The British Embassy in Prague announced 71 new bilateral projects to strengthen cooperation between the Czech and British Armed forces and to improve fighting readiness between 2016 and 2019. The projects cover new training initiatives, formal education and personnel exchange programmes. The initiatives will result in significant financial savings for the Czech Ministry of Defence and armed forces. For example projects already conducted in 2016 lead to savings of CZK 3 million for the Czech Ministry of Defence.
Defence Attaché Gp Capt Michael Longstaff said:
This new training and education cooperation brings us even closer. The Czech Republic and the United Kingdom are historical allies who both view European defence as a shared responsibility. Whilst we the UK are leaving the EU, we are not leaving Europe and remain strongly committed to European security and defence.
The UK is the largest military power in Europe. The UK meets the NATO target of spending 2% of GDP on defence. As part of NATO’s enhanced forward presence in 2017, the UK will lead a multinational battalion in Estonia, deploy a company group to Poland, RAF Typhoon aircraft to Romania and around 30 troops to the UN-mandated NATO force in Kosovo.
Last week, Czech Ministry of Defence Director of Strategy and Defence Policy Jan Jireš met in London with his British counterpart Nick Gurr to finalise these latest measures which for example provide the Czech Armed Forces with British training teams sent to the Czech Republic. The measures build on existing projects such as British contingent of military advisors who have trained 417 military personnel, of whom 92 were Czechs, at the Vyškov Military Academy in 2016.
An example of the cooperation is supporting education in legal service. Czech Army Major General Jaroslav Kocián said:
The British have recently provided help in organizing expert training for members of our legal service. This concerned soldiers – specialists – who provide counsel to commanding officers during everyday activities in bases and during military operations abroad.
The bulk of new training activities are provided to land and air forces. The cooperation covers a multitude of niche areas of expertise which have been specifically targeted to deliver the maximum effect and the greatest value for money.