According to the information released by the Hungarian Defence Minister, István Simicskó, the Hungarian Army remains in need of having 20 thousand reservists maintain a relevant level of readiness. However, no plans have been made to reintroduce conscription.
In his interview in the “Figyelő” paper, the Hungarian Minister of Defence noted that the Hungarian Army of 30 thousand needs 20 thousand reservists with “real skills” remaining at their disposal. Currently the reserve forces in Hungary, alongside the contracted professionals, involve 5500 troops. However, no plans have been made to reintroduce conscription, according to the Hungarian official. Simicskó added that 20 thousand reservists constitute the minimum quantity which would allow the Army to act as a deterrent.
The government also assumes that it is going to be able to restore the capacity which once remained at disposal of the domestic defence industry. In the eyes of the Hungarian Minister, the country has a relevant potential remaining at hand, which is required to manufacture firearms, such as pistols or sniper rifles, or other types of light weaponry. The Minister also hoped that in some sectors, relevant manufacturing initiatives could be undertaken as early as next year. According to the official, between 2026 and 2027 Hungary is going to achieve the 2% of GDP defence expenditure level, which means that this indicator is going to conform with the NATO requirements.
It is worth to note that in the period between 2013 and 2015, Hungary has been spending less than 1% of GDP on defence (1.01% of GDP in 2016, according to the NATO data), while the combat capabilities of the Army are considered to be limited. Following the NATO accession, only a limited quantity of modernization initiatives has been implemented, including procurement of the Gripen jets or Mistral SAMs. Meanwhile, the Army has been facing a number of cuts. At the moment, in the light of the changing security context, the Hungarian government is taking steps, the aim of which is to expand and reinforce the army. Nonetheless, the results may only be expected in a longer term, due to the scope of negligence.