Conscription is the compulsory enlistment of people in a military service. These 28 countries have compulsory or mandatory military conscript service for its citizens.
The service duration can vary from country to country from days to years. As of 2019, these four countries, intending to abolish conscription in the near future: Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Moldova, and Georgia.
Armenia has compulsory military service for two years for males from 18 to 27 years old.
Austria has mandatory military service for all able bodied male citizens up to 35 years of age. Since 2006, the period of service has been six months. Conscientious objectors can join the civilian service (called Zivildienst) for nine months. A 12-month participation in the Austrian Holocaust Memorial Service, the Austrian Social Service or the Austrian Peace Service is regarded as an equivalent to the civilian service.
Since 1 January 1998, females can join the military service voluntarily. The Austrian conscription referendum, 2013 resulted in the rejection of a proposal that would have ended conscription. Although the referendum was non-binding, both parties in government pledged to honour the results.
Azerbaijan has mandatory military service for all fit men, who are at least at the age of 18. Military service lasts for eighteen months for those without higher education, and for twelve months for those with higher education.
Belarus has mandatory military service for all fit men from eighteen to twenty-seven years of age. Military service lasts for eighteen months for those without higher education, and for twelve months for those with higher education.
Bermuda, although an overseas territory of the United Kingdom, still maintains conscription for its local force. Males between the ages of eighteen and thirty-two are drawn by lottery to serve in The Bermuda Regiment for a period of thirty-eight months. The commitment is only on a part-time basis, however. Anyone who objects to this has the right to have his case heard by an exemption tribunal. The rights that applied for conscientious objection during National Service in the United Kingdom apply in Bermuda. The local government, as of 2013, has committed to ending conscription, although it is likely to be phased out gradually in order to prevent the manpower of the battalion (which had already seen its numbers fall below strength, from four to three companies, as a delayed result of birth rates decreasing following the Baby boom generation) plummeting.
Currently, three-quarters of the strength of the Bermuda Regiment is made up of conscripts, although many soldiers, whether they initially volunteered or were conscripted, elect to re-engage annually after their initial three years and two months term of service has been completed, with some serving for decades.
Males in Brazil are required to serve 12 months of military service upon their 18th birthday. While de jure all males are required to serve, numerous exceptions mean military service is de facto limited mostly to volunteers, with an average of between 5 and 10% of those reporting for duty actually being inducted. Most often, the service is performed in military bases as close as possible to the person’s home. The government does not usually require those planning to attend college or holding a permanent job to serve. There are also several other exceptions, including health reasons, for which one may not have to serve. Recruits accepted at a university may also choose to train under a program similar to the American ROTC, and satisfy their military requirement this way. Direct entrance to one of the military academies will also substitute for this requirement.
De-jure the Burmese junta requires able-bodied persons aged 18 and over to register with local authorities. In 2011, civil servants, students, those serving prison terms, and those caring for an elderly parent were excluded from the draft, but they could be later called to serve. Totally exempt are members of religious orders, disabled persons, and married or divorced women with children. Those who fail to report for military service could be imprisoned for three years, and face fines. Those who deliberately inflict injury upon themselves to avoid conscription could be imprisoned for up to five years, as well as fined.
However, the conscription has never been activated under the military junta which ruled the country from 1988-2010. Myanmar’s constitution states that male citizens over 18 could be called to serve in military, but it has not been activated either. As of 2013, Myanmar citizens are not required to serve in military
Cyprus has compulsory military service for all Greek Cypriot men between the ages of seventeen and fifty. Additionally, from 2008 onwards, all men belonging to the religious groups of Armenians, Latins and Maronites, also serve their military service. Before 2016 military service lasted for twenty-four months. After that, ex-soldiers are considered reservists and participate in military exercises for a few days every year. Conscientious objectors can either do thirty-three months’ unarmed service in the army or thirty-eight months’ community work. In 2016, however, the Cypriot parliament had voted to reduce its mandatory service to 14 months and make up for lost manpower by hiring professional soldiers.
As described in the Constitution of Denmark,[§ 81, Denmark has mandatory service for all able men. Normal service is four months, and is normally served by men in the age of eighteen to twenty-seven. Some special services will take longer. Danish men will typically receive a letter around the time of their 18th birthday, asking when their current education (if any) ends, and some time later, depending on when, they will receive a notice on when to attend to the draft office to be tested physically and psychologically. However, some may be deemed unfit for service and not be required to show up.
Even if a person is deemed fit, or partially fit for service, he may avoid having to serve if he draws a high enough number randomly. Persons who are deemed partly fit for service will however be placed lower than those who are deemed fit for service, and therefore have a very low chance of being drafted. Men deemed fit can be called upon for service until their 50th birthday in case of national crisis, regardless of whether normal conscription has been served. This right is very rarely exercised by Danish authorities.
Conscientious objectors can choose to instead serve six months in a non-military position, for example in Beredskabsstyrelsen (dealing with non-military disasters like fires, flood, pollution, etc.) or foreign aid work in a third world country.
Egypt has a mandatory military service program for males between the ages of eighteen and thirty. Conscription is regularly postponed for students until the end of their studies, as long as they apply before they turn twenty-eight years of age. By the age of thirty, a male is considered unfit to join the army and pays a fine. Males with no brothers, or those supporting parents are exempted from the service. Former President Sadat added that any Egyptian who has dual nationality is exempted from military service and this is still in effect. Males serve for a period ranging from fourteen months to thirty-six months, depending on their education; high school drop-outs serve for thirty-six months. College graduates serve for lesser periods of time, depending on their education; college graduates with special skills are still conscripted yet at a different rank and at a different pay scale with the option of remaining with the service as a career. Some Egyptians evade conscription and travel overseas until they reach the age of thirty, at which point they are tried, pay a $580 fine (as of 2004), and are dishonorably discharged. Such an offense, legally considered an offense of “bad moral character”, prevents the “unpatriotic” citizen from ever holding public office.
Finland has mandatory military service for men of a minimum duration of five and half months (165 days); depending on the assigned position: those trained as officers or NCOs serve for eleven and half months (347 days), specialist troops serve for eight and half (255 days) or eleven and half months, while rank and file serve for the minimum period. Unarmed service is also possible, and lasts eight and half months (270 days) or eleven and half (347 days).[All males are required to participate in the drafting event (Finnish: kutsunnat) in their municipality of domicile in the year that they turn 18. The fitness for service and the actual induction to the service then takes place at the time and place decided individually for each conscript during the drafting event. The induction takes place usually at the age of 19 but the allowed age range is 18–29. The delayed induction is permissible for serious personal reasons, such as studies, but induction cannot be delayed beyond 29. The military strives to accommodate the wishes of the future conscript when determining the time of induction and the duty location, but these are ultimately determined by the needs of service.
Since 1995, women have been able to volunteer for military service. During the first 45 days, women have an option to quit at will.Having served for 45 days, they fall under the same obligation to serve as men except for medical reasons. A pregnancy during service would interrupt the service but not automatically cause a medical discharge.
Belonging in a sexual minority does not result in an exemption.Transsexuals usually get their service postponed until they have undergone sex reassignment surgery.
Non-military service of twelve months is available for men whose conscience prevents them from serving in the military. Men who refuse to serve at all are sent to prison for six months or half the time of their remaining non-military service at the time of refusal. In theory, male citizens from the demilitarized Åland region are to serve in customs offices or lighthouses, but since this service has not been arranged, they are always exempted in practice. Jehovah’s Witnesses’ service is deferred for three years, if they present a written testimony, not older than two months, from the congregation of their status as baptized and active members of the congregation. Jehovah’s Witnesses will be exempted from peacetime duty at the beginning of the age 29. Military service has been mandatory for men throughout the history of independent Finland since 1917. Soldiers and civilian servicemen receive a daily allowance of €5 (days 1 – 165), €8.35 (days 165 – 255), or €11.70 (onward from day 255).
Approximately 20% are trained as NCOs (corporals, sergeants), and 10% are trained as officers-in-reserve (second lieutenant). In wartime, it is expected that the officers-in-reserve fulfill most platoon leader and company commander positions. At the beginning of the service, all men go through same basic training of eight weeks. After this eight-week period it is decided who will be trained as NCOs or officers.
As of 2009, Greece (Hellenic Republic) has mandatory military service of 9 months for men in the Army and 12 months for the Navy and Air Force. Some are entitled to reduced service due to serious family reasons (single parent families, parent serving in the army etc.). Although Greece is developing a professional army system, it continues to enforce the 9-month mandatory military service. It has been stated that the draft is to be reduced to six months in future. Women are accepted into the Greek army as salaried professionals, but are not obliged to mandatory conscript service.
Iran has mandatory military service for men which starts at the age of 18. Duration of military service is normally 24 months but it can be also varying according to some conditions and circumstances. There is a 24-month military service for general, 22 months for destitute areas and 20 months for boundary areas; there is two months for military education. There are exceptions for those who cannot serve because of physical or mental health problems or disabilities. Students are exempt as long as they are attending school. The higher the education of a man, the higher his rank will be in the military service. Since 2008 and the commence of Iran’s National Elites Foundation (Bonyade Mellie Nokhbegan, students or university graduates who are accepted as members of this organization (because of their special achievements, e.g., recognized researchers with proven accomplishments, national and international olympiad medalists and winners of invention competitions) can have a “scientific research” substitution instead of mandatory military service, and the research grant is given to these members from military universities, otherwise, formally these members are regarded as “soldiers” who are spending the mandatory military service program, and in any publication related to that research, their citations have to be that of the military university giving the research grant. The 45-day mandatory military training is applicable even for those who are members of Iran’s National Elites Foundation. The Iranian Parliament’s National Security Commission is mulling over a plan to abolish the compulsory enlistment of Iranian men above 18 years of age in the military service, and to introduce an alternative plan that would make the army professional.
Exemptions from the Iranian military service, but also military duty in case of war include:
- Sole Son; Men who are the only male in their family and his father is over 70 years old.
- Men who are the sole carers of a disabled or mentally problematic parent, sibling, or 2nd line family members.
- Doctors, firefighters and other emergency workers who their uptake for military duty or service jeopardizes local health and emergency services.
- Workers of vital government institutions that assist or indirectly serve the military (exempt at time of war).
- Workers of businesses that serve the military, e.g. military equipment factories (exempt at time of war).
- Homosexuals and transsexuals
- Workers of Iranian shipping lines (IRISL Group) and National Iranian Tanker Company.
Prisoners may be excused of their sentence to serve in the military at a time of war or to complete military service in exchange for a reduced sentence dependent on the nature of the crime committed.
Men reaching 19 years old who are not granted exemption from the military service are not able to apply for a drivers license, passport, any form of employment, leave the country or collect any completed academic certificate.
Israel drafts both men and women.
All Israeli citizens are conscripted at age 18, with the following exceptions:
- Torah students are presently exempted from service should they so choose. This is a contentious issue in Israel. See also: Exemption from military service in Israel
- Israeli Arabs are exempt from conscription, although they may volunteer. The men of other non-Jewish communities in Israel, notably the Druze and Circassians, are conscripted; women are not though may volunteer.
- Jewish Females, who choose to declare they are unable to serve due to religious observance grounds. Many choose to volunteer in the national service Sherut Leumi.
- Women are not inducted if they are married or pregnant.
- Candidates who do not qualify on grounds of mental or physical health.
Typically, men are required to serve for 2 years and 8 months, while women for 2 years. Officers and other soldiers in certain voluntary units such as Nahal and Hesder are required to sign on for additional service. Those studying in a “Mechina” (pre-induction preparatory course) defer service until the conclusion of the program, typically one academic year. An additional program (called “Atuda’i”) for qualified applicants allows post-secondary academic studies prior to induction. See also: Israel Defense Forces.
There is a very limited amount of conscientious objection to conscription into the IDF. More common is refusal by reserve soldiers to serve in the West Bank and Gaza. Some of these conscientious objectors may be assigned to serve elsewhere, or are sentenced to brief prison terms lasting a few months to a year and may subsequently receive dishonourable discharges. See also: Refusal to serve in the Israeli military.
After a year their period of regular army service, men are liable for up to 30 days (much less on average) per year of reserve duty (“miluim“) until they are in their early forties. Women in certain positions of responsibility are liable for reserve duty under the same terms as men, but are exempt once they are pregnant or with children.
15. North Korea
Conscription occurs in North Korea despite ambiguity concerning its legal status. Men are universally conscripted while females undergo selective conscription. Conscription takes place at age 17 and service ends at 30. Children of the political elites are exempt from conscription,as are people with bad songbun (ascribed social status in North Korea). Recruitment is done on the basis of annual targets drawn up by the Central Military Commission of the Workers’ Party of Korea and implemented locally by schools.
Conscription first began before the Korean War. Initially, under the rule of Kim Il-sung, forced conscription was largely not necessary because the level of voluntary enlistment was high due to financial rewards. Under Kim Jong-iland Kim Jong-un these rewards have diminished.
16. South Korea
South Korea has mandatory military service of 21 (army, marines), 23 (navy) and 24 (air force, special civil service) months. There are no alternatives for conscientious objectors except imprisonment. In general, with very few exceptions, most South Korean males serve in the military. The duration of service varies from branch to branch of the military.
Exemptions are granted to Korean male citizens with physical disabilities or whose mental status is unstable or questionable.
As of 2011, all males reaching eighteen years of age must register for military service (Servicio Militar Nacional, or SMN) for one year, though selection is made by a lottery system using the following color scheme: whoever draws a black ball must serve as a “disponibility reservist”, that is, he must not follow any activities whatsoever and get his discharge card at the end of the year. The ones who get a white ball serve Saturdays in a Batallón del Servicio Militar Nacional (National Military Service Battalion) composed entirely of one-year SMN conscripts. Those with a community service interest may participate in Literacy Campaigns as teachers or as physical education instructors.
Military service is also (voluntarily) open to women. In certain cities, such as Mexico City and Veracruz, there is a third option: a red ball (Mexico City) and a Blue ball (Veracruz), which entails serving a full year as a recruit in a Paratrooper Battalion in the case of Mexico City residents, or an Infantería de Marina unit (Navy Marines) in Veracruz. In other cities which have a Navy HQ (such as Ciudad Madero), it is the Navy which takes charge of the conscripts, instead of the Army.
A “liberated” military ID is a requirement to join the Mexican local, state, and federal police forces, also to apply for some government jobs, Draft dodging was an uncommon occurrence in Mexico until 2002, since a “liberated” military ID card was needed for a Mexican male to obtain a passport, but since this requirement was dropped by the Mexican government, absenteeism from military service has become more common.
Morocco eliminated compulsory military service as of 31 August 2006,however, this law has been revised in 2018 which will lead to the reintroduction of the compulsory military service when the law is voted by the parliament. The service takes as long as 12 months in the new law project with a draft targeting Moroccan males and females alike in the age range of 19-25 with an exception for people with a medical or psychological condition, college students can delay the date of their enlistment thus being able to serve at the end of their university course.
Norway has mandatory military service of nineteen months for men and women between the ages of 19 (18 in war time) and 44 (55 in case of officers and NCOs). The actual draft time is six months for the home guard, and twelve months for the regular army, air force and navy. In October 2014, Norway extended compulsory military service to women.
The remaining months are supposed to be served in annual exercises, but very few conscripts do this because of lack of funding for the Norwegian Armed Forces. As a result of this decreased funding and greater reliance on high technology, the Armed Forces are aiming towards drafting only 10,000 conscripts a year. As of 2011, an average of 27% of conscripts actually complete military service each year. The remainder, for the most part, either are formally dismissed after medical tests or obtain deferral from the service because of studies or stays abroad.
The Norwegian Armed Forces will normally not draft a person who has reached the age of 28. In Norway, certain voluntary specialist training programs and courses entail extended conscription of one to eight years. Pacifists can apply for non-military service, which lasts 12 months.
The conscription system was introduced into Imperial Russia by Dmitry Milyutin on 1 January 1874.
As of 2008, the Russian Federation has a mandatory 12 months draft. Some examples of how people avoid being drafted are:
- Studying in a university or similar place. All full-time students are free from conscription, but they can be drafted after they graduate (or if they drop out). Graduated students serve one year as privates, but if they have a military education, they have the option to serve two years as officers. Persons who continue full-time postgraduate education.
- Getting a medical certificate that shows that a person is unfit for service.
- Having more than two children.
In Russia, all males are liable for one year of compulsory military service up to the age of 27. In 2006, the Russian government and State Duma gradually reduced the term of service to 18 months from 24 for those who will be conscripted in 2007 and to 12 months from 2008 and dropped some legal excuses for non-conscription from the law (such as non-conscription of rural doctors and teachers, of men who have a child younger than 3 years, etc.) from 1 January 2008. Also full-time students graduated from civil university with military education will be free from conscription from 1 January 2008.
According to the Russian federal law, the Armed Forces, the National Guard, the Federal Protective Service (FSO), the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), and civil defence of the Ministry of Emergency Situations (EMERCOM) are considered as military service.
After Singapore gained its sovereign independence as an island-city nation, the NS (Amendment) Act was passed on 14 March 1967, under which all able-bodied male citizens of at least 18 years of age were obliged by law to serve 24 months of compulsory national service in the Singapore Armed Forces, the Singapore Police Force, or the Singapore Civil Defence Force to defend and protect the country as a sacred, honorable national duty above one’s self. Upon completion of the mandatory active full-time NS, they will later also have reservist in-camp training cycles of up to 40 days annually over a 10-years period upon deployment to operationally-ready reservist units.
The majority of conscripts serve in the SAF due to its larger manpower requirement. In practice, all conscripts undergo basic military training before being deployed to the various military units of the SAF, the Police Force (SPF), or Civil Defence (SCDF). During Basic Military Training, conscripts, known as National Servicemen, are assessed on their leadership capabilities (over and above basic military skills). All capable conscripts will undergo further vocational trainings to their trained roles and appointments for them to gain experience to move up the NS ranks.
Initially, conscripts could not pick and choose their desired or preferred vocations due to manpower constraints and quotas. Since 2016, however, this was changed as, when enlisting, individuals can indicate their preferred vocations. Since 2004, Singapore cut its mandatory military service period of 30 months to between 22 and 24 months, depending on medical health and physical fitness. NSmen make up >80% of its military defense system and form the backbone of the SAF. NSmen represent the collective will of Singapore to stand up for itself and to ensure the security of the nation.
Military service for Swiss men is obligatory according to the Federal Constitution, and includes 18 or 21 weeks of basic training (depending on troop category) as well as annual 3-week-refresher courses until a number of service days which increases with rank (245 days for privates) is reached. (It is also possible to serve the whole requirement at one piece, meaning no refresher courses are required.)
Service for women is voluntary, but identical in all respects. Conscientious objectors can choose 390 days of community service instead of military service.
The Republic of China has had mandatory military service for all males since 1949. Females from the outlying islands of Fuchien were also required to serve in a civil defense role, although this requirement has been dropped since the lifting of martial law. In October 1999, the mandatory service was shortened from twenty-four months to twenty-two months; from January 2004 it was shortened further to eighteen months, and from 1 January 2006 the duration has decreased to sixteen months. The ROC Defense Ministry had announced that should voluntary enlistment reach sufficient numbers, the compulsory service period for draftees will be shortened to fourteen months in 2007, and further to twelve months in 2009.
ROC nationals with Overseas Chinese status are exempt from service. Draftees may also request alternative service, usually in community service areas, although the required service period would be longer than military service. Qualified draftees with graduate degrees in the sciences or engineering who pass officer candidate exams may also apply to fulfil their obligations in a national defense service option which involves three months of military training, followed by an officer commission in the reserves and four years working in technical jobs in the defense industry or government research institutions.
The Ministry of Interior is responsible for administering the National Conscription Agency.
On 1 August 2008, the Defence Minister announced that from 2014 on, Taiwan would have a purely volunteer professional force. However, males who opt not to volunteer will be subjected to three to four-month military training. Those who do not have a tertiary education will have a three-month training when reaching military age, whereas those who are receiving tertiary education will have to complete the training in summer vacations.
Should this policy remain unchanged, although Taiwan will have a purely volunteer professional force, every male will still be conscripted to receive a three- to four-month military training. Thus, after 2014, compulsory military service will still remain in practice in Taiwan.
The Military Service Act B.E. 2497 (1954) states that all male citizens of Thailand are obliged to serve in the military upon reaching 21 years of age. High school students have the option of enrolling in the three-year Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) during Matthayom 4–6 (i.e., Grade 10–12). ROTC students drill at a local military installation once per week during the school year for a total of 80 hours, with field training exercise at the end of the second year (over the duration 3 days) and third year (over the duration of 5 days). The ROTC program is operated nearly exclusively by the Royal Thai Army, with recent introductions by the Royal Thai Navy and Royal Thai Air Force, but both with more restrictions on entry (e.g. students of schools near a naval or air force base used for training only). Those who complete the three-year program are exempted from conscription and receive the rank of acting sergeant (E-6) upon graduation from high school. Students who do not complete the program or wish to enroll in the commissioned officer phase of the program can do so at their post-secondary institution. Those who do not complete the ROTC program will be required to report for conscription in early-April of the year in which they reach 21 years of age.
Military service selection is done at a designated date and time at a local school or assembly hall. Each selection station has a quota for recruitment. The process begins with a call for volunteers. Those who volunteer will have the option to choose the branch of service and their date of induction. If the number of volunteers is fewer than the quota for the selection station, the remaining men will be asked to draw a card from an opaque box. The box contains red cards and black cards. Drawing a black card results in exemption from military service. Drawing a red card results in conscription in the branch of service and induction date on the card.
Those who volunteer for military service are free to choose from the three branches of the armed forces (Royal Thai Army, Royal Thai Navy, Royal Thai Air Force). Service obligation varies by educational qualification. Those with a high school diploma or the equivalent and those who have one year of military service education are required to serve for two years if they draw the red card, but if these same individuals volunteer, the service obligation is reduced by half, i.e., reduced to only one year. Those with an associate degree (or equivalent) or higher are required to serve for one year if drafted, but the requirement is reduced to only six months if they volunteered. University students can defer their service as long as they maintain the student status until reaching the age of 27 or obtaining a master’s degree or the equivalent, whichever comes first. Undergraduate and graduate students who decide to volunteer are allowed by their institution to put their studies on suspension until the end of term of service. All conscripts, regardless of educational qualification, undergo the same training and receive the same grade and rank upon completion of basic training: private, seaman, or airman (E-1).
In recent years the government has issued new guidelines for better treatment of transgender recruits.
In Tunisia compulsory military service applies to all citizens from 20 to 35. Those who are engaged in higher education or vocational training programs prior to their military drafting are allowed to delay service until they have completed the programs. The duration of the military service is 1 year. And Conscripts Benefit a monthly allowance of 200 dinars for holders of a higher school diploma or have completed at least two years of graduate successfully and holders of a higher technician certificate of vocational training and 100 dinars for other recruits.
In Turkey, compulsory military service applies to all male citizens from twenty to forty-one years of age (with some exceptions). Those who are engaged in higher education or vocational training programs prior to their military drafting are allowed to delay service until they have completed the programs, or reach a certain age, depending on the program (e.g. 29 years of age for undergraduate degrees). The duration of the basic military service varies. As of July 2013, the reduced durations are as follows: twelve months for privates (previously fifteen months), twelve months for reserve officers (previously sixteen months) and six months for short-term privates, which denotes those who have earned a university degree and have not been enlisted as reserve officers (previously eight months).
Turkish citizens who have lived or worked abroad for at least three years can be exempt from military service in exchange for a certain fee in foreign currencies. Also, when the General Staff assesses that the military reserve exceeds the required amount, paid military service of one-month’s basic training is established by law as a stopgap measure, but has only been practiced in reality once so far, and only applied to men of a certain age (born in or prior to 1973). This was done in order to generate funds to recover from the aftermath of the 1999 İzmit earthquake, which took place in the highly industrialized Marmara region of the country, and had a considerable negative impact on the Turkish economy due to the severe damage it caused to a significant number of residential and industrial structures.
Although women in principle are not obliged to serve in the military, they are allowed to become military officers.
Conscientious objection of military service is illegal in Turkey and punishable with imprisonment by law. Many conscientious objectors flee abroad mainly to neighbouring countries or the European Union (as asylum seekers or guest workers).
The options are either reserve officer training for two years (offered in universities as a part of a program which means not having to join the army), or one-year regular service. In Ukraine, a person could not be conscripted after he turned 27 years of age. The Ukrainian army had similar problems with dedovshchina as the Russian army did until very recently, but in Ukraine the problem is getting less severe compared to Russia, due to cuts in the conscript terms (from 24 months to 18 months in the early 2000s and then to 12 months in 2004) and cuts in total conscription numbers (due to the switching of the army into a full-time professional army) since the last conscripts are being drafted at the end of 2013.
28. United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates started its national service requirement in September 2014. This is the first time the UAE has required mandatory national service. It is compulsory for all male citizens over 18 and under 30 years of age to report for military service. Foreign male residents are not required to serve in the military service. It is optional for females to register for military service, and which they serve for 9 months. Males who hold a high school diploma must complete 16-months of military service, whilst males who have not completed high school must complete three years. All males must register for compulsory military service after graduating high school. However, males who obtain a high school graduation grade over 90% are able to postpone their military service until after graduation from a college. Males whose high school graduation grade is under 90% must register for military service and cannot go to college until it has been completed.
Small Countries with no defense forces
The following nineteen countries have been identified as having no defense forces or as having no standing army but having very limited military forces:
Military Service by Country
|Afghanistan||No (abolished in 1992)||N/A|
|Albania||No (abolished in 2010)||N/A|
|Argentina||No. Voluntary; conscription may be ordered for specified reasons; per Public Law No.24.429 promulgated on 5 January 1995||N/A|
|Australia||No (abolished by parliament in 1972)||N/A|
|Austria||Yes (alternative service available)||Male|
|Bangladesh||No (But can volunteer at Bangladesh Ansar)||N/A|
|Belgium||No (Conscription was abolished as of 1 January 1994 under the so-called Delcroix Bill of 6 July 1993)||N/A|
|Bolivia||Yes (when annual number of volunteers falls short of goal)||Male and Female|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||No (abolished on January 1, 2006)||N/A|
|Brazil||Yes, but almost all recruits have been volunteers in recent years.(alternative service is foreseen in law, but it is not implemented)||Male|
|Bulgaria||No (abolished by law on January 1, 2008)||N/A|
|Canada||No (Occurred during 1917-1918 and 1944-1945)||N/A|
|China||No (Citizens 18 years of age are required to register in PLA offices, but policy not enforced. Policy exempted in Hong Kong and Macao)[not in citation given]||N/A|
|Croatia||No (abolished by law in 2008)||N/A|
|Conscription in Cyprus||Yes (alternative service available)||Male|
|Czech Republic||No (abolished in 2005)||N/A|
|Conscription in Denmark||Yes by law, however a great majority of the recruits have been volunteers over the past few years According to Jyllands Posten, conscription has ended in practice. (alternative service available)||Male|
|Ecuador||No (suspended in 2008)||N/A|
|El Salvador||No. Legal, not practiced.||N/A|
|Estonia||Yes (alternative service available)||Male|
|Finland||Yes (alternative service available)||Male|
|France||No (suspended for peacetime in 2001)||N/A|
|Germany||No (suspended for peacetime by federal legislature effective from 1 July 2011)||N/A|
|Greece||Yes (alternative service available)||Male|
|Grenada||No (no military service)||N/A|
|Hungary||No (Peacetime conscription abolished in 2004)||N/A|
|Iraq||No (abolished in 2003)||N/A|
|Israel||Yes||Male and female|
|Italy||No (suspended for peacetime in 2005)||N/A|
|Japan||No. Japanese Constitution abolished conscription. Enlistment in Japan Self-Defense Force is voluntary at 18 years of age.||N/A|
|North Korea||Yes||Male and female|
|South Korea||Yes. The military service law was established in 1948.||Male|
|Lebanon||No (abolished in 2007)||N/A|
|Malaysia||No, (Malaysian National Service) suspended from January 2015 due to government budget cuts||N/A|
|Republic of Moldova||No ||Male|
|Morocco||Yes (reintroduced in 2018)||Male and female|
Yes but not enforced as of January 2011.
|Netherlands||No. Suspended since 1997 (except for Curaçao and Aruba)||N/A|
|New Zealand||No, conscription abolished in December 1972.||N/A|
|North Macedonia||No (abolished in 2006)||N/A|
|Norway||Yes by law, but in practice people are not forced to serve against their will. Also total objectors have not been punished since 2011, instead they are simply exempted from the service.||Male and female|
|Poland||No (ended in 2009), but all men aged 18 and above must undergo obligatory military qualification to validate their ability to serve in case of war or mobilisation.||N/A|
|Portugal||No (Peacetime conscription abolished in 2004 but there remains a symbolic military obligation to all 18-year-old people, from both sexes. It is called National Defense Day, (Dia da Defesa Nacional in Portuguese)).||N/A (symbolic obligation is for both male and female)|
|Romania||No (ended in 2007)||N/A|
|South Africa||No (ended in 1994, formalized in 2002)||N/A|
|Spain||No (abolished by law on December 31, 2001)||N/A|
|Sweden||Yes (alternative service available)||Male and female|
|Switzerland||Yes (Alternative service available)||Male|
|Taiwan||Yes (alternative service available)|
According to the Defence Minister, from 2018 there will be no compulsory enlistment for military service.
|Trinidad and Tobago||No||N/A|
|Tunisia||Yes||Male and Female|
|Turkey||Yes (Paid military exemption has also been introduced five times since 1980 for various reasons with the last one announced in July 2018.)||Male|
|United Arab Emirates||Yes (Implemented in 2014, compulsory for male citizens aged 18–30)||Male|
|United Kingdom||No (abolished December 31, 1960, except Bermuda Regiment)||N/A|
|United States||No – the draft was abandoned in 1973. However, men are currently still legally required to register with the Selective Service System within 30 days of their 18th birthday.||N/A|
|Venezuela||Yes||Male and female|