- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 24, 2020

While even just the thought of a kick-start to military conscription is enough to strike fear in many young Americans, for 20-somethings in a number of other nations, mandatory military service is just a fact of life.

In allies such as Israel and adversaries such as Iran, in Russia, Switzerland and dozens of countries, military service is mandatory for varied lengths of time

North Korea has the longest conscription period on the globe, with young men required to serve for a decade and women required to serve for seven years.

Conscription comes in many forms around the globe, but the majority of countries with active conscription programs require “universal service” from the entire population or a targeted subset for a period of time. The Israeli Defense Forces is a well-known example of this — men must serve for three years and women must serve for two years.

Some 60 countries currently engage in active conscription, most of which register both men and women, according to a Pew Research survey, thought women in practice are very rarely called upon to serve. The United States is among a group of 23 countries that has conscription laws on the books, but no one has been actively drafted for nearly 50 years.



Most countries that engage in “universal service” on paper do not actively call all people to serve. In Norway, for example, all citizens must serve for 12 months, yet no one is forced to serve against their will and only about one in six registrants are actually recruited, according to Pew.

Resistance to the draft is an international phenomenon as well, with younger generations beginning to push back on the rigid requirements of service. The rising generation in Russia was accused in 2018 of “evading” the draft. Russian lawmakers estimated that over 164,000 men evaded the draft in recent years, according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

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