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Sunday 19.11.2017 | Name days: Liza, Līze, Elizabete, Betija
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Potential soldiers line up to join national armed forces

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUDespite Latvia abandoned obligatory military service already back in 2006, there is growing popularity in the National Armed Forces (NAF). Since it is more economical to place funds in training professional soldiers, it is no longer economical to restore obligatory military service, Sandra Brale, representative of the Defence Ministry, told the news portal BNN.

Would-be soldiers need to line up to join the NAF. As of September 26, 960 candidates have already applied. 416 of them made it to the second round, while only 277 were selected to become soldiers. Candidates applying at the moment will get to the selection process only in December 2011 or early 2012.

The National Guard takes care of citizens being interested also in voluntary participation in the national defense system. A very good example of turning youngsters’ attention to the NAF and patriotism is the Youth Guard (Latvian: Jaunsardze). The National Guard and the Youtg Guard are unique systems that make Latvia stand out among many other countries, Brale says.

Over 4 700 soldiers are currently serving in the NAF. 20% of them are recruited in the Land Forces Infantry Brigade, while 3% – under the Defence Ministry and its subordinates. The rest of them take part in other NAF units.

Brale stresses that over 20% of soldiers are officers, whereas the rest of them are instructors and soldiers. According to the Military Service Act, an officer cannot take the post for longer than five years. Afterwards, they are moved to another position. However, the Defence Minister is righteous to expand this term if necessary. Officers are then assigned other posts but only those that fit to their speciality.

Usually soldiers leave service only when the contract expires, when they reach the maximum age for service or for health reasons. The contract can be extended depending on the soldier’s own desire to go on servicing, assessment of his progress and compliance with requirements.

According to her, military carrier ladder is quite complex. It is not possible to appoint to senior officer position a newly recruited soldier. To get the first rank, soldiers need professional experience, training, adequate military and civilian education and knowledge in the defense sector. It takes about 13 to 16 years to prepare senior officers for the first rank – major.

She adds that NAF recruits also many 19-22-olds, which is good, because it means that they have not left Latvia in a quest for better salaries. So the NAF is playing some kind of a social-economic role as well, Brale says.

Asked how remuneration levels have changed compared to the pre-crisis period, she points out that now soldiers get about 30% less. According to the Cabinet of Ministers regulations, soldiers and sailors receive a pre-tax monthly salary of 268 lats in the first year of their service, while instructors make 322 to 341 lats. The higher the rank and length of service, the higher the monthly salary, Brale says.


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