Former Defence Chief critical of today’s military service

Sverre DiesenSverre Diesen.Photo: Knut Falch / SCANPIX
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Former Defense Chief Sverre Diesen is critical of today’s military duty, saying that it involves a waste of resources. However, the Defence Ministry disagrees.

Sverre Diesen was head of Defence in 2005 to 2009. Now that the mobilization defence forces has been abolished, he criticizes today’s military service for being expensive and not very effective. He claims soldiers spend 75 percent of their time in training and are only fully trained and ready to be mobilised in the last three months. However, the trained soldiers are discharged and never to be called up for service again.

“Today’s military service model thus involves both a waste of resources and poor preparedness for long periods of time,” Diesen told VG.

The duty of protection is in principle the same as during the Cold War when everyone had to spend a year in the military in order to participate in the defence of the country. Since then, the number of conscripts has dropped from about 20,000 a year to about 8,500 but they still serve one year.

According to Diesen, this decline is because of the expensive equipment and demanding training. He believes that the system needs to be changed and that does not necessarily mean that military service has to be longer. Several may serve for a shorter period and then transferred to the Home Guard.

Defence spokesman Thomas Gjesdal does not agree with Diesen’s description. He points out that there are several conscription exercises during the year and many pre-trained conscripts at the various military branches all the time.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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