September 7, 2016

Conscription Is No Longer A “Dirty” Word in Europe

The Dutch newspaper TROUW ran a front-page story about the return of conscription in Europe, with Lithuania being the first country to have reinstated mandatory military service in the post-Cold War era.

The Dutch newspaper TROUW ran a front-page story about the return of conscription in Europe, with Lithuania being the first country to have reinstated mandatory military service in the post-Cold War era.

The article focuses on the ongoing debate in Sweden and quotes ICDS Head of Studies Tomas Jermalavičius, who was interviewed for the story. It argues that the return of conscription is driven by new geopolitical realities such as Russia‘s war against Ukraine, its annexation of Crimea and its generally offensive strategy towards the West, as demonstrated by frequent large scale “snap“ exercises, often featuring a nuclear strike against targets that even include Sweden. Analysis of the homeland defence requirements of the countries that feel most exposed to potential Russian military aggression has revealed inadequate territorial defence capabilities and a scarcity of military reserves. As a result, a number of countries which had previously switched to all-volunteer forces – a format better geared towards expeditionary crisis management operations outside national territory — are reconsidering the strategic benefits of conscription. This is especially the case in Sweden, which is not a member of NATO and cannot rely on the Alliance‘s collective defence guaruantees, and which has struggled to fill its force structure with personnel ever since suspending the mandatory military draft.
Read more (in Dutch): Trouw.NL

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