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Mandatory Military Service

Mandatory Military Service
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Mandatory Military Service Examination

Mandatory military service, in one form or another, has become a common aspect of many nations' defense strategies. With practices ranging from volunteerism to conscription, military service models can greatly vary from one nation to another, often reflecting the specific socio-political landscape, demographic composition, security threats, and ideological leanings of a particular country. Our data provides a snapshot of the global landscape concerning mandatory military service.

Key findings:

  • A significant number of nations employ mandatory military service in some form. Categories include "Yes," where service is obligatory with few exceptions, "De jure," ie., by law but rarely enforced, and "Uncertain" for nations featuring complex or changing policies.
  • A significant amount of variation exists in practices around the globe. Of the 154 regions reviewed, 50 enact mandatory service, 33 maintain it de jure, 2 are uncertain, while the rest do not enforce mandatory service.
  • Scandinavian nations such as Sweden, Norway, and Finland, advocate mandatory service, demonstrating an equal commitment to defense from both genders. Surprisingly, major military powers, such as the United States and China, maintain de jure conscription but majorly rely on voluntary enlistment.
  • A majority of nations, even in regions affected by conflict or instability, do not impose mandatory military service, preferring to rely on voluntary enlistment or other means of staffing their defense forces.
  • Countries like Israel and Eritrea, with contextual security concerns, have mandatory service irrespective of gender, showcasing a comprehensive approach to defense building.

By Country

Full Data Set

Frequently Asked Questions

Methodology