Law underway to conscript ‘special reserve’ of 18-35 year olds

A law is being prepared to define a “reserve” of young Portuguese men and women, aged from 18-35, who could be exceptionally recruited “in terms to be defined”.

The dispatch coming from the Ministry of Defence justifies the measure by saying that “it is more and more expected that situations requiring the effective use of the Armed Force will occur”.

Signed by defence minister João Gomes Cravinho, the text outlines situations like the combat of forest fires and the Covid-19 pandemic that have involved Civil Protection to the extent that it could do with more ‘boots on the ground’.

The terminology being considered for this new reserve is ‘recruitment reserve’ or ‘reserve availability’.

Right now, the country does have some form of reserve – former soldiers who remain on a list that can be drawn from when the Army needs extra men and women. But clearly it’s not ideal as these ‘veterans’ will have exceeded the age of military duties.

The inference is this measure is needed to ensure the Armed Forces can respond in times of urgency. Only last year, Major General of the Armed Forces Admiral Silva Ribeiro said the crisis in his service was about as bad as it could get (click here).

For now, the reserve plan is being studied by a working group, led by the general directorate of national defence resources – involving representatives from the Army, Navy and Air Force, as well as defence ministry personnel.

A conclusion, with proposals, is expected by the end of the year, writes Lusa.

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