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Rebirth of Conscription

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Rebirth of Conscription

Old 21st Jan 2017, 18:11
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Rebirth of Conscription

Bring back the draft. No, really. ? POLITICO

STOCKHOLM — If Sweden reinstitutes the draft, as it is expected to do within a couple of months, many will report the move as a return to a previous era. For centuries, young men in Europe were conscripted for military service to protect countries from invasion. Then came the 1990s and the presumed end of history. With territorial wars considered a thing of the past, large European powers scrapped compulsory military service in favor of smaller professional armed forces. The return to conscription is both a sign of more uncertain times and the result of difficulties Sweden has had in filling its military roster with only volunteer forces. But it would be a mistake to write off the effort as a rollback of progress. Sweden’s initiative will show the draft in its modern incarnation: targeted, highly selective, and applied to both men and women.

When Sweden suspended the draft seven years ago, it joined a growing club: Countries including France, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands had taken the same step in the nineties, and Germany did so in 2011. Its reinstatement reflects a consensus in the country that the experiment has failed. “......

The highly selective draft represents a sea change. No longer do Swedes, Norwegians and Lithuanians with no mental or physical aptitude for the military have to endure a year of instructions and exercises they detest. Indeed, the modern military employs sophisticated equipment that should not be entrusted to youngsters who’d much rather be somewhere else. “When I did my military service everybody had to serve, and if you were less able you worked in support functions like postman,” recalled Eksell. “The selective draft will help us move from military service as something you’re forced to do to something you’re selected to do.” Or as Kjersti Klćboe, the head of the Norwegian defense ministry’s personnel department, told me: “Producing soldiers is no longer about filling quotas and units. Instead we pay more attention to the quality and skills — the added value — of every soldier.” The 21st-century draft is for top achievers.....

But the modern, super-selective draft is different. Though armed forces are having to refocus on territorial defense, they don’t need soldiers for trenches. As Šapkinaitė pointed out, they need highly skilled young men and women who can be trusted with expensive high-tech equipment. And the best conscripts are given positions of responsibility a 19-year-old could only dream of in civilian life.

Having performed military service is no longer a minus (“too stupid to get out of it”) or a neutral point on one’s CV — it’s the mark of a young man or woman of particular potential. A survey among Norway’s current class of conscripts shows 90 percent of women and 83 percent of the men are pleased with their experience. The public, too, seems to be on board. A 2016 survey found 73 percent of Norwegians support the gender-neutral draft, up from 63 percent in 2014. In a September 2016 poll, 62 percent of Swedes supported the new, gender-neutral draft. And an April 2016 poll in Lithuania showed 52 percent of the country supports the return of conscription........
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Old 21st Jan 2017, 23:37
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Might help Sweden solve its problems with recently arrived young males from the Middle East too!
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Old 21st Jan 2017, 23:47
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What do you think would happen to civil aviation in case of war ?
Would the state/army commandeer both the airplanes and their pilots (all of them) in order to support the military effort ??
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Old 22nd Jan 2017, 05:34
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Probably not too far off for the UK either; given our low number of forces personnel in the event of a crisis !
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Old 22nd Jan 2017, 07:15
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The Scandinavians seem to view conscription as a much more 'national character-building' exercise than other Europeans. Finland has continued conscription without a break, while in the Baltics Estonia has done the same. In response to concerns over Russia, Lithuania reintroduced conscription last year.
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Old 22nd Jan 2017, 07:23
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No chance it would ever be introduced in the United Kingdom as there is no (no) requirement, but other European countries, such as Belgium, are considering it because of two issues: the on-going internal security requirement and, secondly, the ageing of their forces (average age of a Belgian SP is 46!).
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Old 22nd Jan 2017, 07:38
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Given that there would be no instructors available, nowhere to train conscripts, little for them to do that would be worth the cost and effort - and the fact that the UK's Armed Forces are already patched up with reservists of one form or other, the chances of conscription ever being reintroduced in the UK are less than zero.

National Service was being would down from 1957 and the last conscripts were called up in 1960.

Think about how much bigger the UK's Armed Forces were then - and how many more aerodromes, barracks and ships we had, compared to today's pitiful state.
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Old 22nd Jan 2017, 09:03
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Conscription is only useful if you need masses of the PBI - think WW1

By 1960 the armed services (almost all Army) reckoned it was a pointless exercise - it took longer to train people than the time they were in service and you tied up all your experienced men as trainers

Be even worse now
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Old 22nd Jan 2017, 09:07
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As there is training system for UK reserves it would not be impossible to have some conscription. Finding useful employment on the other hand would be more problematic.

Could some of the Swedish model be applied? Say a limited age range, say a stringent assessment regime, say a longer period of service? The pool could be limited to suitable unemployed people. In terms of work they might be employed in non-combatant roles currently filled by contractors.

With a tightening in immigration we are going to be short of waiters etc in the service industry - use conscription, get them trained, and when they demon, Bob's yr uncle
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Old 22nd Jan 2017, 09:11
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National Service was being would down from 1957 and the last conscripts were called up in 1960.
True, we benefited at 1ANS. We were in a remote block and had our own batman. Morning tea, shoes polished, bed made, room cleaned. He spent the days on his own, no one bothered him as he saw his time out. When it came our turn to move into the main mess we all opted to stay in the block.
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Old 22nd Jan 2017, 09:20
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Kaypam,
I think that you can safely assume in Transition To War, HM Govt would invoke a War Powers act and the required aircraft, airfields, vehicles, ships and ports would be requisitioned. Crews would be part of the deal, and, I imagine, quite a few will have Reserve liabilities in any case.
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Old 22nd Jan 2017, 09:47
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Originally Posted by Out Of Trim View Post
Probably not too far off for the UK either; given our low number of forces personnel in the event of a crisis !
Sounds like a way of getting manpower on the cheap.
If they made a career in the Forces attractive enough to retain manpower, through pay and conditions that are competitive with civvy street careers. You wouldn't need conscription.
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Old 22nd Jan 2017, 10:10
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But the modern, super-selective draft is different. Though armed forces are having to refocus on territorial defense, they don’t need soldiers for trenches. As Šapkinaitė pointed out, they need highly skilled young men and women who can be trusted with expensive high-tech equipment.
I don't agree that in "modern warfare" (whatever that is) the major requirement is for highly skilled young people able to operate sophisticated equipment.

Certainly there is a need for people like this, but when you look at wars going on around the world (and there are plenty to look at), they are still ultimately being fought on the ground by young men engaged in the age old business of killing each other, usually with a rifle, and sometimes even in hand to hand fighting.

Anyone who thinks that warfare is just going to be operating keyboards from now on is just deluding themselves
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Old 22nd Jan 2017, 11:46
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KayPam:-
What do you think would happen to civil aviation in case of war ?
Would the state/army commandeer both the airplanes and their pilots (all of them) in order to support the military effort ??
I remember when the Cold War seemed to suddenly go to warm, before dying out completely under Thatcher and Reagan, that this was discussed in the Civil Airlines. Some of my fellow Dan-Air pilots seemed quite relaxed about the proposition that our aircraft would be requisitioned to move troops quickly to various European destinations in the event of warm becoming even warmer. When told that they would be similarly requisitioned, some of them suddenly took umbrage. Quite who else they thought would be piloting our aircraft had presumably been rather overlooked!

Of course, all that was well before NATO became compromised by EU policy and the threat of an EU Army...
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Old 22nd Jan 2017, 11:56
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Chug, indeed, we used to use a lot of civair when Ascot was maxed. BUA and Britannia to name two.
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Old 22nd Jan 2017, 17:16
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little for them to do
,

I know one NATO army (in a country confronted by another NATO country recently in the news due to some political events) that can lead the way on teaching how to keep thousands of young recruits occupied just be cleaning, painting and providing hospitality service to officers. It is hard to describe how innovative are the officers of that Air Force and Army to create jobs just not to let recruit relax.
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Old 22nd Jan 2017, 17:49
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The problem with volunteering for the Armed Forces these days is that if you go to war you will have a litigation lawyer looking over your shoulder.
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Old 22nd Jan 2017, 17:56
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Perhaps the time has come to re-create "Dad's Army", although I prefer the term "Citizen's Militia". I believe that Switzerland has such a thing, and every able-bodied man has a weapon at home, ready to defend the country. A couple of million men, even used as cannon-fodder, would redress the balance a little. "Go on, gizza gun"
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Old 22nd Jan 2017, 18:10
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Originally Posted by Herod View Post
Perhaps the time has come to re-create "Dad's Army", although I prefer the term "Citizen's Militia". I believe that Switzerland has such a thing, and every able-bodied man has a weapon at home, ready to defend the country. A couple of million men, even used as cannon-fodder, would redress the balance a little. "Go on, gizza gun"
Ah the NRA solution!
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Old 22nd Jan 2017, 18:34
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Herod, just couldn't imagine the youth of today being given a gun to keep at home, the crime rate would go off the scale.
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