The Ministry of Defense of Latvia proposes to abandon the exclusively contract army service, which was adopted in 2007 after joining NATO. "Latvia's current defense system has run out its capabilities. At the same time, we have no reason to believe that Russia will change its behavior," Minister of Defense Artis Pabriks said during a press briefing.
He noted that the return to conscription will be gradual and will last for five years, until the conscription system reaches the planned volumes. The main task is, in case of declaration of martial law, that the number of armed forces should be 50,000 people, of which 20,000 will be reservists.
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In the coming year, it is planned to call up 1,000 people, who will be asked to undergo active military service for 11 months, or to join the Zemessardze, which is the National Guard of Latvia (in essence - territorial defense) and undergo 20-day training for five years. Alternative service and professional military training for future officers are also provided.
Subsequently, the pace of conscription will increase in parallel with the expansion of military infrastructure. Additional costs from returning to the conscription service are estimated at 120 million euros per year.
It is worth reminding that the Armed Forces of Latvia (with a population of about 1.9 million people) currently consist of 6,250 people according to Military Balance, plus 11,000 Zemessardze, of which 1,100 are personnel officers. That is, an increase in the army even by 1,000 people in the first year is a noticeable increase in the country's defense capability.