488 Latvians have voluntarily joined the State Defence Service
The first round of applications for state defence service finished on Monday, 15 May. 488 residents of Latvia, including 11 women and 6 nationals living abroad, applied for voluntary service.
‘We are extremely happy about the number of applications for state defence service. There are more recruits than we expected. People’s interest about joining the army this summer is a clear signal: Latvians are aware that state security is in the hands of the whole society. I do believe that state defence service will be a major factor in building more morally resilient and agile society where everyone plays a specific role in ensuring national security,’ Defence Minister Mūrniece underlined.
When the enlistment closes, recruitment teams will evaluate applications, as well as run candidate background checks against the Convictions Register. Physical health tests will be conducted by National Armed Forces Medical Support Centre. Every potential conscript will be notified of the date and place where these tests will be conducted and documents required to complete them.
Although initially the intention was to draft 300 young people as state defence service volunteers, if more young people are eligible for service, National Armed Forces will be able to accommodate all of them.
As reported earlier, Saeima (Parliament of Latvia) adopted the State Defence Law in the final, third reading on 5 April. According to the Law, all Latvian nationals – men aged 18 and full-aged men who have not completed their primary or secondary education – shall be drafted within 12 months of reaching the age of 18 or graduation in the case of those still in education system until the age of 24. Law also allows female Latvian nationals aged 18-27 to voluntarily choose state defence service.
First wave of volunteer recruits will start their state defence service duty on 1 July. Service will become compulsory on 1 January 2024. Second round of enlistment will also initially be open to volunteers, but in case of need additional recruits will be picked from 18–19-year-old age group. They will be notified via e-mail or letter to their registered addressed, or trough registered letter.
Head of the Media Relations Section
Military Public Affairs Department