Czech Republic/Military

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The Czech Republic became a member of NATO on March 12, 1999. A major overhaul of the Czechoslovak defense forces began in 1990 and continues in the Czech Republic. Czech forces are being downsized from 200,000 to 55,000 and at the same time reoriented toward a more defensive posture. The Czechs have made good progress in reforming the military personnel structure, and a strong commitment to English language training is paying off. Public support for NATO membership remains around 50%-60%. The Czech Government committed itself in 1996 to increase defense spending by 0.1% of GDP annually until the year 2000, when military spending will reach or exceed 2% of GDP. This will put Czech defense spending on a level proportionately comparable with other NATO allies.

The Czech Republic has friendly relations with all of its neighbors, and none of its borders are in question. The Czech Republic is a member of the UN and OSCE and has contributed to numerous peacekeeping operations, including IFOR/SFOR in Bosnia as well as Desert Shield/Desert Storm.

Military manpower - military age: 18 years of age

Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 2,669,505 (2000 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 2,035,194 (2000 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 70,674 (2000 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure: $1.2 billion (FY99)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 1.9% (FY99)