UPA (Utanian Press Agency)
Release: May 25th, 301 AP.

President confirms that conscription is out

Utania will officially drop military consciption on July 1st, allowing up to 100,000 conscipts to leave the armed forces, the President confirmed today, as it was revealled that military pay is high enough to attract sufficient vollunteers.

The census reveals that full consciption would enlist about 800,000 Utanian men in the armed forces, a number that is "far too high for Utania's defensive needs" said the President as he announced that conscription would be abolished.

A survey of one thousand non-enlisted and one thousand conscripted men aged 18 to 35 was conducted by the government to ascertain the number of men who would voluntarily enlist in the armed forces if pay rates continue to stay where they are. The survey revealled that a significant number of conscripts would continue their service even if they were free to leave the military on July 1st, and that a force of 300,000 would be "easily maintained" by volunteer enlistment each year.

Eighteen year old infantry soldiers are paid Û15,000 each year, substantially higher than the Û4000 Utani men earn as farm hands in rural Utania. An officer earns over Û25,000, while experienced soldiers can earn up to Û28,000 per annum.

"It is clear to this administration that vollunteer soldiers will effectively replace conscipts, if we maintain current rates of pay", said the President. Conscripts are paid the same as volunteer soldiers.

However, the President has come under fire from Utani in his own government who denounce the move saying that effectively "this nation of rich Uta-Decashi (non-Utani) will be defended by poor Utani". With vollunteers coming mostly from poor Utani communities, "the poor will defend the interests of the rich", said socialist and Utani nationalist MPs, adding that the President should retain conscription to "maintain the balance of fairness".

It is estimated that of the 100,800 conscipts as many as 60,000 will remain in the Armed forces, applying for trade skill positions. The loss will be made up from the 36,000 enlistment applications already received and more to follow. General Arjaat denied this move would have any impact on the military's readiness.

No plans have yet been revealled for an Army Reserve, a system used in other countries to bolster military staff numbers, due to the high vollunteer level in Utania. Utania has a "fit for service" capacity, that is, men between 15 and 49 of reasonable fitness to serve in the military, of seven million men. The Utanian Armed Forces does not have or allow female combatants.

The census reveals that the average age of Utanian military staff is 25.


©UPA, 301 AP.

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