Country Overview U.S. FOREIGN POLICY AND FOREIGN ASSISTANCE OBJECTIVES & PRIORITIES
The United States and the Czech Republic share strong historical ties and fundamental values of democracy and market economics. As a legacy of its struggle against communist dictatorship, the Czech Republic has embraced a pro-transatlantic foreign policy and supported democratic transformation around the world. With its membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), European Union (EU), and the World Trade Organization (WTO), combined with increasing awareness of its role in international affairs, the Czech Republic has proven an important ally in promoting democracy, market reforms, anti-terrorism, and non-proliferation. The Czech Republic is currently in negotiations with the U.S. to place a U.S. Missile Defense radar facility in the Czech Republic.
The last year for new bilateral transitional development funding to the Czech Republic was FY 1997, although some additional funding for public diplomacy and democracy initiatives were provided to Czech Republic and other graduate countries through FY 2003. Some forms of non-development assistance to the Czech Republic continued through FY 2007. USG assistance to the Czech Republic is concentrated on promoting Peace and Security. OPERATING ENVIRONMENT
The June 2006 general elections resulted in a deadlock with the 200-seat Parliament evenly divided, and it took over seven months for a new government to win Parliamentary approval. This situation limits prospects for any serious or controversial reforms. Nevertheless, the resulting three-party coalition government led by the right-of-center Civic Democrat party (ODS) passed a public finance reform bill in August 2007, with promises of further reforms in pension and healthcare systems. In September 2007, the Czech Republic started negotiations with the U.S. to place a missile defense radar facility in the Czech Republic. This is a highly contentious issue for domestic politics with significant potential peace and security implications. Negotiations are expected to be concluded in spring 2008.
FY 2007 Country Program PerformancePEACE AND SECURITY
USG objectives for Peace and Security assistance are to support Stabilization Operations and Security Sector Reform. USG funding in this area supported the purchase tactical communications and other equipment to enhance interoperability; English language training; grant opportunities to all levels of command; focused military-to-military events on joint combat exercises and training; development and implementation of a centralized personnel system, acquisition system and professional non-commissioned officer (NCO) Corps; defense advisory services focused on the development of a long-range planning, programming and budgeting system to ensure personnel, training and procurement decisions are in line with Czech and NATO military goals; focused military-to-military events to increase chemical-biological-radiological-nuclear NATO niche capabilities; equipment and training opportunities for the NATO niche capabilities forces; and improved consequence management capabilities through expanding U.S. Department of Defense and Inter-agency contacts with the Joint CBRN Defense Center of Excellence.
In FY 2007 USG funding also supported defense reform activities, training and the development of niche capabilities. Ninety-four students went to training courses and educational programs in the United States, and a Mobile Training Team from the Defense Institute of International Legal Studies trained 25 military personnel in the Czech Republic.
Training continues to support professionalizing the armed forces, especially in the area of NCO leadership development, a critical requirement for the Czech armed forces since the conscription system ended in December 2004. With the help of USG advisors, the Czech Republic has continued exploring options for establishing Strategic Airlift capabilities to meet its commitments to NATO with CY 2008 as the target year for the release of a tender for aircraft. USG security assistance officers are assisting with the evaluation of the C-130J as a potential model to fulfill this.