The domestic defense industry is essential. Security expert Pojar analyzes arms purchases after the pandemic

The domestic defense industry is essential. Security expert Pojar analyzes arms purchases after the pandemic
07 / 05 / 2020, 10:00

What is the coronavirus crisis already showing us? First of all, that everyone must ultimately rely on themselves. It is primarily up to individual nation states how they will manage the situation and what capacities they have on their own territory that they can mobilize in times of crisis.

Every crisis, including today's one, clearly shows us that states that have long and cleverly invested in their own security, material reserves and reserve capacities are far better off than those that had shortsighted policies and spent all their money on current consumption. Yes, changing material reserves and maintaining reserve capacity costs something, like a functioning army costs something, or police and fire brigade. Insurance also costs something. Investments in defense and security are also a form of insurance. Yet they are priceless in times of crisis.

See also: President of the DSIA (AOBP): if the state wants help from domestic industry in times of crisis, it must maintain its production capacity even in times of non-crisis

In a moment of acute shortage, it is necessary to purchase wherever you can. For example in China. From the first moment, however, it is necessary to think about starting your own production capacity. As soon as possible, we must start purchasing at home. Whoever manages to make the most of domestic resources will ultimately win.

The good news is that it has once again become clear that we can lean on firefighters, police and the army. They are well organized, have a nationwide network and a clear command with clear responsibilities. They have discipline, they are in the service. In addition, it has long enjoyed strong confidence from the otherwise rather skeptical Czech public. Even trust is priceless not only in times of crisis.

Sadly, as always, there was immediate talk of the need for budget cuts at the Ministry of Defense. Yes, we will have to save on current expenses, the time of prosperity and wasting is over. However, saving on investment is always a fatal mistake, and in times of crisis it is doubly true.

The state will have to support the economy and there is always better support in the form of investments than flat-rate expenditures. The Czech Marshall Plan should consist in the effort to complete the highway network and high-speed lines, as well as in the effort to arm a modern army with the maximum involvement of domestic industry. Why? Firstly, because we need the army as well as the fire brigade and the police in times of any crisis, not just in times of war. Let us remember, for example, the floods. And secondly, because investment in defense is also investment not only in one's own security but also in the economy and employment - and this is doubly true in times of crisis.

See also: The Ministry of Defence is purchasing a new fire control system and is promoting the ODIN system, which does not meet the needs of the Czech Army

Just a few examples: In the case of the government's newly agreed purchase of fifteen thousand assault rifles and twenty-one thousand pistols, including accessories from Česká Zbrojovka for 2.357 billion crowns, more than 900 million will be returned to the Czech state's budget from Czech suppliers and employees in direct and indirect taxes. The contract will provide work for 160 people for at least one year. The production capacities necessary not only to ensure the strategic needs of the state, but also to maintain sufficient export capacity will be maintained. Supplies for the Czech Army are a great and often necessary reference in foreign markets.

For example, the state recently concluded a framework agreement with the Vlašim company Sellier Bellot for the supply of ammunition, which allows for the drawing of annual orders at 0.5 billion crowns, which is about 12% of its total production. Even in this case, it is our own production from basic raw materials, ie. both human labor and added value are local. It is also exactly the type of project where the Czech state commits itself to long-term preservation of production capacity on its own territory. And by the way, the company employs 1,550 people and last year paid half a billion crowns in income taxes and employee insurance - the same amount that the state buys from the company every year.

See also: Defence budget cuts after the Chinese virus crisis

For companies from the Czechoslovak Group, the share of domestic industry in the planned delivery of Tatra trucks reaches 85%, the delivery of TITUS vehicles 65% and in the modernization of Pandur vehicles 75%. Each of these contracts will employ a total of hundreds of people. The same certainly applies, for example, to aircraft from Aero Vodochody, radars from the Pardubice companies Era or Retia, to the aircraft engine manufacturer PBS or to the family company Ray Service, which manufactures top electrical systems and cables. At the same time, for all these significantly export-oriented companies, references from the domestic market are absolutely essential for export. At the same time, maintaining their production capacities in the Czech territory is becoming a strategic necessity.

Let us finally begin to look at defense spending as an investment not only in our own defense capabilities and alliances, but also in the economy and employment. Therefore, let us use the experience from the current crisis to build and strengthen scientific, production and service capacities located in our territory. We cannot lose the long-term close connection between science and research, employment, production itself and ensuring defense. In addition, if we act smartly, systematically and in the long term, we can even make significant profits. In the time of the next crisis, this will be the same as it is today.

Author: Tomáš Pojar, Vice-Rector of the Cevro Institute and former diplomat

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