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National draft may be reintroduced in Sweden by 2019

Published torsdag 1 september 2016 kl 09.45
Skjutfält på Gotland.
Swedish soldiers training on the Baltic island of Gotland. In 2019, both men and women may be obliged to register for the national draft. File photo: Tobias Wallström / TT

The military draft may be reintroduced in Sweden in 2019 and will apply to both men and women, according to an inquiry into future recruitment to the Swedish Armed Forces.

A gender-neutral general draft will be a complement to Sweden’s voluntary professional army, according to the inquiry, which was commissioned by the government less than a year ago. Its mission was to put forward proposals for achieving “long-term, sustainable staffing of Sweden’s military defense”. The findings will be officially presented in the end of September, newspaper Svenska Dagbladet reports.

In order to ensure this is achieved by 2019, next year all 17-year-old Swedes will be asked to fill in a questionnaire and the information will be used during their enrollment in 2018. The following year, the 19-year-olds will start their basic training across Sweden’s regiments.

The main difference between the new system and the old military draft, which was removed in 2010, is that, out of each roughly 100,000-strong annual cohort, just a few thousand will be selected to serve within the Swedish army.

In addition, now both men and women will be obliged to carry out their national service, in accordance with Sweden’s law on total defence duty, which was introduced in 1995, is gender neutral and applies to all citizens.

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