Following changes to legislation introduced in December 2017, the status of "reserve soldier" can now be taken by individuals without previous military experience upon completion of a suitable training course. The status is separate from the status of members of the Zemessardze or National Guard and is part of an effort to maintain a reserve force of around 3,000 during peacetime.
In theory all Latvian citizens aged 18-55 are already "reservists" who can be called up should need arise, but the National Armed Forces (NBS) will now launch reservist military training this year with a training course due take place from July 28 to September 2. Upon completion of the course they gain the status of "reserve soldier".
The course is also open to women and represents the first opportunity for women without previous military experience to become reserve soldiers.
By July 1, a citizen of the Republic of Latvia aged 18-50 can apply to participate in the course of study provided they have at least basic education and competence in the state language at an average level (B1). A health inspection will also have to be passed, and persons with criminal convictions or a history in the Soviet-era occupation apparatus also need not apply.
More information and an online application form can be obtained at the website www.mil.lv. It is planned that 50 reservists will be trained during 2018, the ministry said, though the ultimate number to be trained will depend upon the level of interest.
During the course, the new Reservists will acquire basic military skills including weapons training, military law, field administration, field combat skills, topography, orienteering, communication training and basic first aid training.