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  Field Listing - Military service age and obligation


Country
Military service age and obligation (years of age)
Afghanistan 22 years of age; inductees are contracted into service for a 4-year term (2005)
Albania 19 years of age (2004)
Algeria 19-30 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - 18 months (6 months basic training, 12 months civil projects) (2006)
Angola 17 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - two years plus time for training (2001)
Antigua and Barbuda 18 years of age (est.); no conscript military service (2001)
Argentina 18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2001)
Armenia 18 to 27 years of age for compulsory military service, conscript service obligation - 12 months; 18 years of age for voluntary military service (2004)
Australia 16 years of age for voluntary service; women allowed to serve in Army combat units in non-combat support roles (2001)
Austria 18 years of age for compulsory military service; 16 years of age for voluntary service; from 2007, at the earliest, compulsory military service obligation will be reduced from eight months to six (2005)
Azerbaijan men between 18 and 35 are liable for military service; 18 years of age for voluntary military service; length of military service is 18 months and 12 months for university graduates (2006)
Bahamas, The 18 years of age (est.); no conscription (2001)
Bahrain 18 years of age for voluntary military service (2001)
Bangladesh 18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2005)
Barbados 18 years of age for voluntary military service; volunteers at earlier age with parental consent; no conscription (2001)
Belarus 18-27 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - 18 months (2005)
Belgium 16 years of age for voluntary military service; women comprise approx. 7% of the Belgian armed forces (2001)
Belize 18 years of age for voluntary military service; laws allow for conscription only if volunteers are insufficient; conscription has never been implemented; volunteers typically outnumber available positions by 3:1 (2001)
Benin 21 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; in practice, volunteers may be taken at the age of 18; both sexes are eligible for military service; conscript tour of duty - 18 months (2004)
Bhutan 18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2001)
Bolivia 18 years of age for voluntary military service; when annual number of volunteers falls short of goal, compulsory recruitment is effected, including conscription of boys as young as 14; one estimate holds that 40% of the armed forces are under the age of 18, with 50% of those under the age of 16; conscript tour of duty - 12 months (2002)
Bosnia and Herzegovina 18 years of age for compulsory military service in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina; 16 years of age in times of war; 18 years of age for Republika Srpska; 17 years of age for voluntary military service in the Federation and in the Republika Srpska; by law, military obligations cover all healthy men between the ages of 18 and 60, and all women between the ages of 18 and 55; service obligation is four months (July 2004)
Botswana 18 is the apparent age of voluntary military service; the official qualifications for determining minimum age are unknown (2001)
Brazil 21-45 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - nine to 12 months; 17-45 years of age for voluntary service; an increasing percentage of the ranks are "long-service" volunteer professionals; women were allowed to serve in the armed forces beginning in early 1980s when the Brazilian Army became the first army in South America to accept women into career ranks; women serve in Navy and Air Force only in Women's Reserve Corps (2001)
Brunei 18 years of age (est.) (2004)
Bulgaria 18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscript service obligation - 9 months; as of May 2006, 67% of the Bulgarian Army comprised of professional soldiers; conscription into the Army to end as of 1 January 2008; Air and Air Defense Forces and Naval Forces will become fully professional by end of 2006 (2006)
Burkina Faso 18 years of age for compulsory military service; 20 years of age for voluntary military service (2001)
Burma 18 years of age for voluntary military service for both sexes (2004)
Burundi 16 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service (2001)
Cambodia 18-30 years of age for compulsory military service for all males; conscription law passed September 2004; service obligation is 18 months (September 2004)
Cameroon 18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (1999)
Canada 16 years of age for voluntary military service; women comprise approximately 11% of Canada's armed forces (2001)
Central African Republic 18 years of age for voluntary and compulsory military service; conscript service obligation is two years (2005)
Chad 20 years of age for conscripts, with three-year service obligation; 18 years of age for volunteers; no minimum age restriction for volunteers with consent from a guardian; women are subject to one year of compulsory military or civic service at age of 21 (2004)
Chile all male citizens 18-45 are obligated to perform military service; conscript service obligation - 12 months for Army, 24 months for Navy and Air Force (2004)
China 18-22 years of age for compulsory military service, with 24-month service obligation; no minimum age for voluntary service (all officers are volunteers); 17 years of age for women who meet requirements for specific military jobs (2004)
Colombia 18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscript service obligation - 24 months (2004)
Congo, Democratic Republic of the 18-45 years of age for military service
Congo, Republic of the 18 years of age for voluntary military service (2001)
Costa Rica 18 years of age (2004)
Cote d'Ivoire 18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscript service obligation - 18 months (2004)
Croatia 18 years of age for compulsory military service, with six-month service obligation; 16 years of age with consent for voluntary service (December 2004)
Cuba 17 years of age; both sexes are eligible for military service (2004)
Cyprus 18 years of age (2004)
Czech Republic 18-50 years of age for voluntary military service; on-going transformation of military service into a fully professional, all-volunteer force no longer dependent on conscription began in January 2004 and is scheduled to be completed by 2007 (2005)
Denmark 18 years of age for compulsory and volunteer military service; conscripts serve an initial training period that varies from four to 12 months according to specialization; reservists are assigned to mobilization units following completion of their conscript service; women eligible to volunteer for military service (2004)
Djibouti 18 years of age (est.); no conscription (2001)
Dominican Republic 18 years of age for voluntary military service (2001)
East Timor 18 years of age for voluntary military service (2001)
Ecuador 20 years of age for conscript military service; 12-month service obligation (2004)
Egypt 18 years of age for conscript military service; three-year service obligation (2001)
El Salvador 18 years of age for compulsory military service, with 12-month service obligation; 16 years of age for volunteers (2002)
Equatorial Guinea 18 years of age (est.) (2004)
Eritrea 18 years of age for voluntary and compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - 16 months (2004)
Estonia compulsory military service for men between 19 and 28; conscription lasts 11 months for junior NCOs and reserve platoon leaders; reserve officers and designated specialists have a different conscript service obligation; Estonia has committed to retaining conscription for men up to 2010 and, unlike Latvia and Lithuania, has no plan to transition to a contract armed forces; 17 years of age for volunteers; reserve commitment up to the age of 60 (2006)
Ethiopia 18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service (2001)
Fiji 18 years of age for voluntary military service (2001)
Finland 18 years of age for voluntary and compulsory military service (October 2004)
France 17 years of age for voluntary military service; conscription ended in the 1990s; women serve in non-combat military posts (2001)
Gabon 18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service (2001)
Gambia, The 18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2001)
Georgia 18 to 34 years of age for compulsory and voluntary active duty military service; conscript service obligation - 18 months (2005)
Germany 18 years of age (conscripts serve a nine-month tour of compulsory military service) (2004)
Ghana 18 years of age for compulsory and volunteer military service (2001)
Greece 18 years of age for compulsory military service; during wartime the law allows for recruitment beginning January of the year of inductee's 18th birthday, thus including 17 year olds; 17 years of age for volunteers; conscript service obligation - 12 months for the Army, Air Force; 15 months for Navy; women are eligible for military service (2005)
Guatemala all male citizens between the ages of 18 and 50 are liable for military service; conscript service obligation varies from 12 to 24 months (2005)
Guinea 18 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - 24 months (2004)
Guinea-Bissau 18 years of age for compulsory military service (2001)
Haiti 18 years of age for voluntary recruitment into the police force (2001)
Honduras 18 years of age for voluntary two-three year military service (2004)
Hong Kong 18 years of age (2004)
Hungary 18 years of age for voluntary military service; conscription abolished in June 2004 (2004)
India 16 years of age for voluntary military service (2001)
Indonesia 18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscript service obligation - two years (2002)
Iran 18 years of age for compulsory military service; 16 years of age for volunteers; soldiers as young as 9 were recruited extensively during the Iran-Iraq War; conscript service obligation - 18 months (2004)
Iraq all volunteer force; the Iraqi Government is creating a new professional Iraqi military force of men aged 18 to 40 to defend Iraq from external threats and the current insurgency (2006)
Ireland 17 years of age for voluntary military service; enlistees under the age of 17 can be recruited for specialist positions (2001)
Israel 17 years of age for compulsory (Jews, Druzes) and voluntary (Christians, Muslims, Circassians) military service; both sexes are eligible for military service; conscript service obligation - 36 months for men, 21 months for women (2004)
Italy voluntary military service; conscription abolished January 2005 (2006)
Jamaica 18 years of age for voluntary military service; younger recruits may be conscripted with parental consent (2001)
Japan 18 years of age for voluntary military service (2001)
Jordan 17 years of age for voluntary military service; conscription at age 18 was suspended in 1999, although all males under age 37 are required to register; women not subject to conscription, but can volunteer to serve in non-combat military positions (2004)
Kazakhstan 18 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - two years; minimum age for volunteers NA (2004)
Kenya 18 years of age (est.) (2004)
Korea, North 17 years of age (2004)
Korea, South 20-30 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - 24-28 months, depending on the military branch involved; 18 years of age for voluntary military service; some 4,000 women serve as commissioned and noncommissioned officers, approx. 2.3% of all officers; women, in service since 1950, are admitted to seven service branches, including infantry, but excluded from artillery, armor, anti-air, and chaplaincy corps (2005)
Kuwait 18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; 1 month annual training to age 40; women have served in police forces since 1999 (2001)
Kyrgyzstan 18 years of age for compulsory military service (2001)
Laos 15 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - minimum 18 months (2004)
Latvia 19 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - 12 months; 18 years of age for volunteers; plans are to phase out conscription, tentatively moving to an all-professional force by 2007; under current law, every citizen is entitled to serve in the armed forces for life (2004)
Lebanon 18-30 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscript service obligation - 12 months (2004)
Lesotho 18 years of age (est.); no conscription (2001)
Liberia 18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2001)
Libya 17 years of age (2004)
Lithuania 19-45 years of age for compulsory military service, conscript service obligation - 12 months; 18 years of age for volunteers (2004)
Luxembourg a 1967 law made the Army an all-volunteer force; 17 years of age for voluntary military service; soldiers under 18 are not deployed into combat or with peacekeeping missions (2004)
Macedonia conscription to be phased out by 2007; current tour of conscript duty is six months; 18 years of age for voluntary military service (2005)
Madagascar 18-50 years of age; conscript service obligation - 18 months (either military or equivalent civil service) (2004)
Malawi 18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2001)
Malaysia 18 years of age for voluntary military service (2005)
Maldives 18 years of age (est.) (2004)
Mali 18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscript service obligation - two years (2004)
Malta 18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2001)
Mauritania 18 years of age (est.); conscript service obligation - two years; majority of servicemen believed to be volunteers; service in Air Force and Navy is voluntary (April 2005)
Mexico 18 years of age for compulsory military service, conscript service obligation - 12 months; 16 years of age with consent for voluntary enlistment (2004)
Moldova 18 years of age for compulsory military service; national service obligation - 12 months (2004)
Mongolia 18-25 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - 12 months in land or air defense forces or police; a small portion of Mongolian land forces (2.5 percent) is comprised of contract soldiers (2004)
Montenegro compulsory national military service abolished August 2006
Morocco 18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscript service obligation - 18 months (2004)
Namibia 18 years of age for voluntary military service (2001)
Nepal 18 years of age for voluntary military service (2001)
Netherlands 20 years of age for an all-volunteer force (2004)
Netherlands Antilles 16 years of age for National Guard recruitment; no conscription (2004)
New Zealand 17 years of age for voluntary military service; soldiers cannot be deployed until the age of 18 (2001)
Nicaragua 17 years of age for voluntary military service (2001)
Niger 18 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - two years (2004)
Nigeria 18 years of age for voluntary military service (2006)
Norway 18 years of age for compulsory military service; 16 years of age in wartime; 17 years of age for male volunteers; 18 years of age for women; 16 years of age for volunteers to the Home Guard; conscript service obligation - 12 months (2004)
Oman 18 years of age for voluntary military service (2001)
Pakistan 16 years of age for voluntary military service; soldiers cannot be deployed for combat until age of 18; the Pakistani Air Force has inducted its first female combat pilot (2006)
Papua New Guinea 18 years of age (est.); no conscription (2001)
Paraguay 18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscript service obligation - 12 months for Army, 24 months for Navy (2004)
Peru 18 years of age for compulsory military service (1999)
Philippines 18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service (2001)
Poland 17 years of age for compulsory military service after January 1st of the year of 18th birthday; 17 years of age for voluntary military service; in 2005, Poland plans to shorten the length of conscript service obligation from 12 to 9 months; by 2008, plans call for at least 60% of military personnel to be volunteers; only soldiers who have completed their conscript service are allowed to volunteer for professional service; as of April 2004, women are only allowed to serve as officers and noncommissioned officers (2004)
Portugal 18 years of age for voluntary military service; compulsory military service was ended in 2004; women serve in the armed forces, on naval ships since 1993, but are prohibited from serving in some combatant specialties (2005)
Qatar 18 years of age for voluntary military service; land forces enlisted personnel are largely unprofessional foreign nationals (2005)
Reunion 18 years of age (2004)
Romania after 1 January 2007 conscription will no longer be basis for military service; all military inductees (including women) will be volunteers who contract for an initial five-year term of service; subsequent voluntary service contracts would be for successive three-year long terms; minimum age for voluntary military service is 18; currently minimum age is 20 for compulsory military service, 18 years of age in wartime; conscript service obligation is for 12 months (2004)
Russia Russia has adopted a mixed conscript-contract force; 18-27 years of age; males are registered for the draft at 17 years of age; length of compulsory military service is two years; plans call for reduction in mandatory service to 18 months in 2007 and to one year by 2008; 30% of Russian army personnel were contract servicemen at the end of 2005; as of May 2006, 178,000 contract servicemen were serving in the Army and Navy; planning calls for volunteer servicemen to compose 70% of armed forces by 2010, with the remaining servicemen consisting of conscripts; at the end of 2005, the Army had 40 all-volunteer permanent-readiness units, with another 20 permanent-readiness units to be formed in 2006; 88 Ministry of Defense units have been designated as permanent readiness units and are expected to become all-volunteer by end 2007; these include most air force, naval, and nuclear arms units, as well as all airborne and naval infantry units, most motorized rifle brigades, and all special forces detachments (2006)
Rwanda 16 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2001)
Saint Kitts and Nevis 18 years of age (est.) (2004)
Sao Tome and Principe 18 years of age (est.) (2004)
Saudi Arabia 18 years of age (est.); no conscription (2004)
Senegal 18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscript service obligation - two years (2004)
Serbia peacetime service obligation begins at age 17 and lasts until age 60 for men and 50 for women; under a state of war or impending war, the obligation can begin at age 16 and be extended beyond 60 (2006)
Seychelles 18 years of age (est.); no conscription (2001)
Sierra Leone 18 years of age (est.); no conscription (2001)
Singapore 18 years of age for compulsory military service; 16 years of age for volunteers; conscript service obligation reduced to 24 months beginning December 2004 (2004)
Slovakia complete transition to an all-volunteer professional force went into effect at the beginning of 2006 after 140 years of mandatory army service; volunteers include women, with minimum age of 17 years (2005)
Slovenia 17 years of age for voluntary military service; conscription abolished in 2003 (2004)
Somalia 18 years of age (est.) (2001)
South Africa 18 years of age for voluntary military service; women have a long history of military service in noncombat roles, dating back to World War I (2004)
Spain 20 years of age (2004)
Sri Lanka 18 years of age for voluntary military service (2001)
Sudan 18-30 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - three years (August 2004)
Suriname 18 years of age (est.); no conscription
Swaziland 18-30 years of age for voluntary military service; both sexes are eligible for military service (2005)
Sweden 19 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - 7-17 months depending on conscript role; after completing initial service, soldiers have a reserve commitment until age of 47 (2004)
Switzerland the Swiss Constitution states that "every Swiss male is obliged to do military service"; every Swiss male has to serve for at least 260 days in the armed forces; 19 years of age for compulsory military service; 17 years of age for voluntary military service; conscripts receive 15 weeks of compulsory training, followed by 10 intermittent recalls for training over the next 22 years; women are accepted on a voluntary basis but are not drafted (2005)
Syria 18 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - 30 months (18 months in the Syrian Arab Navy); women are not conscripted but may volunteer to serve (2004)
Taiwan 19-35 years of age for military service; service obligation 16 months (to be shortened to 12 months in 2008); women in Air Force service are restricted to noncombat roles (2005)
Tajikistan 18 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - two years (2004)
Tanzania 15 years of age for voluntary military service; 18 years of age for compulsory military service upon graduation from secondary school; conscript service obligation - two years (2004)
Thailand 21 years of age for compulsory military service; males are registered at 18 years of age; conscript service obligation - two years; 18 years of age for voluntary military service (2004)
Togo 18 years of age for voluntary and compulsory military service (2001)
Tonga 18 years of age (est.) (2004)
Trinidad and Tobago 18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2001)
Tunisia 20 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - 12 months; 18 years of age for voluntary military service (2004)
Turkey 20 years of age (2004)
Turkmenistan 18 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - two years (2004)
Uganda 18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military duty; the government has stated that recruitment below that age could occur with proper consent and that "no person under the apparent age of 13 years shall be enrolled in the armed forces"
Ukraine 18-25 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscript service obligation - 18 months for Army and Air Force, 24 months for Navy (2004)
United Arab Emirates 18 years of age (est.); no conscription (2001)
United Kingdom 16 years of age for voluntary military service; women serve in military services, but are excluded from ground combat positions and some naval postings (2004)
United States 18 years of age; 17 years of age with written parental consent (2006)
Uruguay 18 years of age for voluntary and compulsory military service (2001)
Uzbekistan 18 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - 12 months (2004)
Venezuela 18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscript service obligation - 30 months (2004)
Vietnam 18 years of age (male) for compulsory military service; females may volunteer for active duty military service; conscript service obligation - 2 years (3-4 years in the navy); 18-45 years of age (male) or 18-40 years of age (female) for Militia Force or Self Defense Forces (2006)
Yemen in May 2001, Yemen's National Defense Council abolished compulsory military service and authorized a voluntary program for military service (2004)
Zambia 18 years of age (est.) (2004)
Zimbabwe 18 years of age (est.) (2004)

This page was last updated on 17 October, 2006


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