The chief of the General Staff of the Czech Armed Forces Petr Pavel is to be the new head of NATO’s Military Committee. His election to the post at a committee meeting in Vilnius over the weekend has been hailed as a "major diplomatic success" for the Czech Republic and an expression of trust by fellow NATO members.
Czech President Miloš Zeman, speaking at Mošnov in Ostrava on Sunday, the second day of NATO Days and Czech Air Force Days attended by thousands of visitors, reiterated that fewer tanks and more unmanned drones were needed in the fight against terrorism, specifically Islamic State. The president has made the case before, namely at the recent summit in Wales. On Sunday, Mr Zeman also congratulated the Chief of the General Staff of the Czech Army, General Petr Pavel, on his election to be the next chairman of NATO's Military Committee. In his speech, he also touched upon the usefulness of the country's supersonic Gripen fighter jets, which are to begin a mission in helping to protect Iceland's air space.
The prime minister has called Saturday's election of Czech General Petr Pavel as the next chairman of NATO's Military Committee a "major diplomatic success", for the Czech Republic - one that recognised the Czech Army's contribution within the alliance. The defence ministry reacted similarly, called his election an expression of trust by fellow NATO members towards the Czech Republic. On Saturday, General Pavel was elected to the post at the committee meeting in Vilnius. He will replace the present committee head, Danish General Knud Bartels, next year. General Pavel is the first representative of a NATO east European member country to hold the senior post. The Military Committee chairman is NATO´s highest military authority and chief military adviser to NATO's secretary general.
The Chief of the General Staff of the Czech Army, General Petr Pavel, will
be the new chairman of the NATO Military Committee, according to
information obtained by the Czech News Agency. General Pavel was elected to
the post at the committee meeting in Vilnius on Saturday. He will replace
the present committee head, Danish General Knud Bartels, next year. General
Pavel is the first representative of a NATO east European member country to
hold the senior post. In the vote, committee members chose the Czech over
rival candidates from Italy and Greece. His mandate will last three years
and can be prolonged.
The Military Committee chairman is NATO´s highest military authority and chief military adviser to NATO secretary general. In this respect, Pavel will cooperate with Norwegian Jens Stoltenberg, who will take up the post of secretary general next month. The Military Committee is the supreme military body of NATO. It can submit proposals and recommendations to the North Atlantic Council, the Defence Planning Committee and the Nuclear Planning Group.
Traffic was reported to have been backed up for several kilometres in the area of Ostrava on Saturday morning as attendees prepared to visit NATO Days and Czech Air Force Days - the largest event of its kind in Central Europe - at the airport in Mošnov. Police reported that traffic was the heaviest from the city of Ostrava itself, where cars were backed up six or seven kilometres, with delays of up to two hours. Tens of thousands of people are attending the air show, where 16 states are taking part, over two days. One of the big attractions is the European 'premiere' of the American CV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft.
The unique CV-22B Osprey aircraft landed at the Mošnov international airport in Ostrava on Friday. The unique half-helicopter half-plane, used by the US Air Force special forces, will be displayed at the annual NATO Days and Czech Air Force Days air show, which will get underway in Ostrava on Saturday. Thousands of visitors are expected to attend the two-day event.
The Czech Republic will offer 150 personnel along with several helicopters to serve in a newly-planned NATO rapid response force, Czech President Milos Zeman said on Friday at the NATO summit. Several thousand members could form the NATO Rapid Force (NRF), which would be capable of going into action within 48 hours. Other options are also being considered. The Czech Defence Minister Martin Stropnický said Prague is also considering other ways of joining the new unit´s operation, mentioning logistics and the country’s specialised anti-chemical unit. The NRF headquarters could be located in in Szczecin, Poland. The new plan is direct reaction by NATO to the Russian annexation of Crimea and alleged military involvement in eastern Ukraine.
The Czech government is sending two experts to the NATO Liaison Office in Kiev to advise the Ukrainian government on a reform of the security sector and on logistics, the news agency ČTK reported. The posting should last two years, the Czech defence and interior ministries said. An expert on information security from the Czech Interior Ministry is already operating in the Ukrainian capital.
Over 700 Czech soldiers are due to take part in the multinational military exercise Saber Junction 2014 at the training grounds in Hohenfels, Germany starting on Sunday. The ten-day exercise will bring together close to 6,000 servicemen from 17 NATO-member countries for a wide range of military operations. During theoretical and practical training soldiers develop skills in tactics, logistics, intelligence, evidence collection and other areas.
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