SurfandSnow From United States of America, joined Jan 2009, 2994 posts, RR: 29 Posted (4 years 12 months 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 2457 times:
Good evening friends around the world,
I am curious to hear what the situation is like in your country. It is my understanding that a vast majority of countries still have conscription, with the most notable being Austria, Brazil, China, Egypt, Finland, Germany (though it is ending soon), Greece, Indonesia, Israel, Mexico, Norway, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, and Vietnam.
On the contrary, the likes of Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, France, India, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, the U.K., and the U.S. have fully professional, all-volunteer forces. Some countries, including Costa Rica, have no armed forces at all.
Both lists are somewhat surprising. On the former, you have obvious places like Israel, Taiwan and South Korea with hostile neighbors - thus a need to have a strongly armed citizenry and as many fighters as possible in case of warfare. You also see many countries that are facing major domestic insurgencies (many African countries, Colombia, Mexico, etc.) where they need as many soldiers as possible just to maintain political/social stability. But then you have fully neutral Switzerland, and other bastions of peace like Norway, Finland, and Austria. Why do these countries need to be dragging all of their men into the military?? Today there are absolutely no major conceivable threats to their security given strong E.U. integration..
On the latter, you see many primarily democratic wealthy western countries that can easily afford to pay soldiers enough to make risking their lives worthwhile. But even Pakistan and the Philippines have managed to fund effective world-class militaries in this manner. Why can't other countries of similar size/wealth follow suit?
I'd love to hear your story, especially if you were legally obligated to serve your country.
Here in the U.S., conscription was abolished as a result of the highly unpopular Vietnam War conflict. It is about as likely to be reinstated as, oh let's see...WN ordering 100 A380s! My generation of Americans has been fortunate to grow up in a time where there is no fear of being into deadly conflict unless we specifically choose to do so. In most ways this is a good thing, but maybe the average American could benefit from increased physical activity, military discipline, etc. rather than taking our security and high standard of living for granted??
Flying in the middle seat of coach is much better than not flying at all!
pacificjourney From New Zealand, joined Jul 2001, 2740 posts, RR: 7
Reply 2, posted (4 years 12 months 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 2451 times:
I think you will find that conscription was eneded in the US (and many other places) because the powers that be decided it was an ineffective of staffing military forces in an increasingly technological age and/or an inefficient use of military budget and training staff.
A fulltime professional force was both better and cheaper.
Mortyman From Norway, joined Aug 2006, 4745 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (4 years 12 months 22 hours ago) and read 2371 times:
Having large standing armies is not really the norm any longer. Atleast not in Europe. In Norway we still have conscripts, but fewer than we had during the cold war for instance. There is alot more focus on specialforces and forces that can be used on foreign missions ( Afghanistan, Kosovo etc ). Marines, hunters, snipers, intelligence agents etc. The Norwegian specialforces are considered to be very good. ( Norwegian intelligence agents were already in Afghanistan in 2000 )
Personally I think the government of Norway has too little focus on the defence of Norway. Alot of cuts, but unfortunetly our leaders don't reallly realise that once you cut, it take alot of time to build up again what you have cut, should the need arise.
Norway has mandatory military service of nineteen months for men between the ages of 18.5 (17 with parental consent) and 44 (55 in case of war). Beginning in 2006, the armed forces will also invite females to take a pre-service medical examination, but they will not be drafted unless they sign a declaration of willingness. The actual draft time is six months for the home guard, and twelve months for the regular army, air force and navy.
Naturally the entry into the specialforces units is a whole different ball game
Venus6971 From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 1458 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (4 years 12 months 21 hours ago) and read 2368 times:
I think it you be good for most young Americans to serve their country but as a Senior NCO who would have to train them I don't want to put up with a reluctant draftees attitude. It would not be cost effective in today's military just to keep them for just 2 years unless we put them in the most menial jobs which is now contracted out on most bases expect the Navy on-board a ship. Infantry is heavy on new technology if you compare them to what they go into battle with as to their Viet Nam era fathers. There are discussions going on to open up all combat billets to women and if this happens I foresee women when they turn 18 to also go to the post office and fill out a selective service card.
Another drawback with conscripted forces is the quality, in a mobilization the high standards that we have set up for a a professional military except for the USAF/USN will be thrown aside and just a preliminary physical would take place, 2 arms 2 legs 2 eyes no missing finger or toes he's good, drug screening would not be a factor until they start going through withdrawal in basic where a whole new definition of tough love would happen. The draft would be a study in class warfare, where the rich and politically connected will always get their kids out of it or into the Air Force even if they institute a no college deferment policy unless they are in the ROTC. I imagine a college would not offer scholarships unless a student has a DD214 Honorable discharge or draft deferment.
Another drawback is that mainly conscript units are made to be used up and thrown away, they tend to get the shit end of the stick in which you need them to soften up defenses you throw them into the breach as cannon fodder before you send in highly trained elite troops. No the draft will not be tolerable in the US unless you have someone like Katie Couric or others who regularly vacation in the Hamptons or Martha's Vineyard screaming that she could't get her kids deferred as they board the bus for basic military training. But on the good side if politicians knew their kids ass would be on the line they would be less likely to authorize a military option unless it was absolutely necessary.
GDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13492 posts, RR: 76
Reply 6, posted (4 years 12 months 21 hours ago) and read 2352 times:
In the British experience, conscription was the exception not the rule.
There was a distrust of having a large standing army, lest it be used internally.
It was also not thought to be needed in the main, British power from the 18th to 20th centuries was largely a naval one.
(The infamous 'press gangs' of the Nelson era were in fact largely aimed at recently discharged sailors who were needed to man ships in time of threat, not as legend has it, just plucking some poor unfortunate off the streets around ports).
Having a 20 mile moat called the English Channel as well as the continental powers often being divided with constantly shifting alliances, also made the retention of a large standing army mostly not needed.
All that changed with WW1, though actual conscription did not happen until midway through that war, the patriotic call for volunteers prior to that would be the largest all volunteer force ever assembled in Britain. When the bloodbath on the Western Front accelerated only then did conscription come in.
After it became obvious to even Chamberlain and much of the establishment that Hitler was just not going to stop, conscription started up again in the months leading up to the start of WW2, being quickly expanded after the declaration of war.
However in this conflict it went beyond purely the military, the loss of manpower to the military in the coal mining industry - then providing over 90% of the power generation, saw boys in their late teens sent down the pits, some in lieu of military service, some even from very privileged backgrounds.
After WW2, it was thought that conscription was over. In 1947, it began again.
Though worn out and essentially bankrupted, the country still have massive overseas obligations, though Indian independence ended one of these, aside from all the other Imperial/Commonwealth commitments, there was also the large garrison in the divided Germany, as well as actual combat operations against Communists in Southern Europe.
Insurgencies in Malaya, Kenya, the Suez Canal Zone, Cyprus, what is now Yemen, the bloody battle against Jewish militants in Palestine (who called themselves 'terrorists' - oh the irony!), then the large (second only to the US) commitment to the Korean war, meant that the stereotypical image of this period of 'National Service' of conscripts stuck in remote, dingy barracks doing pointless menial tasks between long spells of boredom, was in fact for many, far from the reality.
(My own father was of that generation, though the furthest he got was Germany, he remembered cold winters, intensive NATO exercises).
The development of the UK nuclear force along with NATO policy of deterrence it brought, allowed the UK to end conscription at the end of the 1950's, the last National Servicemen exiting in 1962.
Most conscripts served two years, as the above mentioned, quite a few saw active combat in that period.
There was not much in the way of opposition to it, just mostly for some, a dull resentment, many (like dad) learned a trade, others just got away from home, mixed with others from different regions and social classes for the first time.
But the armed forces in the UK have always preferred being a smaller but highly trained force and were glad to be back to that historical norm.
Worth mentioning that even at the peak of Britannia's power, with a quarter of the world under the Union Jack, this was maintained by a small (by European standards) professional army. Only in it's dissolution was a conscript army involved.
ManuCH From Switzerland, joined Jun 2005, 3030 posts, RR: 44
Reply 7, posted (4 years 12 months 19 hours ago) and read 2307 times:
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That's correct, in Switzerland we still have the military draft, although our Army keeps getting smaller and smaller (we currently have 190'000 officers and soldiers in a nation of 7.8M inhabitants).
During the draft, the draftee can choose not to join the Army, but to join the civil service instead (like community service in retirement homes and hospitals), although there's an ongoing discussion that many young people choose the civil service because they're too lazy and don't want to endure military discipline. Therefore it may very well be that they become more restrictive in giving that choice, and only allow those who are able to bring convincing arguments in the civil service.
It may be true that an Army solely based on professionals and volunteers would be more efficient in Switzerland. Being such a small country, I'm afraid we wouldn't find enough professional and volunteers to build an Army large enough for our needs. This is today's purpose of our Army:
- avoid war and maintain peace
- defend Switzerland and its population
- give contributions to international peace promotion
- sustain civil authorities in case of grave endangerment of national security and in case of natural catastrophes in Switzerland and abroad, when necessary
There are several branches of our Army which could be re-organized or even abolished in my opinions, but things like these require years, if not decades. I've seen 2 major reforms of the Army (Army '95 and Army XXI) and several steps forward have been made. Unfortunately, several other steps have been made backwards. I'm sure we will get it right sooner or later.
QFKangaroo747 From Australia, joined Nov 2004, 121 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (4 years 12 months 19 hours ago) and read 2300 times:
Quoting SurfandSnow (Thread starter): On the contrary, the likes of Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, France, India, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, the U.K., and the U.S. have fully professional, all-volunteer forces. Some countries, including Costa Rica, have no armed forces at all.
Actually, Australia never abolished conscription - we just haven't used it since Vietnam when there was a partial conscription (by birthdate 'lottery'). If the government wanted to conscript again, lawmakers wouldn't have to do anything, it's still on the books.
N801NW From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 744 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (4 years 12 months 19 hours ago) and read 2291 times:
The US wouldn't have to do much either. The Selective Service Administration is still in business. As as adult male between 18 and 26 you still have to register with them for a potential draft. Registration must be done within 30 days of your 18th birthday. Failure to do so mean ineligibility for a wide range or government benefits and jobs.
sw733 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 6506 posts, RR: 8
Reply 10, posted (4 years 12 months 19 hours ago) and read 2286 times:
Namibia has no conscription. You have to be 18 to volunteer, but nobody is forced to do so.
CIA World Factbook says we spend 3.7% of our GDP on military expenditures, which is 31st highest in the world. Pretty high for a country with no real hostile neighbors (South Africa, Angola, Botswana and Zambia)
I see that some of my previous info need a little uppdate:
Norwegian Armed Forces
Navy (Coast Guard)
Commander-in-Chief King Harald V
Minister of Defense Grete Faremo
Chief of staff General Harald Sunde
Military age 18-44 years of age for male compulsory military service; 16 years of age in wartime; 17 years of age for male volunteers; 18 years of age for women
Conscription 12-month service obligation, in practice shortened to 8 to 9 months (2009)
military service 1,078,181 males, age 16-49 (2008 est.),
1,046,550 females, age 16-49 (2008 est.)
military service 888,219 males, age 16-49 (2008 est.),
863,255 females, age 16-49 (2008 est.)
age annually 31,980 males (2008 est.),
30,543 females (2008 est.)
Active personnel 26,200 
Percent of GDP 1.9% of GDP (2005 est.)
WildcatYXU From Canada, joined May 2006, 2881 posts, RR: 5
Reply 12, posted (4 years 12 months 18 hours ago) and read 2261 times:
Quoting SurfandSnow (Thread starter): I'd love to hear your story, especially if you were legally obligated to serve your country.
The situation in Canada is well known. No conscription here. The situation in the old country (Slovakia) is the same. However, it wasn't always like this.
Since I'm 45 years old (well, actually only 44 years and 364 days) and Slovakia is only 18, I was born and raised in communist Czechoslovakia. All communist countries had conscription at the time. In Czechoslovakia, the standard service time was 2 years and it started immediately after finishing high school. There was an exception though. University students had their military service postponed. During 4 semesters we had to attend military training once a week in the school's military facility. I was assigned, along with my classmates, to the air force's ground services. The training ended with one month in a regular army facility and an exam. The exam was to be used to as guidance for our future rank. I finished the school military training with mark 2 and suggested rank of second lieutenant. This training took care of one year of the military service and I would have to serve one year after graduation. But it didn't happen. I graduated in 1990, few months after the communist government fell. The new government shortened the military service and introduced the civil service option. For various reasons I took on it and spent 13.5 months working for our local hospital as a technical specialist (with a pay of army private, so basically no pay). It turned out to be a very good move for me, since during this time found myself a job in medical instrumentation that I was doing until I left Slovakia in 2001.
After Czechoslovakia was split, the 2 new countries maintained their conscript armies for several years. The size of the armies was gradually decreased by shortening the service time in both countries, until the mandatory military service was finally abolished in both countries and the armies became fully professional. It happened in 2003 in Slovakia, however I don't know when did it happen in Czech Republic. What was interesting, a big portion of population in both countries was against it. The supporters of conscription argued that the people's army is better suited to defend the homeland than a professional one (they actually used the word mercenaries). I disagree with this point of view - in fact, the People's Army of Czechoslovakia failed in it's role twice in mere 30 years - first time in 1939 and the second time in 1968. OK, it wasn't the army, but the government. But then, if a country is not willing to use it's army - does it even need one?
Fly2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (4 years 12 months 18 hours ago) and read 2236 times:
Quoting SurfandSnow (Thread starter): You also see many countries that are facing major domestic insurgencies (many African countries, Colombia, Mexico
Lets set one thing straight: there is no insurgency in Mexico. There's not a war going on there for pete's sake as much as the media likes to overblow the issue.
Anyways, back on topic: conscription in Mexico is little more than community service, or military service rather. You go through basic weapons training and physical education, but mostly perform community support activities like reforestation, disaster relief, etc. You are expected to sign up as soon as you turn 18, males go through a sort of lottery system. Females are voluntary. Once your service period is over you get your "cartilla militar" which is your discharge form.
I was reading a piece last summer about Turkey, which was in the process of developing a few volunteer brigades of 40,000 mostly to serve in Eastern Turkey to deal with Kurds for people after their regular conscription was over.
The article clearly mentioned that if an all volunteer army was established in Turkey, its defence budget would rise virtually 80% overnight. Today they have almost a million men in uniform in the various services combined at essentially free (or simply at clothing, housing and food cost), where a volunteer force would be paid a salary for their service. You'd go from a situation where labor cost are essentially minimal, to one that would be the primary cost of the armed forces.
(eg in the US, pay, housing, medical, and benefits account for 41% of DoD budget).
From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
Zkpilot From New Zealand, joined Mar 2006, 5194 posts, RR: 9
Reply 15, posted (4 years 12 months 17 hours ago) and read 2210 times:
Quoting SurfandSnow (Thread starter): But then you have fully neutral Switzerland, and other bastions of peace like Norway, Finland, and Austria. Why do these countries need to be dragging all of their men into the military??
Switzerland has always done its own thing, and well they are rich enough that they can afford to do so.
The other 3 countries have lived next to the Red Bear for 50 years. Sure the Soviet Union is no more but Russia is still pretty powerful. Military training has other benefits to society in general but as others have mentioned lately most countries have been downsizing their military. Pretty much the only substantial military in the world to be growing is China and India.
rfields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7804 posts, RR: 32
Reply 16, posted (4 years 12 months 17 hours ago) and read 2170 times:
Quoting GDB (Reply 6): In the British experience, conscription was the exception not the rule.
The draft is also seldom used in the US. We've not had a tradition of military service by a significant percentage of our male population outside wartime through most of our history. The draft was really only used once during peace time - from after the Korean War until Vietnam. That was also the period when the US military expanded into a global army/ navy and air force.
Quoting N801NW (Reply 9): The US wouldn't have to do much either. The Selective Service Administration is still in business. As as adult male between 18 and 26 you still have to register with them for a potential draft. Registration must be done within 30 days of your 18th birthday. Failure to do so mean ineligibility for a wide range or government benefits and jobs.
It would take 45 to 90 days to staff up the local draft boards, bring the eligible young men in and evaluate them. Then they start issuing deferments for various reasons. The planning is for the first draftees to arrive at 'boot camp' about 180 days after the draft is initiated.
The military could not even begin to train draftees in less than six months because we don't have the basic training facilities for large numbers of troops.
Quoting BMI727 (Reply 1): I think that you'd be surprised. If the shit hit the fan and we needed bodies, it would probably come back pretty quickly.
Today's Army, Navy and Air Force require people with intelligence, ability to learn and use modern electronic devices, willing to be trained and motivated to do a good job. Sending folks to a place like Afghanistan with the training equivalent that my father had in WWII would only result in massive casualties.
Instituting a draft quickly and shoving troops into combat is a plan for disaster, a plan to loose a fight.
Quoting Venus6971 (Reply 5): I think it you be good for most young Americans to serve their country but as a Senior NCO who would have to train them I don't want to put up with a reluctant draftees attitude. It would not be cost effective in today's military just to keep them for just 2 years unless we put them in the most menial jobs which is now contracted out on most bases expect the Navy on-board a ship.
I joined the Navy in 1972, and served with some Army draftees when I was in Vietnam. I rose to SCPO over the next 16 years, and retired after 20 in 1992. I fully agree that a 2 year draftee is less than useless.
One of the biggest reasons for the draft in our history, and especially in the 50s and early 60s, is not to provide fighting men for the front lines. It is to provide cheap labor for all the myriad tasks that need to be done to support a worldwide military.
We don't need that many bodies anymore. For two reasons, we no longer have a need for a 8 million person military, and technology. Over the past four decades the improvements in technology have eliminated the need for thousands of people in uniform to do various jobs. The equipment that used to take 20 electronics techs to maintain on a ship in 1970 today takes 4. Even the supply system has eliminated huge numbers of clerks who tracked inventory with efficient computer systems. Over and over and over - the military has used technology to reduce the need for grunt labor, or even paper shufflers.
Quoting LAXintl (Reply 14): You can argue about better, but cheaper I doubt.
It cost several thousand dollars to put a soldier through boot camp, to train him on the basics of using weapons and military discipline, standards and organization. Also to train him in the basics of small unit tactics.
Then to put him/her in the galley on KP, or mowing the grass.
I can hire people who want to do that job for less than $10 per hour. A full man year of labor for menial tasks from a civilian costs less than training one soldier or sailor.
Yes, the base pay of a draftee would likely be near $17,000 in their first year - a little cheaper than a $10 per hour worker. But by the second year it would be higher.
For a long, long time Switzerland has been the poster child for the concept of "Peace Through Superior Firepower"
Their stance of having a strong military, in times past down to the level of most men between 18 and 50 having a service weapon and ammunition in their home, makes any military professional think long and hard about how difficult it would be to fight, and subdue such a population. Not to mention really horrible terrain for an attacker.
On the other hand, the Swiss have made it well known that anyone attacking them will suffer every economic attack the Swiss banking system can muster.
It is real easy to be neutral when you have the military power and government will to back it up.
Flighty From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 9808 posts, RR: 3
Reply 18, posted (4 years 12 months 17 hours ago) and read 2158 times:
Conscription has many benefits because it involves the populace mentally in what they are supporting politically and economically.
The downside of a "professional" mindset is, the capitalist upper class believes these "employees" are below them and their family. And I'm in favor of capitalism, very much so. But if we are declaring war, I believe a draft is appropriate. It's not the most efficient way to kill, but it is a morally consistent way for our society to take action overseas.
rfields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7804 posts, RR: 32
Reply 19, posted (4 years 12 months 17 hours ago) and read 2156 times:
Most of the time when I see proposals to bring back the draft in the US, it is not about military need, but about establishing a social program to instill 'values' in young people by serving their country.
I'm not really opposed to such a concept/ program. Just don't use the military as the nation's babysitters.
We had a very good program which trained a lot of young men in useful skills. They served this nation well, and looked back on their service with pride. It was called the Civilian Conservation Corps. I actually had more older male relatives serve in CCC than in the WWII military.
We have a great need in the US for a lot of 'public service work' to be done. We have a lot of people without skills or effective job training. Combine the two into a program based on a semi-military structure. Put the people in for a minimum term, provide some small benefit for completion of the program.
Doona From Sweden, joined Feb 2005, 3798 posts, RR: 13
Reply 20, posted (4 years 12 months 16 hours ago) and read 2136 times:
Quoting SurfandSnow (Thread starter): But then you have fully neutral Switzerland, and other bastions of peace like Norway, Finland, and Austria. Why do these countries need to be dragging all of their men into the military?? Today there are absolutely no major conceivable threats to their security given strong E.U. integration..
Firstly, the idea among the "neutral" European countries has been to maintain their own defences (mainly during the Cold War), usually coupled with a large domestic defence industry, so as to not become too dependent on either foreign military forces and/or defence companies.
Secondly, conscription in these countries does not mean mass mobilization. Far from everyone does military service. I had to show up for muster when I was 18, but it was basically enough to tell them that I wasn't really interested for them to "release" me.
Sure, we're concerned for our lives. Just not as concerned as saving 9 bucks on a roundtrip to Ft. Myers.
PPVRA From Brazil, joined Nov 2004, 9088 posts, RR: 36
Reply 21, posted (4 years 12 months 16 hours ago) and read 2131 times:
Quoting SurfandSnow (Thread starter): On the contrary, the likes of Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, France, India, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, the U.K., and the U.S. have fully professional, all-volunteer forces.
Not quite all-volunteer. It's voluntary to join, but you are not allowed to quit, which means there are people there involuntarily.
"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
Venus6971 From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 1458 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (4 years 12 months 16 hours ago) and read 2127 times:
My Grandfather was in the CCC and he never could stop talking about it when he helped build many of the structures at Crater Lake Natl Park. They were supervised by military personel but were better payed than the troops supervising them.
Now what I find with that program is that most of the structures they built were built to last and are still being used.
It is amazing when someone has earned some pride in something how it stays with them through a lifetime.
GDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13492 posts, RR: 76
Reply 24, posted (4 years 12 months 16 hours ago) and read 2116 times:
There is a factor stopping any new conscription in the UK - not that it is ever foreseeable in any realistic scenarios.
They'd be nothing to equip them with, from guns to garments, boots to barracks, it's not there and would take literally years to reinstate.
Not a recent thing either, even 25-30 years ago when the Cold war was still on and defence spending to GDP was twice what it is now, the same situation existed.
They'd have be enough to very basically equip some several tens of thousands called up from the reserve list, not the part time TA and similar in other branches, but from the list of more recently discharged ex servicemen and specialists, that was about all though.
In open Western nations, dissent against war is allowed, the forces are defending that right to free speech, today it's just so hard to imagine either the UK or US ever bringing back any kind of compulsory military service.
In Vietnam the dissent against that conflict was greatly enhanced by the Draft, you might even argue that as it escalated and the sons of the more affluent, more active in voting and therefore influencing politicians, started to go, more to the point, when they came back killed or maimed in greater numbers, that was a tipping point.
This of course was a conflict depicted nightly on TV, not in letters from home or days old dispatches to the press.
The nearest thing the UK got to that, was in 1956, when the ill, somewhat unbalanced Prime Minister Anthony Eden, took part in the ill fated and ill thought out operation to secure the Suez Canal, in a conspiracy also involving France and Israel.
It not only saw the first major anti war demos in modern British history, the divisive nature of the whole scheme had many reservists scrawl 'Bollocks' on their call up papers, as well as some minor strikes and sit ins with active conscripts.
Some of these would have been veterans of Korea and other conflicts, not peaceniks.
Imagine the controversial Iraq war with Draftees? Would it have retained the political support of the first few years of it within the US in general?
It might have solved the 'too few troops after the fall of Saddam' issue though just as likely have created a whole bunch of others.
Just to clarify, the draft isn't being abolished in Germany, it's merely being suspended indefinitely. The last recruits were drafted on January 1st though officially, the draft is indefinitely suspended starting on July 1st.
Quoting ManuCH (Reply 7): During the draft, the draftee can choose not to join the Army, but to join the civil service instead (like community service in retirement homes and hospitals)
Same in Germany, but with the indefinite suspension of the draft, the civil service also ends.