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Conscription

 
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Personnel and Training - Conscription



According to Article 143 of the 1988 constitution, military service is obligatory for men, but conscientious objection is allowed. Women and clergymen are exempt from compulsory military service. At age seventeen, men are required to register for the draft and are expected to serve when they reach age eighteen. About 75 percent of those registering receive deferments. Generally, those from the upper class and upper middle class find ways to defer, and as a result the ranks are made up primarily of lower-class and lower-middle-class recruits. A growing number of recruits are volunteers, accounting for about one-third of the total. Those who serve generally spend one year of regular enlistment at an army garrison near their home. Some are allowed six-month service terms but are expected to complete high school at the same time. These are called "Tiros de Guerra," or "shooting schools," which are for high school boys in medium-sized interior towns, run by army sergeants. The army is the only service with a large number of conscripts; the navy and air force have very few.

The conscript system is primarily a means of providing basic military training to a sizable group of young men who then return to civilian life and are retained on the reserve rolls until age forty-five. The army recognizes that it provides a public service by teaching large numbers of conscripts basic skills that can be valuable to the overall economy when the young men return to civilian life.

Data as of April 1997

 



 

 


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