Czech military lays off soldiers and civilian employees to save money

The Czech Defense Ministry is laying off over 1600 career soldiers and over 2,000 civilian employees within austerity measures adopted as a result of next year’s budget cuts. The ministry will have to operate on a budget of 49 billion crowns ie. 7 billion crowns less than in 2009. The savings have not affected the purchase of military equipment and Defense Minister Martin Barták said the military would remain action-capable despite the cuts. Earlier this month the Defense Ministry signed a contract on the supply of 90 light armoured vehicles for more than 3.6 billion crowns. It also plans to purchase 197 personnel carriers Pandur II at a cost of 14.4 billion crowns and four transport planes Casa C-295M.