The Chief Inspector of the Defence Forces presented to the National Defence Committee his annual overview on the communications and complaints submitted by conscripts, their families and active servicemen. Female conscripts did not submit a single communication or complaint over the last year.
“A year ago, when the current Defence Forces Service Act was discussed, many fears were expressed in connection with accepting women to conscript service, but these have proved to have been unfounded,” the Chairman of the National Defence Committee Mati Raidma said after receiving the overview.
Last year, 21 women entered the conscript service of the Defence Forces; two of them left within 90 days and one was released later by a decision of the medical committee in connection with health problems. 18 women thus continue in the service. The Chief Inspector of the Defence Forces Colonel Viljar Schiff assured the National Defence Committee that the feedback of the unit commanders on female conscripts has been positive and there have been no problems.
The new Defence Forces Service Act came into force nearly a year ago and one of its changes was to legalise the entry of female volunteers into conscript service. Women with Estonian citizenship may serve for 8–11 months and then train as professional non-commissioned officers or officers.
“Voluntary service means that women may volunteer for army service and also have the right to leave within 90 days; after that term they must serve until the end,” Raidma clarified on the Defence Forces Service Act which entered into force on 1 April last year.
Raidma remarked that some of the changes brought along by the new Act created more work for the Chief Inspectorate of the Defence Forces; however, the Inspectorate concluded that most of the concerns could have been resolved in earlier stages through better communication.
The Chief Inspectorate of the Defence Forces consists of a staff of two who answer directly to the Commander of the Defence Forces. The Chief Inspectorate inspects the structural units of the Defence Forces to ensure good military training and internal order, and looks into the service related statements of the members and the conscripts of the Defence Forces.
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