Draftees chosen by random number generator

The first draw to determine the identities of the first compulsory draftees to do national military service was carried out January 23.

The unusual spectacle took place on the premises of the Ministry of Defense and was livetreamed on the internet (which you can watch above).

For the third draft of the revived national military service, not enough volunteers applied, so for the first time 300 young people were selected to be sent a summons to a health examination with a view to being drafted. Ultimately however, only 150 of the selected young people will be compulsorily conscripted into the service, taking into account the predicted dropout rate during the health examination.

In fact, more than 500 young people have already volunteered for national service in this intake, though after medical examinations only some 330 remain candidates, meaning another 150 young persons are required.

Male citizens born after January 1, 2004 are subject to conscription into the national defense service. Draftees will have to contend with being paid half the amount volunteers serving alongside them can expect – 300 euros a month instead of 600 euros – during their eleven-month service. The significant difference is intended to incentivise volunteering insted of being drafted.

Conscripts for selection are registered randomly by administrative territory, assigning a serial number to each citizen. The selection was made using a "unique random number generation tool" specially created for conscript selection, the Ministry of Defense stated.

Indeed, officials presiding at the slightly strange selection ceremony were clearly at pains to appear as trasparent as possible – while contending with the simple fact that due to information protection rules, the end product of the process was just a random number, not a name with a concrete identity.

Consequently, despite a series of speeches about the need for national service at the start of the selection event, by the end a curiously muted atmosphere appeared to have sway in the presentation hall as those present stared at a screen containing three-digit and four-digit numbers without knowing what – or who – they actually represented. All that could really be stated was that the random number generator appeared to have worked.

"I can confirm that the selection process has proceeded successfully and correctly, no external interference in the selection process has been detected," stated the chairman of the monitoring commission immediately after the necessary button had been pressed.

From January 26 to February 1, summonses to a health check will be sent to the e-mail addresses or the declared addresses of the people represented by the random numbers.

It is expected that the young people will receive decisions on participation in the service from April 2 to 12.

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