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Top 15 Countries with Mandatory Military Service

Most countries make military training compulsory for men and optional for women, with one or two countries being an exception and making it compulsory for both.

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There are many countries in the world that require mandatory military service from their citizens.

Military service training periods can range from country to country but usually starts at the age of 18 to 21.

Individuals can be exempted from mandatory service if they prove to be medically unfit.

If a person is fit and able, yet wishes to opt-out of military service, they would be required to perform community services.

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Here is a list of 15 countries that make military service mandatory:

  • Israel

Military service in Israel is compulsory for men as well as women. For men, the service period is two years and six months, and for women, the service period is two years.

The National Service, NS, is compulsory for all citizens at home or abroad. Exemptions are made in only specific cases.

  • Greece

Known to be one of the most beautiful vacationing countries, Greece requires Greek men aged between 19-45 to perform military service. This is rule is extended by law to anyone whom the authorities consider Greek, regardless of whether they themselves consider them Greek or not.

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  • North Korea

Men in North Korea are enlisted for military service at the age of 14. Their service begins at age 17, and ends by age 30. Selective enlisting is done for females. Children of political elites and those belonging to a high social class are exempt from performing compulsory military training.

  • South Korea

South Korea has mandatory military service for men. The service period lasts for 21 months for the Army, 23 months for the Navy, and 24 months for the Air Force. Very few exemptions are made. In most cases, exemptions are granted on medical grounds, both physical and mental.

  • Norway

Norway has a mandatory military service of nineteen months for their male and female citizens aged between 19 and 44. Due to a greater dependence on technology and lowered funding, the government plans on reducing the number of citizens drafted into their mandatory service.

  • Russia

Compulsory service in Russia is for a period of one year. If an individual is a current student, has two or more children, or is medically unfit, they can be exempted from drafting themselves. The Armed Forces, the National Guard, the Federal Protective Service, and the Foreign Intelligence Service are all considered military service.

  • Singapore

By law, all men of age 18 and above are required to serve two years of compulsory military service in the Singapore Armed Forces, the Singapore Police Force, or the Singapore Civil Defence Force. After completion of their training, they are further required to visit in-camp training cycles of 40 days annually over a ten-year period.

  • Switzerland

Military training for male citizens is compulsory. It includes an 18 to 21-week-long basic training period, followed by an annual three-week refresher course. Military service for women is on a voluntary basis.

  • Taiwan

As of 2009, compulsory service in Taiwan is for twelve months for all males. An alternative to military service includes community service, but this will be for a significantly longer period of time. Although the government decided to make military service on a volunteer basis, it still requires men who come of age to have a three-to-four-month military service period.

  • Thailand

All male citizens of Thailand aged 21 and above are obliged to perform military service. Individuals who volunteer are free to pick between the Army, Navy or Air Force. Service obligation depends on one’s educational qualification. The service period can range from six months to two years.

  • Mexico

Mandatory military service in Mexico is for one year and is extended to all males aged 18 and above. Military service for women is on a voluntary basis. Service can also be performed as community service by participating is Literacy Campaigns as teachers or sports instructors.

  • Finland

Compulsory military service in Finland is for a minimum duration of five and a half months. All male citizens aged 18 and above are required to be drafted for national service. Military service for women is on a voluntary basis. The government has also made accommodations for transsexuals in the military.

  • Egypt

Male citizens aged between 19 and 30 are required to perform mandatory military service. Males with no brothers, or those supporting their parents are exempted from joining the military. Individuals with a dual citizenship are also exempted. Depending on their educational qualification, training can range from 18 months to 36 months.

  • Denmark

All male citizens are required to perform military service. Normal service is for four months and normally consists of men between the ages of 18 and 27. Other services range in their training durations. An alternative to military service is to perform non-military tasks for a period of six months.

  • Austria

All male citizens up to the age of 35 are required to serve in the military. The military service period is of six months. Individuals can perform non-military service in the form of civilian service which lasts for nine months. Females can join the military service voluntarily.

As seen above, this article talks about 15 countries with mandatory military service.

Most countries make military training compulsory for men and optional for women, with one or two countries being an exception and making it compulsory for both.

I hope this article was informative.

Share your views about mandatory military service in the comments below!

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Alyssa Sarup
Alyssa Sarup
Intern at SSBCrackExams. Student at St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata. An avid reader, pursuing her interest in mass communication.
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