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Multiple changes amongst the Czech Deputy-ministers of Defense

Published : 5 September 2012
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In September 2012 there will be several changes within the deputies of Alexandr Vondra, the Czech Defense Minister. Rudolf, deputy for acquisitions, left his position last 31st August and General Vlastimil Picek, the former Chief of Defense staff, is announced as 1st Deputy- responsible for International relations from 18th September.

The reasons why Mr. Blažek left his position could be linked with his difficulties to get a personnel security clearance (PSC). In last June, Mr. Vondra fixed the limit to obtain this PSC at the end of August. This document is normally issued by National Office of Security (Národní Bezpečnostní Úřad) after a security vetting. It is mandatory to be granted access to classified information.

The vetting procedure started after Rudolf Blažek’s nomination within the Ministry of Defense on 1st March 2011. The man comes from the Prague’s branch of ODS, the liberal conservative party belonging to the ruling coalition from July 2010. Mr. Blažek was deputy of Pavel Bem, the controversial Mayor of Prague from 2002 to 2010 who was close to financial scandals. Mr Blažek’s difficulties could be linked with his responsibilities in the Open Card affair, a project of computerized transportation card which is under current investigation by the police. As deputy in charge of IT, he was directly responsible of this project.

Mr. Blažek said that he was envisaging going back to local politics. Until now he has no formal successor and his area of responsibility will be monitored by Colonel Pavel Bulant, the National Armament Director, who has been nominated Acting deputy for acquisitions.

The other important change within the Czech Ministry of Defense deals with the position of 1st Deputy in charge of International relations. The position was occupied until last August by Mr. Jiří Šedivý who just left to Brussels where he will be the new Czech permanent Representative to NATO.

In order to take over this civilian position on 18th September, General Picek, who left his job of Chief of Defense Staff on 30th June, should get retired during the first half of September. Anyway, he would have been reached by the military age limit in October 2012.

General Picek, who conducted the first part of the reforms following the 2011 White Paper when he was the head of the Czech armed forces, will carry on with a more political job. Criticized by certain observers because of his supposed passivity in front of politicians, he will thus have the opportunity to prove them wrong.