Sweden considers new tactic to enlist soldiers

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Having defence as a subject in school could help increase the number of pupils who want to enlist in the armed forces, according to a new Swedish study.

The report published in Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter revealed that making defence a school subject and inviting everybody in the country who is 18 to an annual armed forces day could help boost numbers. 

Since compulsory military service was scrapped in 2010, it has become more difficult to entice potential new recruits into the army.

In 2012, the defence forces became solely responsible for the recruitment of volunteers but drumming up numbers has proved to be more difficult than anticipated. Many drop out early, which has led to a return of compulsory military service being considered for Sweden.

"We want to help raise the attractiveness - that is important for the armed forces," Stefan Ryding-Berg, a former head of the armed forces who worked on the report for the government told Dagens Nyheter.

The recent drama over suspected foreign underwater activity in Stockholm has sparked fears that Sweden does not have enough troops. Putting defence on the school curriculum and celebrating the armed forces once a year have been earmarked as proposals in the new report.

Sweden introduced military service in 1901 but it was scrapped in 2010. In its final years on average only 5,000 conscripted soldiers participated in the training.

After the decision was made to scrap conscription, the military embarked on a national recruitment campaign to help enlist more soldiers.

However, numbers have been on the wane and last month Sweden's new Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist said a return to compulsory military service was being considered.

Source: The Local

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