The Hungarian Defense Forces are facing a historic opportunity to renew themselves and become a powerful and determined military force, the Minister of Defense said on Friday in Budapest at a central ceremony held on the occasion of the Day of Defense. Hungarian soldiers managed to retake Buda Castle on May 21, 1849, at the end of the spring campaign, after a three-week siege. To commemorate this, May 21 has been the Day of Defense since 1992. On this occasion, The Ministry of Defense and the Hungarian Defense Forces organized a Family Day on Sunday in Budapest’s City Park.
Speaking at the Defense Experience Center, Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky highlighted that the Hungarian army had so far contained many good things in parts and elements, but it was “not yet what we all would like to see,” a force capable of guaranteeing 100 percent security for the Hungarian people within the NATO framework. Now everything is “coming together” for this, he emphasized.
The defense minister stressed: President Katalin Novák, as the army’s commander-in-chief, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán as the head of the government, and he personally, as a minister, are committed to the renewal of the Hungarian armed forces. He added that the resources are now available for the reorganization, and despite the difficult economic situation caused by the war,
the Ministry of Defense is the winner of next year’s budget, as two percent of GDP can be spent on the development and operation of the Defense Forces.
The minister also spoke about the tasks facing the Hungarian army. He stressed the importance of acquiring new equipment to replace the many elements of the current equipment that are useless with modern, 21st-century, digital, NATO-compatible ones.
Lynx infantry fighting vehicle displayed on family day, organized by the Hungarian Defense Forces and the Ministry of Defense to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the military. Photo: MTI/Lakatos Péter
Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky added that a profound change in the organizational culture of the military is also needed so that the forces are made up of combat-ready, brave soldiers, and an important element of this transformation is rejuvenation.
The third area to be improved is the organization of the army, which he said includes the creation of the Territorial Defense Forces Command. As the minister pointed out, the Territorial Defense Forces have not received the attention they deserve, even though this force provides the army with territorial coverage of the country, local presence, and in addition to its military value, it also plays an important role in social relations.
A parade of cavalry hussars. Photo: MTI/Lakatos Péter
The minister added that the Hungarian Defense Forces have undergone countless transformations in the past 175 years, but now they have a historic chance to become a combat-ready force. He emphasized that the transformation is not easy and involves great sacrifices, but asked everyone to help make it easier.
On the left a Leopard 2A4HU military fighting vehicle, and behind it a PZH 2000 self-propelled howitzer. Photo: MTI/Lakatos Péter
The Hungarian Defense Forces were also welcomed by President Katalin Novák, their Commander-in-Chief, who wrote in her welcome speech that “you are the guarantors of Hungary’s independence, freedom and security.”
“Today, when war is raging in our neighborhood, Hungarians rely even more on your service to keep our country and our families safe. We are proud of you, and we ask you to look to your brave predecessors as an example in your daily service and never forget your oath: ‘for the Homeland to the death!’ God bless the Hungarian Defense Forces and the privates!”, read the greeting published on the Sándor Palace website.
Featured photo via MTI/Lakatos Péter