Do Czechs feel prepared for possible attack?

Czech newspapers carry heavy coverage of possible war

The terrorist attacks on the United States last week posed an unexpected question to people throughout the democratic world. Just how big a threat to our way of life are we facing and are we prepared to take on the fight against global terrorism? Olga Szantova looks at some of the reactions in the Czech Republic.

Czech newspapers carry heavy coverage of possible war
According to the Czech media this country's population is divided as to whether the country is actually threatened by any possible attacks. Important strategic sites have been placed under increased security and the army is on full alert. Czech Defence Minister Jaroslav Tvrdik has said that the attack on the US shows the need for the Czech Army to re-evaluate its position, a point on which many military experts agree. Colonel Milan Kubesa is a strategies expert at the Military Academy in Brno.

"The Czech Republic's Defence Strategy has been in force for a year and in it the danger of terrorism is stressed inadequately. We have to re-asses the situation and make sure that all state institutions are involved. This is not only a matter for the army and the police to deal with. The general public and various institutions must be involved."

As for the army itself, Colonel Kubesa points out that the army's restructuring, which is currently under way, will be a long term process, but certain aspects are already clear and the terrorist attack on the United States has stressed their importance.

"First of all special elite units need to be strengthened and this would be our contribution to the joint NATO forces. We should also strengthen our airforce, its ability to react to unexpected situations. The blue print for the reorganization of the Czech armed forces should, I think, stress this aspect more than it was thought necessary before the events of last week. The document does stress that the Czech Republic will be in a position to contribute its passive radio location systems into the joint NATO defence system as well as its elite chemical units."

One of the main tasks, Colonel Kubesa, and others stress, is the cooperation of military intelligence services, with other intelligence services within the country and also a greater preparedness of civilians and various civil organizations now theat we have found ourselves in a situation where the threat does not necessarily only lie on the battle fields.

Author: Olga Szantová
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