It has become specific folklore to blame any failure in business on the current COVID epidemic. I know that some sectors, such as air transport, all tourism and related services, but also culture, are in an existential crisis thanks to coronavirus. In the industries I work in, it’s about half and half. As the new president of the Jockey Club of the Czech Republic, I am incredibly sorry that we had to practically write off part of the racing season, which is a significant blow not only for the owners of the stables and the operators of the racecourses but also for the spectators themselves. On the contrary, at Glomex Military Supplies, where I am president, we have all been extremely successful in recent months. We managed to supply the Polish army with Ford pickups worth almost three-quarters of a billion Czech crowns. We won several tenders for the supply of technology for military airports. Our sister company Bowenite a.s. won an exclusive contract for the worldwide representation of the unique Czech technology Balbar. Besides, we have negotiated other contracts in several countries around the world. We may have been lucky, but I’d rather say, (I don’t want to be patronizing) we were well prepared – regardless of the COVID.
All this raced through my head when, fourteen days ago, I attended, together with other colleagues from the arms industry and trade, a special seminar in the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic. It was called The Future and Perspectives of the Defense Industry after the Coronavirus Pandemic. After a long time, it was once again an opportunity to express our views on what we will do when the COVID epidemic disappears.
The fundamental question discussed at the seminar was: “How to maintain industrial capacities in the Czech Republic, which are necessary for the state in crises?” No state can maintain 100% of these capacities, but the responsible state has at least the ability to define and enforce their truly strategically necessary capabilities. Maybe then someone won’t like it if his competitors with their services and their abilities will take precedence.
But I don’t know another solution. Only in this way will the state have the resources and capacities to help it overcome the first days, weeks and possibly months of an unforeseen crisis. I do not mean only production capacity, material in warehouses, but also the entire system of logistics service and repairs. The point is for the user of ground, air or any other technology, to know without any doubt who will take care of it and bring it back to a combat-ready state.