Armed forces of the Czech Republic with the Czech President as the supreme commander are formed by the Military Office of the President of the Czech Republic, Castle Guard, and especially by the main part of the armed forces, i.e. the Army of the Czech Republic (ACR).
The Army of the Czech Republic is a modern armed force, it has been fully professional since 2005, and it is managed by the General Staff headed by the Chief of the General Staff. The body responsible for the civilian control of the military as well as for its democratic control is the Ministry of Defence.
The history of the ACR originates in 1918 – the year when the independent Czechoslovak state was formed. The first Czechoslovak Army was being built up from 1918 to 1939. With regard to the fact that the Republic was dissolved in 1939, the Czechoslovak Army ceased to exist and was restored after the end of World War 2 in 1945. In 1954, in connection with the political situation in the country, the Army was renamed to Czechoslovak People’s Army, which was a member of the Warsaw Convention from 1955 to desintegration of the USSR. In 1991 the Army was again renamed to the Czechoslovak Army. This last name lasted until 1993, when the former Federative Republic of Czechoslovakia split into independent countries of the Czech Republic and Slovakia. In 1993 the Army of the Czech Republic came into existence, and gained two thirds of the arsenal of the extinct Czechoslovak People’s Army, whereas the Slovak army gained one third.
The Army of the Czech Republic is divided into three main components: the land forces, air forces, and special forces. Land forces are formed especially by two brigades, which are supported by other units of land troops, be it when safeguarding protection of our territory, or during foreign missions. Air forces include especially aviation and air defence, and safeguard especially sovereignty and air defence. Special forces have been independent since 2015, and safeguard execution of special operations.
The main task of the Army, which has been a member of NATO since 1999, is safeguarding of the land defence of the Czech Republic against attacks from abroad. Further the Army is responsible for fulfilling tasks based on international contractual obligations or operations aimed primarily at safeguarding peace and safety in the given territories. Apart from that the Army is a part of the military structure of the European Union and fulfils related tasks.
The Army of the Czech Republic is one of the biggest Czech employers – at the moment it has more than 33,000 employees, and almost 3,000 members of Active Reserves. The contemporary trend within ACR’s human resources is constant quality improvement of individual training, deepening knowledge and preparedness of weapon system operators, and preparation of command elements for cooperation with coalition units.
Arsenal of the Army of the Czech Republic undergoes major modernisation, which began in 1999, after the Czech Republic entered NATO. In that time period most of the technique originated from the arsenal of the Czechoslovak People’s Army, and could not fulfil the requirements of modern battlefield, and be compatible with weapon systems of new allies.