Voluntary military enlistment goes online

Voluntary military enlistment goes online

Move could pave the way for eventual end to conscription

Voluntary military enlistment will go online this year, a source familiar with the plan said on Friday.

The new plan would come with several benefits, including a future end to the compulsory draft, an opportunity to become a commissioned officer, and assistance for jobless people.

Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha had approved the move, said the informed source who asked not to be identified.

The age for military conscription is 21 years, with the draft held in April.

But from Feb 1-28, men aged 18-20 and 22-29 will be able to enlist voluntarily online as privates. Applicants could choose their favoured units from among 35 military circles, the source said.

The online enlistment results will be announced on March 6-7 and draftees would enter their units on May 1.

After they complete voluntary service as privates, they could take an exam to enter the Army Non-commissioned Officer School, the source said.

After finishing at the school, graduates with the 20 top scores would be admitted to the Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy.

In the short term, the programme would help jobless people because by enlisting as privates they would have a regular income, the source said.

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