Photo: Archive MOD/ T. Brandt

Minister Anušić: The Armed Forces are preparing three models of military training

Three scenarios of compulsory military service are being developed, and the point is not in duration of the training, but how productive and effective it will be, Minister Anušić emphasized

After the ceremonial promotion of cadets at the Croatian Defence Academy (CDA) in Zagreb, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Ivan Anušić said that Croatia is seriously planning to introduce compulsory military service and that he is developing proposals with the Chief of the CAF GS and employees of the CAF.

“Soon we will have three proposals that will elaborate three scenarios, that is, three possible types of compulsory military service with different length. We should have it ready next week. I will submit it to the Prime Minister and to the President for review and agree with the Prime Minister on further steps, how, in what way and from when to implement military service,” he said.

This will be made public once a political decision has been agreed upon, Defence Minister Anušić emphasised.

Serious infrastructural interventions are required

In the case of a major threat, aggression, all men aged 18 and older are draft-eligible persons.

At this moment, he did not want to “bid” with months, but from his perspective and experience, three months are sufficient to acquire military skills.

“It is incredible that the public is more interested in how long will the military service last than in the content of the training, and that is not the point. It is not about how long the training will last, how long the military service will last, but how productive and effective it will be,” Anušić said.

“This year, it will not be possible to start implementing it because serious infrastructural interventions are needed within the system of facilities of the Armed Forces, i.e. barracks and accommodation facilities,” the Minister added.

He pointed out that it is a large logistical and financial project.

Learning military skills

All those who are draft-eligible persons will have to join the army, and they should learn military skills during their compulsory military service.

“When you go into the training process, there is something called handling lethal means – automatic rifle, sniper, mortar, or something else. Afterwards, there is a part related to knowledge, military tactics and application of the military tactics in certain situations – defence, attack, or something else. And there is the third, also very important part, which is the physical fitness of that person,” explained Anušić.

At the same time, he stated that three months are sufficient enough for a person who is not in a state of complete physical fitness and does not play sports to improve his/her physical condition.

“In three months, a person who cannot run 50 meters can be trained to do a serious 30-kilometre march carrying military equipment, or do a 3,200-metre run, which is some kind of level that everyone should be able to reach,” Anušić said who also participated in the Homeland War.

Civil defence is not an alternative to military service

Speaking about the generations that would enter the process of military training, we are talking about 17,000 young men, while women will be able to volunteer, but will not have an obligation. Anušić also recalled the constitutional category of the appeal of conscience, which also refers to military service.

The Minister said that there will certainly be resistance to that idea, but that we have to be aware that military service is not merely something that prepares a person for a possible future conflict.

“The point of military service and military training is not only going off to war, which I hope and think will not happen, but to become socialised in a specific and different way, so that some bad habits may be changed and others accepted in the phase of growing up in the most sensitive years”, Anušić said.

As an example, he stated getting up and going to bed on time, not having a laptop or screen “in front of them 24 hours a day”, adding that this experience will help them in their future life. He emphasised that military service or military training have no alternatives, that is, that civil defence cannot replace it.

“In the case of any major threat, aggression, all men between 18 and older are draft-eligible persons and can be mobilised, whether they underwent military training or not,” Anušić said, pointing out that it might be better if they had.