Compulsory military service for women? Council of States adorns itself

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Compulsory military service for women? Council of States adorns itself

The army and civil defense have a recruitment problem. The Council of States therefore wants to act. For the time being, he leaves open whether there should be compulsory military service for women.

The recruit school remains a male domain. But the proportion of women has recently increased. The Federal Council is examining compulsory service for women.

key stone

The civil defense and the army are increasingly lacking in personnel. In order to secure the existence in the long term, the Federal Council would like countermeasures to be taken. The proposals are explosive. The Federal Council is examining two alternative variants of compulsory service, as it presented in a report approved in March.

The “needs-based service obligation” in particular makes you sit up and take notice. He provides that compulsory service will be extended to women. In concrete terms: women would have to go to the recruit school or do civil protection service. The second suggestion also has it all. The Federal Council would like to examine whether civil defense and civil service should be merged into a new organization.

people have the last word

Despite this explosive nature, the Council of States on Wednesday was as sober as ever. The small chamber took note of the two reports without any major discussion. This should also have something to do with the fact that decisions are unlikely to be made soon. The federal government will review the proposals by the end of 2024. In any case, the hurdles are great: Because the constitution would have to be changed, the people would have the last word in any case.

In the analysis, the small chamber was unanimous. Werner Salzmann (SVP/BE) stated on behalf of the commission that the Federal Council had examined the problem of the impending shortages in the army and civil defense very well.

Commission prefers merger

Faced with a choice, the pre-advisory commission prefers the fusion of civil service and civil defense in the long term. She had already rolled out corresponding plans before, but dropped them again. The suggestion is not new anyway. The intergovernmental conference for the military, civil defense and fire brigades of the cantons had already brought a merger into play in 2019.

Josef Dittli (FDP/UR) would like to start somewhere else. A thorn in his side is the many departures from the army for civilian service. This “practically voluntary choice” between the two services must be made more difficult. Dittli mourns the reform that was initiated, which was intended to make civilian service less attractive. In the final vote, the law failed due to resistance in the National Council.

The Commission sees a short-term need for action with regard to the army’s WK inventory. The proposal to oblige women to take part in the army’s orientation day met with approval. Defense Minister Viola Amherd brought up this idea last summer. “The obligatory orientation day is a great opportunity to voluntarily bring women into the army,” emphasized Andrea Gmür-Schönenberger (centre/LU).

Civic service is not off the table

Originally, the federal government had also examined a citizen service obligation. In this model, all those fit for service would have effectively served. From the Federal Council’s point of view, however, there is only a limited connection to security. In addition, the number of service days to be performed would be doubled. This would also create capacities outside the security area for which there is no apparent need.

Nevertheless, the idea is not yet politically off the table. “In the long term, a citizens’ service is the right thing for our country,” said Dittli with conviction. Such a service could also be used to tackle tasks in the health service. A broadly supported alliance of young politicians and party representatives from the left-green to the free spirit weibelt for a citizen service. This wants to introduce an equal “Service Citizen” with a popular initiative.

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