Today, the National Defence Committee received an overview on the project of extending the conscription service, which should increase the number of conscripts to 4,000 by 2026.
The Chairman of the Committee Hannes Hanso said that no less than one half of the conscripts drafted in the relevant year should complete the conscription service; however, the current level is only one third. “The best boys and girls should enter the service,” Hanso said. “Completing the conscription service must become a rule as opposed to an exception in the society, which is not yet the case today. We have made detailed plans and set goals but now we must start moving towards achieving them step by step,” said Hanso who sees a number of ways to do this. One thing he mentioned was improving the efficiency of the delivery of call papers, including means of electronic delivery. The second thing is to review the health requirements for conscripts by significantly improving the flexibility of these. “ In the future, warts and pollen allergy will no longer excuse anyone from the conscription service,” Hanso said.
The Chairman of the Committee said that the work of the medical committees definitely needs to be reviewed, as the current statistics reveal serious anomalies. He gave the example of the city of Kuressaare where only one fourth of the conscripts fulfil the health requirements at the first examination, while the same number in the city of Haapsalu is almost one half. “I think it is obvious that the residents of one region are not less healthy than in another region; we just need to inform the doctors much better than we have on national defence issues,” Hanso said.
Hanso said that concluding the conscription service should count as an advantage when enrolling into a university, and on the labour market. Employers should ask at every job interview whether the candidate has concluded the conscription service or not.
The Defence Forces have the ambitious plan of enhancing the interest of young women in the conscription service. The objective is to triple the number of female conscripts next year. Hanso said that female conscription service should become a natural part of national defence, like in all the Nordic countries.
Member of the Committee Madis Milling said that the best advertisement for the conscription service are the conscripts themselves. “We can conduct as many expensive campaigns as we want, but the best advertisement to future conscripts – their brothers and sisters – are the satisfied conscripts themselves,” Milling said. He also emphasised the importance of national defence studies in general education schools.
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