Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Student Protests Force Military to Revive Draft

Although Chile has compulsory military service, for years no one has been forced into serving. That's because there have been plenty of young people wanting to serve voluntarily and to take advantage of the free education in the armed forces. But that's changing. Facing a 30% drop in volunteers for next year's conscription class, Direccion General de Mobilizacion Nacional called up 56,793 men from registration rolls. About 11,000 would need to be drafted, according to one report. The call-up is a consequence of student protests sweeping Chile, said Gen. Günther Siebert Wendt, the commander of mobilization. Volunteers are down because "not only are schools closed, but there's also no possibility of reaching schools to incentivize youths to sign up for military service," the general said. Still, Gen. Seibert said the armed forces hope to fill all positions with volunteers. Even if someone is drafted, it's easy to get a deferment or excuse. If you go in the Army or Air Force you'd serve 12 to 14 months. Navy conscripts serve for up to 24 months. Women are not drafted but can volunteer, as long as they are single and have no children.

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