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New Czech defence minister sets her priorities

The Czech procurement of 210 tracked IFVs is one of the priorities of new Defence Minister Jana Černochová. The contenders (from left to right) are the BAE Systems Hägglunds CV90 Mk IV, Rheinmetall Lynx KF41, and GDELS ASCOD 42. (Czech MoD)

New Czech Defence Minister Jana Černochová presented her ministry's priorities during a press conference on 10 January. This includes meeting the NATO goal of spending 2% of GDP on defence in 2025, as agreed by the new Czech government that was inaugurated in mid-December, and setting up a special defence fund for strategic modernisation projects as early as 2023 or in 2024.

Černochová expects the defence fund to provide greater predictability and flexibility, with funding secured for individual years. “Once the acquisition process begins, virtual funding will be deposited, and when the process nears completion, the Finance Ministry will transfer the necessary amount,” she explained.

She said higher defence spending must be accompanied by better planning and simpler public procurement legislation. She is pushing for an amendment to this legislation, for example adding life-cycle costing information. “We have to avoid a situation where we do all we can to procure technology only to find out that the maintenance will cost billions over 30 years, which we did not account for,” she said.

Černochová added that market surveys used by the Czech Ministry of Defence for public contract awards must reflect current prices. “The market survey on the IFV [infantry fighting vehicle] project was conducted in 2015,” she said. “The implementation costs are much higher than originally expected.” She considers the project to be a high priority and wants a new analysis of the next steps to be prepared within three months.

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