Cultural change is inevitable within the defense forces

The Hungarian Defense Forces are undergoing a major transformation to modernize the force and ensure its continued role in the international community.

The Defense and Force Development Program (Zrínyi 2026), which covers the entire Hungarian defense sector, has already achieved significant outcomes.

The sector has been restructured, a sophisticated command-and-control system has been established, and programs for the procurement of armaments and the development of the domestic defense industry have been initiated.

Hungary is a committed NATO ally, participating in peacekeeping operations and meeting its obligations to the best of its ability.

Hungarian soldiers have distinguished themselves by serving with distinction in a variety of operations, including peacekeeping missions in war zones; internal home-defense tasks; and the handling of natural disasters, the migration crisis, and the coronavirus pandemic.

Unfortunately, despite these necessary integral changes in the Hungarian Defense Forces, some soldiers have been unable to fully utilize their skills.

In order to maintain our military presence in these turbulent times and keep up with rapid technological advancements, the Hungarian Defense Forces must embrace new technologies and new ways of thinking as soon as possible.

This necessitates modernized human resource management, with a focus on digital literacy and command doctrines, as well as fluency in English, all of which necessitates the replacement of some officers to ease the emergence of a new generation of commanders.

Our goal is to create a high-tech, 21st-century Hungarian armed forces, that preserves centuries of Hungarian military traditions while adapting to and implementing the ever-changing tools of the trade.

Therefore, the Defense Service Allowance (DSA) has been created to support these changes and provide a solid foundation for post-service life, including allowing soldiers to continue working if they choose to.

This allowance can be granted to soldiers over the age of 45 who have served for at least 25 years.

It includes 70 percent of their salary along with continued healthcare benefits, housing assistance, a widow's pension, and the right to wear the uniform, even if the soldier obtains a civilian job.

This measure is extremely beneficial in ensuring that if deemed necessary, veteran soldiers have a dignified and equitable form of support and that they remain valued members of the community and comradery of the HDF, demonstrating its commitment to its soldiers.

The new generation of commanders who will take their place have big shoes to fill, and they must carry on the Hungarian military tradition, building upon the foundations that their predecessors left.

Consequently, the Defense Service Allowance is an essential step toward modernizing the force and keeping up with the technological advancements of the Hungarian Defense Forces' transformation.

The author of this guest post is Hungary's Minister of Defense.