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Switzerland to expand special military service programme

The Swiss army said Friday it was pleased with the response to a newly-introduced military service programme and would likely expand that pilot project next year.

The Swiss army said Friday it was pleased with the response to a newly-introduced military service programme and would likely expand that pilot project next year.

The programme, which was launched at the beginning of June, involves a limited number of ranked personnel carrying out their mandatory service under a contract that defines their salary and how long they serve.

The new programme was introduced to help alleviate the lack of trained career military personnel in basic training camps.

The traditional way for Swiss men to do their overall 300 days of military service is to undergo several months of basic training at the age of 20, followed by several refresher courses over a given number of years.

The pilot project now allows Swiss volunteers to do more military service than they have to under law.

Corps Commander Jacques Dousse said the response to the new programme had been very good.

“We had several hundred phone calls by people who expressed interest in the new format and wanted to know more about it,” Dousse told a news conference in Berne.

“We even had phone calls from officers who had already finished their compulsory military service and who wanted to server again,” he added.

Under the programme, the men serve as platoon leaders, officers, quartermasters, sergeants or cooks in basic training camps. Gross salaries normally vary between SFr45,500 ($30,000) and SFr58,500 ($39,000).

The Swiss army was planning to expand the current pilot project and introduce another option, which would allow Swiss men to serve the entire 300 days of military service in one stretch, which would equal about ten months.


From staff with wire reports.

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SWI swissinfo.ch - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR