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MIGHTY CULTURE
Caitlin Foster

What life is like for 10 countries with mandatory draft

A recent report shows that the US is looking into its draft program, weighing options from mandating service for women to getting rid of the draft altogether.

While a reinvigorated draft may alarm US citizens, nearly 60 countries around the world still have some form of conscription.

Some, like Israel, need the draft to ensure it can maintain its armed forces. Others, like China, often have enough recruits that a draft is unnecessary.

Some countries, like Norway and Israel, have allowed transgender people to serve for decades.

This is a look at 10 countries that still require every man, or every woman and man, to serve.


1. Russia

One year of military service is required for Russian men between the ages of 18 and 27.

The country allows for some exceptions — sons or brothers of men killed during their military service are released from conscription, for example.

Even with these exceptions, Russians have been evading the draft at alarming rates, and the government has considered forcing men to report even if they have not been selected.

2. Switzerland

Military service is mandatory for Swiss men.

As recently as 2017, Switzerland was considering adding women to its draft roles.

3. Israel

Israeli men must serve in the defense force for three years.

Women are conscripted for two years.

Transgender Israelis have been allowed to serve since 1993.

4. Norway

Norway was the first NATO country to expand conscription to include women. It was also one of the first countries in the world to allow transgender people to serve, changing its policy in 1973.

The country's conscription is selective; everyone has to register but won't necessarily be called to serve.

5. China

dia-reports-chinas-military-taiwan (DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley)

Although China does mandate military service, it has routinely exceeded recruitment goals and has not needed to force conscription.

6. Iran

Conscription is mandatory for Iranian men, who must serve from 18 months to two years.

7. North Korea

North Korea has the longest conscription period in the world.

Men are required to serve for 10 years, starting at age 17.

Women must serve for seven years.

8. Egypt

Egyptian men must serve for a period of one to three years, depending on their level of education.

9. Austria

In Austria, men can choose between six months of military service and nine months of civil service.

Austria has allowed transgender troops to serve since 2004.

10. Meanwhile, other countries like Taiwan are getting rid of conscription altogether.

Taiwan pledged in 2011 to end conscription. The country is moving closer towards its goal of an all-volunteer force, but is facing hurdles as younger generations are choosing not to serve.

This article originally appeared on Business Insider. Follow @BusinessInsider on Twitter.