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Testing 18 months compulsory military service

Border Guards on the Norwegian-Russia border will be the first soldiers in the kingdom to have 18 months of military service instead of today’s 12.

Sør-Varanger Garrison, home to the Norwegian Border Guards, will take part in a pilot project where conscripts with specialized service will serve half a year longer than other soldiers. If the pilot project is successful, all army conscripts can be serving 18 months in the future. 

Two groups of a total of 30 soldiers will be the first to be offered 18 months service at Sør-Varanger Garrison (GSV). They will get higher daily allowance and more money at demobilization than other soldiers. They will also be exempted from future repetition exercises. 

“We are very proud to have been chosen as test unit”, says Commander of GSV Lieutenant-Colonel Jan Østbø to Sør-Varanger Avis. “This will give the service better continuation”. With only 12 months of service, nearly half the period goes to educate soldiers to become dog handlers, drivers or radar operators. Then there are only have a few months left to take advantage of this knowledge before the soldier is discharged.  

Popular service
GSV is one of the most popular places in Norway to do military service. “It is a fact that the soldiers are happy to be at GSV. Many express that they would want to stay longer than 12 months. For those 18 months of service will be perfect”, Østbø says.

If the pilot project at GSV is successful, the arrangement can be implemented in other units in the Norwegian Army. Head of Ministry of Defense’s Department for Defense Policy and Long-time Planning Rear Admiral Elisabeth Natvig is confident the project will create effectiveness:  “This is about competence building in the whole defense system. Any project that helps motivate our soldiers is good”. Natvig underlines that the project with 18 months of service is based on voluntariness for the time being.

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