Commander: Not enough volunteers for third service draft in Latvia

To complete the third conscription of the State Defense Service (VAD), Latvia might have to trigger a random selection system for the first time, said Leonīds Kalniņš, Commander of the National Armed Forces (NBS), in the Latvian Television broadcast “Today's Question” November 13.

The third 11-month VAD will be implemented in the Land Forces Mechanized Infantry Brigade, the military base “Ādaži,” where soldiers of the first VAD conscription are still serving today. Until December 1, young people between the ages of 18 and 27 are still invited to apply for the draft, which will begin in July 2024.

So far, about 170 volunteers have volunteered for the third VAD conscription, some of whom have already undergone the necessary medical tests and are ready to start service next July, Kalniņš said.

The NBS commander said it would take at least 1,000 people by December 1 to be able to select at least half given the proportion of the drop-off.

“Apparently, the system of random selectio will have to be triggered,” Kalniņš said, noting that the NBS will do everything to allow those who did  not volunteer to fit into the service environment.

In order to prepare Latvian citizens for the performance of State protection tasks, a mandatory protection service has been established in the country. The first conscription was voluntary – Latvian citizens aged 18-27 could apply until May 15 of this year. 488 Latvian citizens volunteered for the first conscription of the State Defense Service, and 254 young people started the service on July 1.

Meanwhile, 224 Latvian citizens volunteered for the second conscription, which will begin in January 2024, and the Ministry of Defense decided not to carry out mandatory conscription at random.

From January 1, 2024, the service has been designated as mandatory. Compulsory conscription will give priority to men aged 18 to 19. 

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