Hungary spearheaded the movement to dissolve the Warsaw Pact Treaty Organization in 1990 and has since worked to modernize and Westernize its armed forces. The prospect of imminent NATO membership has led the government to focus on assuring the interoperability of the Hungarian Home Defense Forces (Honvedseg) with those of its future allies. This requires not only a slow, expensive overhaul of military hardware but also a major restructuring of organization, military doctrine, and training. Hungary has been an active participant in the Partnership for Peace since 1994, as well as the NATO-led IFOR/SFOR operations in Bosnia, and regularly contributes to UN peacekeeping missions.
The Honvedseg's largest service is the army, followed by the air force and a small naval contingent that patrols the Danube River. The size of the armed forces is now 58,000, down from over 130,000 in 1989. The current mandatory conscription period for Hungarian males is 9 months, although the new government has declared that it wants to reduce this to 6 months as part of a plan to professionalize the army. The Orban administration also has pledged to increase defense spending by 0.1% of GDP for the next 4 years to bring Hungary's military budget in line with those of NATO countries. In 1997, Hungary spent about 123 billion HUF ($560 million) on defense. Hungary became a member of NATO on March 12, 1999. Hungary provided airbases and support for NATO's air campaign against Serbia and has provided military units to serve in Kosovo as part of the NATO-led KFOR operation.
Military branches: Ground Forces, Air Force, Border Guard
Military manpower - military age: 18 years of age
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 2,588,365 (2000 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 2,062,565 (2000 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 67,160 (2000 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure: $732.2 million (FY99)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 1.4% (FY99)