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Professionalisation of the army

Radio Srbija, 16 July 2010.

As of January 1, 2011, Serbia will have a fully professional army. The envisaged number of troops is 11 thousand, and so far some eight thousand people have applied for the job. Another novelty in the system of defense is the introduction of the voluntary military service. According to Head of the Obligations Department of the Ministry of Defense, colonel Dragoslav Lackovic, all these features will improve the work and ability of the Serbian Army. Our reporter Jelica Tapuskovic had the conversation.

The cancellation of the general mandatory military service will make the Serbian Army organized after the model of other European armies. The goal of the professionalization is to enable the army to perform certain tasks and mission, both internally and through cooperation with armed forces of allies and partner countries. The concourse for employment in the army is underway, and among 8,000 applied candidates, there are 1,600 women. Colonel Lackovic emphasizes that the admission to the professional army is going on with usual pace, and he expects all 11,000 planned working places to be filled. He told us that the obligations of the future soldiers were defined by the law, and they are expected to be well-trained, loyal to their units and professional in accomplishing their tasks.

“Eligible for the concourse are all Serbian citizens who meet the conditions. It means being physically fit for military service, which is to be established by a competent commission. Also, if the applicant had worked previously in other state bodies, that employment should have been ceased to serious violations of working discipline; they must not have previous court verdicts to prison sentences of at least six months; and they need to be under the age of 30. The concourse also defines some special conditions, i.e. that the candidate had done regular military service under arms, except for the female applicants; at least high-school education is necessary, except for the infantrymen and sentry service. The logistics service requires adequate professional education for the service at issue, and the applicants for driving service need a C-category driving license and grade-8 education”. Specified colonel Lackovic. He added that each candidate has to go through three-month training, and at the moment there are some 500 candidates in training centers. Only after passing the exam, they will sign a contract.

The voluntary military service is already in place in out neighboring countries. Of course, the National Parliament or the President can annul this decision, in case of an emergency or war. The our collocutor says that the voluntary service should contribute to the rationalization of the army. Unlike with the professional service, only men can apply for the voluntary one, and in three months of duration they will have certain subsidies, such as the possibility to freeze their studies, pass driving exam free of charge, be eligible to work in the army afterwards. Or with security agencies, which will soon be regulated by law. Lackovic added that two thousand places are envisaged for volunteers, and those who do not do military service will be enlisted as reserve. The civilian option for military service will be cancelled, and the last two classes that serve under the old law, September and December, will be able to do it voluntarily since January 1.