The Ministry of Defence did not have enough basic equipment for soldiers in 2015 and 2016. Its purchase planning was amiss.

Press release to audit No 18/17 – 10 June 2019

The Supreme Audit Office examined how the Ministry of Defence (MoD) had acted in the planning, acquisition, and delivery of the Czech Army’s equipment in the years 2015-2017. The audit showed that the MoD had wrongly planned the purchase of clothing, laundry, footwear, and other equipment. In the years under review, the difference between the value of the equipment to which the soldiers were entitled and the funds which the MoD spent on it was around CZK 1 billion per year. Due to low storage stocks, in 2015 and 2016, the Ministry had to limit the delivery of the equipment which the soldiers needed for the performance of their service. Moreover, the system of dispensing the equipment was outdated.

Every year, approximately CZK 1 billion less was expended by the MoD on the equipment for soldiers than was the value of the equipment to which the soldiers were entitled. In 2018, the MoD issued a new regulation by which it increased the value of the equipment for male soldiers by 85 % compared to 2017, and by 90 % for female soldiers. However, the MoD planned to increase the budget for acquisition of the equipment only by 31 %. The approved budget for the purchase of the equipment was even by 16 % lower than in 2017.

Thus, it is possible that the situation of the years 2015 and 2016 will repeat. At that time, the MoD had to limit the dispensing of the equipment to soldiers due to low stock reserves. Indeed, the MoD has all the data to be able to plan the purchase of the equipment as necessary but it has not established internal procedures for situations where some parts of the equipment in the warehouses are low. On the other hand, the equipment for crisis situations has been secured and the MoD has plans and procedures for its purchase.

Moreover, according to auditors, the way how the equipment is dispensed is out of date. Soldiers have to pick it up in four dispensing offices — in Prague, Tábor, Brno, and Vyškov. However, they cannot reserve it in advance. Therefore, it may happen that the equipment suitable to him/her will not be at disposal on site. Since 2004, the MoD, however, has been considering a change in the dispensing of the equipment. For example, outsourcing or an ‘e-shop’ were envisaged. But none of the aforementioned has been realized. Finland, for example, has a more favourable system in several aspects. The equipment is outsourced by an external contractor, ordered by soldiers through an electronic system, and delivered by post.

Communication Department
Supreme Audit Office

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