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Saturday 23.06.2018 | Name days: Līga
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Former NAF commander: Latvia benefited from refusal of compulsory military service

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUWe have benefited from the refusal of compulsory military service, believes former Saeima deputy and once a commander of Latvian National Armed Forces Juris Dalbiņš.

According to him, what’s done is done. He believes it would have been hard to achieve the current level of professionalism and development Latvian army has now if compulsory military service was still in force.

It should be taken into account how expensive and complicated military equipment is and how long it takes soldiers to master them. This applies not only for soldiers who have higher education and officer ranks, but also those who hold lower ranks and are responsible for some specific military unit, adds Dalbiņš.

He believes it cannot be done by means of compulsory military service. The period of time a person is called to serve is too short to achieve a good level of professionalism. In terms of a quality and professionalism, Latvia has benefited from the refusal of compulsory military service, he believes.

According to him, youngsters have to wish to join the military. And given insufficient funding, the armed forces were unable to provide quality training and service to all youngsters who wanted to join the army.

‘Refusal of compulsory military service was not a mistake. We did not lose anything after it. I do believe, however, that the matter regarding the National Guard has not yet been fully sorted out,’ – adds Dalbiņš. He believes ‘we have lost the soldiers we trained and prepared ourselves – reservists who served in compulsory military service, professional military service, but have now concluded their contract obligations. There are also officers who left the military before entering pension age but are in good physical condition. All of them have military experience and knowledge.’

According to Dalbiņš, one of the most important objectives is sorting out the list of reservists, which currently exists exclusively ‘on paper’. He is also not convinced that there is even a full list of reservists with names and addresses, and even if reservists know where they should go in the event of a military threat.

‘We can buy the most technologically complex military equipment. But that will give nothing if soldiers have no idea how to properly use this equipment. The mobilization law has been approved. Everything is stated there – the areas every official is responsible for. It should be clearly stated how reserves are accounted for, trained and used. It will only benefit society and provide it with a sense of safety,’ – says Dalbiņš.

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