A defence ministry plan to build a CZK 350m Integrated Training Centre for soldiers, police and firefighters by 2020 in the South Moravian town of Vyškov is getting a lukewarm reception over at the interior ministry.
Neither the creation of a working group, which has been meeting on the subject for two years, nor the support of some politicians have helped to get the ball rolling. At issue is rivalry between the services and an unwillingness to share project costs. The army is resisting the carrying of the full burden of the spending. Next up is decision time for the National Security Council.
“The army seeks further development and higher performance via the [existing] Vyškov military academy’s training capacities. We’d welcome all other interested departments sharing in the building costs for the new centre,” said Vladimír Lukovský, a defence ministry spokesperson.
He added that the existing Vyškov academy facilities represented an inherent site advantage, and that these could be further utilised and developed for training purposes. The grounds neighbour the army’s Březina military training facility.
“First we must wait for the results of working group meeting,” said interior ministry spokesperson Hana Malá. “This comprises of, among others, Czech Police Service and Czech Fire Brigade representatives.”
This group has already formulated a joint training concept factoring in members’ feedback. The concept has been seen by both the Parliamentary Committee for Defence and the National Security Council.
“The aim is to jointly create a department which can address a plethora of serious threats, and cultivate effective joint intervention capabilities. Those are the main reasons for closer cooperation by the services,” said Bohuslav Chalupa (ANO), deputy chair of the parliamentary committee.
Available information identifies the key stumbling block as the police force’s unwillingness to fully engage with the project. But the Customs Administration appears ready to use such a facility to help train up to 100 staff annually.
Among the evidence that the army and police services’ relationship is being undermined by longstanding tension is the affair surrounding the abduction of Czechs in Lebanon in 2015. Though they were eventually brought home, the case was plagued by accusations that military intelligence and the secret service, which falls under the interior ministry’s purview, failed to cooperate.