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Brigadier general Kovanda new Head of Czech Military intelligence

Published : 1 November 2012
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Brigadier general Milan Kovanda has been nominated today 1st November 2012 director of the Czech Military Intelligence (Vojenské Zpravodajství- VZ) as announced in Opinicus article of 18th September.

VZ’s flag has been handed over to General Kovanda during a ceremony organized in Lichtenstein Palace under the patronage of Prime Minister Petr Nečas. After five years and four months in command of this highly strategic directorate, Lieutenant General Ondrej Páleník leaves today the active duty after 33 years under the uniform and will join the Administration of State Material Reserves.

General Kovanda, 48, is arriving in an organism that has been deeply influenced by his predecessor during his long period in office. VZ is a powerful institution that is directly located under the Defense Minister and which is operating in various sensitive domains. It is responsible in particular of military intelligence collection and analysis, of counter-intelligence operations but also of Special Forces.

As it was the case for his predecessor, General Kovanda is a pure product of the Special Forces who never served before within the central body of the Military Intelligence. Apart from one intelligence officer course in the United States and the Superior Staff Course of the Defense University in Brno, his only experience of staff work consists of two years as deputy commander of the Joint forces in Olomouc and two other years in SHAPE as liaison officer for Special operations.

So he will have to quickly settle down in his new position directly exposed to the political pressure because he has ahead numerous challenges that will not allow him to rest on his laurels. Important dossiers are requiring his immediate attention: securing his directorate’s budget, preparing the intelligence support to the future withdrawal of the Czech forces from Afghanistan, reorganizing the Military Intelligence with the risk to lose operational command on Special Forces who could be assigned to General Staff. And the current Czech political situation, which is particularly unstable, will not help him to cope with those difficulties. Milan Kovanda will have to build as soon as possible a network of political support if he wants to remain in charge in case of potential change of political majority.