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Army and Navy admit return of mandatory military service

Photo by Filip Andrejevic on Unsplash

The war in Ukraine and NATO's excessive dependence on the United States has reignited the debate on the reintroduction of compulsory military service in many European countries, including Portugal.

Last Friday, in an article in Expresso, the Chief of the Naval Staff, Henrique Gouveia e Melo, said that it may be necessary to "rethink compulsory military service, or another more appropriate variant", in order to "balance the expense/results ratio" and "generate greater availability of the population for Defense".

The Chief of Staff of the Army, Eduardo Ferrão, agreed with the position, arguing that "a reintroduction of compulsory military service is worth studying and evaluating from various perspectives".

Meanwhile, in a response to Lusa, the Armed Forces General Staff said that the decision on a possible return to compulsory military service should be decided by the government, but stressed that this hypothesis would not "solve, on a one-off basis, manpower management challenges".

Compulsory military service ended in Portugal in 2004. Its end was approved in 1999 by an executive led by socialist António Guterres, now UN Secretary-General, with a four-year transition period.

The transition to professionalization was completed in September 2004, two months before the scheduled date of November 19, with centrist Paulo Portas as Minister of Defence.

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