then there 32,942 conscripts, who were only symbolically rewarded. Besides these numbers, there were 21,797 civilian employees under ministry of defence (Pernica 2007b; MOD 2013a). Altogether, the AFCR employed ca. 1.5 % of the economically active population – and 1.1 % of the economically active population were active soldiers (CSO 2013) and according to strategic documents, their wartime strength was supposed to be 5-6 times the number of soldiers in peacetime (MOD 1995; MOD 1997). The professional component had a high retention symptomatic with the employment model of armed forces and it mostly provided lifetime employment (Pernica 2007b).

As was already stated, the Czech Republic was not a member of any collective defence organization. The ACR was undergoing a process of adopting NATO standards; however the process was rather lengthy (Kříž 2010a). The ACR was transforming and undergoing reductions in numbers of personnel and equipment. It also changed its main task from a massive armoured thrust towards Rhine to territorial defence of the Czech Republic, which resulted in relocations of military units from the west of the country to evenly protect the area (Síla 2007; Tůma – Janošec – Procházka 2009). These changes stemmed from strategic conception documents, initially from the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic’s military doctrine of 1991, which tasked the armed forces with territorial defence against any enemy from any direction. This task had been upheld throughout the 1990s and further defined in the White Paper on Defence of the Czech Republic of 1995 and National Defence Strategy of the Czech Republic of 1997 (MOD 1995; MOD 1997; Síla 2007).

These changes occurred in concordance with the end of the Cold War, the diminishment of a stated enemy and also the lack of security guarantees. While the armed forces were undergoing reductions, they still remained capable of territorial defence. At the same time, the armed forces started to take part in foreign operations, firstly in observer missions, then exceptionally in the Gulf War and then mostly in the Balkan region. Later the Czech armed forces started to actively participate in NATO operations in the Balkans (Turek 2000). Besides the foreign operations, which aimed instrumentally at bolstering our image as a capable partner, there was a growing attention towards the so called new threats, which were also partly addressed by the foreign operations (MOD 1997; Mika 2008).

Czech_KFOR_(1)

Czech soldiers in mission KFOR (Source: Wikimedia.org).

The public opinion about the armed forces reflected a growing trend. Only in 1996-1997 the public opinion plummeted, which was due to newly founded openness to information about the actual state of the armed forces in concordance with democratization of the armed forces and the planned entry of NATO. After floods in 1997 the public opinion rose again and remained in a growing trend (Zlatohlávek 2004; CVVM 2013), but the compulsory military service was viewed rather negatively by the conscripts and future conscripts. There already surfaced discussions about future professionalization of the armed forces; however it was considered economically unfeasible at that time (Pernica 2007b; 2012).

On the other hand, the armed forces still fulfilled an important societal role, as an “initiation ritual” of its kind for young men in their transition to adulthood and in civic education. The institution of compulsory military service was also widely recognized as a traditional one and the views among society were mixed (MOD 1997; Pernica 2007b; Doško 2013). The armed forces regained some of its national economy functions, mostly in training of drivers and less importantly several other occupations, mostly technically oriented. The military Keynesianism role was only residual, but it grew with rising unemployment in years of 1997 and 1998. Also the role of the civic service was recognized as important for public health and public services institutions or other that profited from it (Brožová 2003; Pernica 2012; Doško 2013).

While the budget of the armed forces declined steadily between until 1997 mostly due to political neglect of the armed forces, it began to climb in 1998 in wake for the prospected entry into NATO. The need to modernize the outdated equipment had been recognized, as was more importantly more attention given to the issue. In 1998 the armed forces’ budget stood at 2.07 % of the GDP (gross domestic product); however in spite of the growth from 1997 (1.9 %) it marked a decline from 2.61 % in 1993 (MOD 2013b). At the same time, the economy fell into recession in 1998 and the defence spending were rising in spite of the slowdown (Musil et al. 2003).

5 Czech Military Manpower Policy in 2008

The last case of this comparative case study is Czech military manpower policy in 2008. The Czech Republic of 2008 was the same state as in 1998; however it had already become member of NATO (1999) and the European Union (2004). Therefore it was not undergoing transformation from a communist country with central planning to a democratic market economy[vii] anymore and it was rather undergoing deepening Europeanization (Kříž 2010a).

The Armed Forces of the Czech Republic in 2008 consisted again of the ACR, the CG and then of the Military Office of the President (MOP; Vojenská kancelář prezidenta republiky). The armed forces were based on volunteer principle and there was no peacetime conscription, therefore the AFCR were fully professional and they were rewarding the soldiers with wage and benefits that at least equaled their opportunity costs in order to succeed at the labour market. Compulsory military service was a lawful instrument, which was to be invoked only in case of a severely worsened security situation; that is in case of war or state of national emergency (MOD 2003; The Government of the Czech Republic 2003; 2008).

As of January 1, 2008, the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic had 24,334 soldiers and there were further 11,946 civilian employees under the ministry of defence (MOD 2013a).[viii] The personnel numbers were decided by the Parliament through law, which created a framework, within which it could be guided by the government. For example the law said that service in the armed forces is voluntary, but the government set the specific personnel requirements. Totally the armed forces comprised only 0.69 % of the economically active population and active soldiers accounted for 0.46 % of the economically active population, that is ca. 0.22% of the total population (CSO 2013; Doško 2013). Then there were ca. 1.7 million soldiers in the compulsory reserves,[ix] which were designated for mobilization in case of a severely worsened security situation; however only ca. 45,000 of the reservists were considered as trained and battle-ready. Besides that, there were ca. 1,200 so called active reservists, soldiers who combine civilian and military careers (MOD 2012).

The all-volunteer (professional) armed forces[x] resembled mostly the employee model of armed forces (see Pernica 2007b; Doško 2013); that is personnel usually stayed a long time in the armed forces, sometimes even for the whole economically active part of life. Steps were taken to change the situation into the volunteer model, which expects the personnel to join the armed forces and leave after several years and return to a civilian labour market; however majority of personnel stays for longer periods, especially in case of officers (Pernica 2012).

The Czech Republic of 2008 was a member of NATO and therefore it had strong security guarantees. Czech strategic documents counted with collective defence under NATO and common security under the European Union and they were based on non-existence of any threat of a major conflict in the region and they reflected mostly new threats, such as terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, conflicts on the boundaries of the Euro-Atlantic area and failed states (The Government of the Czech Republic 2003; 2008). Therefore it is not surprising that the tasks of the armed forces were in fact primarily foreign missions, even if primary task de iure was protection of the Czech Republic’s territory. These missions were especially within NATO framework (most importantly in Kosovo – KFOR – and Afghanistan – ISAF) or even in coalitions, as was the case of the Operation Enduring Freedom and there was a need for professional soldiers to conduct the missions (Tůma – Janošec – Procházka 2009; Kříž 2010b).

Throughout the whole decade the AFCR enjoyed high public support and public trust in them reached even over 70 %, almost twice the numbers in the middle of the 1990s. The public support was highest in times around professionalization of the armed forces and remained high since (CVVM 2013). On the other hand, with the professionalization the AFCR mostly lost its general training and education role and almost its entire residual military Keynesianism role (Pernica 2012).

From the economic point of view, the national economy had been growing since 1999. Starting in 2008 and subsequently in 2009 the recession hit as the world financial crisis spread around the world, this however couldn’t have materialized in the budget of ministry of defence for 2008 (Žídek 2009). The budgetary allocation was only 1.35 % of GDP in 2008 and defence expenditures saw gradual decline since 1990, only slowed down somehow in the period of entry into NATO (MOD 2013b). The defence expenditures were falling down in spite of economic growth that was present for the most of the time and reflected the neglect of the political representation and sometimes outright violation of strategic documents or Czech commitments to allies (Pernica 2012).

If we look at the decision to abolish compulsory military service in peacetime, which came about in 2005, it is a policy change brought about rapidly, outside of framework previously set by strategic documents (most notably MOD 1997 and MOD 2002). While the Conception of Development of Professional Army of the Czech Republic from 2002 set the date for abolishment of conscription at January 1, 2007, it was changed from political reasons to an earlier date (January 1, 2005) in 2003. This move was politically motivated and had also economic grounds in budget cuts; however the process of professionalization was prepared hastily due to unforeseen budgetary and time constraints (Pernica 2012).

chrudim

43th airborne battalion from Chrudim (Source: Militaryphotos.net).

6 Comparison

Now that we have covered all three selected cases of this comparative study, we can compare the policies and influences of such policies in respective cases. In this chapter we use two comparison tables, one showing the independent variables in the studied period and the other then demonstrating the results of such variables, therefore the dependent variables describing the actual military manpower policy.

Table no. 1: Influences on military manpower policies – independent variables

 

1988

1998

2008

Subjective security situation

Bipolar conflict – clear enemy, threat of total nuclear war

Post-bipolar world – no threat of major conflict, “new threats”

No threat of major conflict, “new threats”, especially terrorism

Security guarantees

Warsaw Pact

None

NATO

Public opinion

Largely negative

Growing support

Wide support

Economy

Stagnating, prolonged systematic crisis

Growth following transformation recession in the early 1990s; 1998 recession[xi]

Rapid growth before 2008/2009 recession

Resources allocated for the military[xii]

Ca. 4 % of the GDP

2.07 % of the GDP

1.35 % of the GDP

Other

Indoctrination and education/training role; military Keynesianism; initiation ritual & tradition; pillar of the regime; public opinion largely irrelevant

Civic education; education/training, rudimentary military Keynesianism; initiation ritual & tradition; associated civic service

Need of troops for foreign missions; political decision to professionalize

Source: Own, mostly based on Pernica (2007b; 2012), Tůma, Janošec and Procházka (2009) and Tůma (2006)

These independent variables are the most important selected, full information about influences can be found in the chapters above and/or in the cited sources. Now let’s compare the actual results, therefore the military manpower policies.

Table no. 2: Military manpower policies – dependent variables

 

1988

1998

2008

Procurement

Conscription;

no civil service option

Conscription;

rising proportion of professionals

Fully volunteer-based in peacetime

Military personnel (thousands)

210

(140 Czech part)[xiii]

56.7

24.3

Of those conscripts (thousands)

150

(100 Czech part)

32.9

0

Proportion to economically active population

2.8 %

3.9 % (with civilian employees)

1.5 %

1.1 % (with civilian employees)

0.46 %

0.69 % (with civilian employees)

Retention

Employed soldiers – up to whole career; conscripts – 24 months

Professionals – long, but shortening; conscripts – 12 months

Professionals – long for officers; short for young recruits of low ranks

Compensation for service

Wage and benefits for employed soldiers – non-market based; conscripts – symbolic soldier’s pay

Wage and benefits for professionals – market derived; conscripts – symbolic soldier’s pay

Wage and benefits – market based

Source: Own; mostly based on Pernica (2007b; 2012), Tůma, Janošec and Procházka (2009) and Tůma (2006)

From both tables it is very clear that actual military manpower policies underwent major changes between the studied cases in a span of 20 years, which saw the end of the Cold War, division of the Czechoslovakia, lengthy transformation to democracy and market economy and gradual entry into the Euro-Atlantic organization while the armed forces underwent major reduction and professionalization. Following the presented tables, we move on to conclusion, in which we answer the main research question.

Conclusion

We can see that the Czech military manpower policy underwent major changes in the studied span of 20 years. Most importantly the armed forces shrank to a fraction of their former size, which can be attributed to loss of a clearly defined threat, which was viewed in perspective of a possible major confrontation during the Cold War.

While the size of the Czech armed forces remained quite large during the 1990s, it was further reduced following the accrual of the security guarantees through membership in NATO since 1999 to today’s numbers, which are also low due to low priority of defence expenditures when it comes to budget cuts, or even during economic growth. Furthermore, the tasks of territorial defence had been reduced in importance and the foreign missions were in the fore, for which professional soldiers were needed.

Conscription, which had a long tradition in the Czech Republic or Czechoslovakia, respectively, was subsequently abolished in peacetime, which has significant outreach for tens of thousands of young men, who can devote their time and energy to education or work, but on the other hand the compulsory military service cannot serve as an civic education instrument, teaching institution or a psychological “initiation ritual” in transition to adulthood. The actual decision to abolish conscription the way it was abolished was based on political reasons, however with some economic grounds.

The service in the armed forces is now only voluntary and therefore fair as enlistment became a rational economic decision instead of an ordered duty. However the institution of compulsory military service is this available for need in case of an impending threat and the state of war or state of national emergency.

Further, the armed forces stopped playing an important national economic role, which coincided with a transition to market economy. With the process of reduction of armed forces and their role in the society and national economy as well, public towards the armed forces had risen. More importantly, the public views are based on publicly known facts about the armed forces and their activities.

To sum the study up, we can state that the Czech military manpower policy underwent major changes between the studied periods. Most of the changes were based on objective factors and the given situation; however we can find examples of mostly political decisions. On the other hand, as a policy of a democratic country, Czech military manpower policy naturally needs to reflect those, while the objective factors need to be addressed as well.



[i] This point includes also involvement in international organizations, especially collective defence organizations.

[ii] These opportunity costs are principally not covered monetarily in the case of conscription. However, they are outweighed by the threat of criminalization or imprisonment in case of evading the compulsory military service (Doško 2013).

[iii] The Treaty of Friendship, Co-operation and Mutual Assistance, signed in 1955 in Warsaw (Tůma 2006).

[iv] That is the professional component of conscription-based armed forces, which is also called a core. This core is necessary in order to capitalize investments in human capital in specific military specialties, like pilots, leaders, instructors, cadre, etc. (Pernica 2007b)

[v] The Warsaw Pact lost its usefulness already in 1989; when the communist regimes collapsed around central Europe and the USSR was about to gradually dissolve as well (Tůma 2006).

[vi] Excluding the military intelligence services.

[vii] The major tasks of transformation were already completed, but the transformation was not fully completed, especially in case of society and its informal institutions (Musil et al. 2003; Kříž 2010a).

[viii] Excluding the military intelligence service.

[ix] All men with military training in ages of 18-60 (MOD 2012).

[x] Peacetime conscription was abolished as of January 1, 2005 (Pernica 2007b).

[xi] Both 1998 and 2008/2009 recessions did not have influence on the actual budget of the selected years.

[xii] This variable can be both independent and dependent as well, depending upon dynamics of the process. However in the Czech Republic we can see that firstly the budget is an issue and then the numbers of personnel are set according to available funds.

[xiii] According to 1993 dividing criteria.

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