Volunteer reserve troops could quadruple by 2026, and would monitor Hungary’s towns for “suspicious persons”

October 9, 2017

Volunteer reserve troops could quadruple by 2026, and would monitor Hungary's towns for "suspicious persons"
Photo: Facebook/Viktor Orbán

Hungary’s system of volunteer reserve soldiers helps to strengthen “societal cohesion,” which is important in defending against terrorism, Defense Minister István Simicskó said Monday on state television. Simicskó added that an increased number of reserve soldiers could more efficiently detect if “suspicious persons” who might intend to commit terrorist acts appear in given areas.

Simicskó’s reference to more reserve soldiers monitoring for “suspicious persons” contradicts current Hungarian law that only gives police legal authority to stop and identify civilians, however suspicious. Neither enlisted soldiers nor volunteer reserves have legal authority to stop suspicious persons (a decidedly vague term), and according to mno.hu, the only way volunteer reserves could assist in identifying such suspicious persons based on Simicskó’s statements would be to inform the police.

The defense minister also said that the army will have 1,000 additional volunteer reserves by the end of the year. Simicskó announced at the end of September that Hungary would increase the number of volunteer reserve troops to 20,000 by 2026, four times the current amount.