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Service Substitution System Discontinued In 2005

Posted September. 10, 2002 23:07,   


On September 10, 2002, Ministry of Defense (MOD) announced that it would gradually reduce the size of Service Substitution System to zero as the pool of possible solders is getting smaller year after year due to the lowering birth rate. The Substitution System was first introduced in early 1970s. Under the System, a person eligible for conscription can substitute for his military service by serving as a police officer or industrial technician. Right now, the number of eligible solders is greater than that of people needed in the army.

The MOD plans to diminish the number of industrial technicians to 8,000 next year, and to 4,000 in 2004. Then, it would totally discontinue the System by 2005. Currently, it selects 17,000 for that purpose.

In addition, the mandatory firemen, who presently are recruited 14,000 a year, will also be no longer recruited by 2005 after gradual reduction.

Furthermore, the MOD will reduce the size of fighting police forces from the current 25,000 to less than 20,000 in 2005. For now, the MOD recruits 25,000 rookies a year.

It will also downsize the correctional forces by 500 every year as of 2004 from the current annual 2,400 recruited, and decrease the number of substitute reserve forces (those commuting to and from army bases) by 1,000-3,000 every year from 2004.

While reducing the size of the forces under the System, the MOD plans to enlarge the pool of solders by deploying the public service members (Graded 4th on the physical exam, and serving for the government agencies as administrative assistants) in place of those forces reduced.

MOD’s high-ranking official Nam Hae-il confirmed, “Annually, 50,000 eligible for enlistment are serving under the Service Substitution System. Due to the decreasing birth rate, if we should decide to maintain the current systems, as of 2007, the active army would be in short of 70,000 solders every year.”

Sang-Ho Yun ysh1005@donga.com