Saturday, February 28, 2015

Volunteer Numbers Rise, Ending 7-Year Declining Trend

More women rush to recruitment tables
More than 17,000 men and women have signed up to serve in the armed forces, an increase of 4.6% from last year's recruitment period. That ends a seven-year streak of declining sign-ups, the Ministry of Defense announced. The slowdown never threatened the military, however. Every year since the volunteer system went into effect, the three branches have been able to fill their requirements. This year, only 11,000 of the 17,000 applicants will be accepted for one- or two-year enlistments. The number of women trying to enter the military continues to rise: More than 4,000 registered, but only 1,060 will be taken. Defense Minister Jorge Burgos says the slots for women may need to be increased. For thousands of young Chileans, love of country and a sense of adventure motivate them to become soldiers or sailors, much like in any other country. But another draw is the trade skills they can learn. As this blog has noted, it's not a stretch to call the armed forces the nation's largest trade school. And for those who go on to specialize in explosives, the mining industry can provide a comfortable living in civilian life. Although all enlisted personnel join voluntarily, Chile still maintains a draft registration system for all males ages 17-24. If the volunteer pool ever proves to be insufficient, the Ministry of Defense would resort to a compulsory draft.

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