PRAGUE (Sputnik) – Number of people willing to serve in the Slovakian army continues to decrease, with the recruitment level falling by a third over the past five years, Slovakian Defense Minister Peter Gajdos said on Wednesday.
“In 2016, 1,600 people expressed desire to serve in the army, which is by 32.2 percent less than in 2012. In the first six months of this year, the number of those wishing [to serve] has fell by another 18 percent, compared to the same period of the past year,” the minister said, adding that “57 percent of those willing to join the army ranks do not meet the physical, psychological or educational requirements for service.”
Another negative factor is the fact that the salaries in the Armed Forces are increasingly falling behind those in the civil sector, the minister said, adding that the ongoing modernization of the equipment also increases demands for the professional background of the recruits.
In 2015, Slovak President Andrej Kiska announced that the country was ready to launch an across-the-board armed forces modernization, focusing on cutting its dependence on Russian military hardware.
Earlier in September, local media reported that the Slovak Defense Ministry was planning to spend over $7.7 billion on modernization projects by 2030.