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Cyprus - Military Personnel

As of 2010 the National Guard had about 10,000 troops on active duty, of which about 1,000 were regulars and 9,000 were conscripts serving for 24 months, along with a reserve of another 50,000 troops. The National Guard had a complement of some 13,000 men on active duty in 1989. Scaled back from a peak of 35,000 in 1967, its size had remained fairly constant since the Turkish invasion in 1974. At that time the bulk of its personnel were Greek Cypriot conscripts fulfilling twenty-six months of mandatory service.

The National Guard's officer corps had always consisted mainly of officers detailed to it from the Greek Army. In early 1990, an estimated 1,800 officers and noncommissioned officers (NCOs = hoplites) from the Greek Army were serving in the National Guard, compared with approximately 800 Greek Cypriot officers and NCOs. Greek officers dominated in senior positions; as of 1990, the National Guard's commander, deputy commander, and chief of staff were all Greek nationals. The senior Greek Cypriot officer was a divisional commander with the rank of brigadier general. Efforts were under way to increase the number of Greek Cypriots in the force. In early 1990, parliament approved the appointment of Greek Cypriots to an additional sixty-five officer and fifty NCO positions.

Young Cypriots wishing to make a career of military service attended the Greek military academy. National Guard officers also obtained their advanced training at Greek military institutions, where a designated number of places were set aside for them. In addition, training was provided in France in the use of the new French equipment being introduced into the National Guard. Some conscripts could become reserve officers after successfully completing a six-month course, then serving as second lieutenants for ten months of active duty. Greek officers assumed the primary responsibility for National Guard training at all levels.

Graduates of the Higher Military Educational Institutions and the Higher Military Schools of Non-Commissioned Officers are appointed to the Army of the Republic as Officers (Lieutenants) and Non-Commissioned Officers (Sergeants) respectively. It is emphasized that the graduates of the Medical Department of the Military School of Officers (SSAS) may be called upon to be further trained to acquire a medical specialty. The medical specialty for each military doctor will be determined by the GEEF based on the respective service needs of the National Guard . The graduates of the Department of Military - Military Legal Advisers of the Military School of Officers (SSAS) will be placed in the Military or Judicial Corps, based on the respective service needs of the National Guard.

The Hoplite is subject to all the relevant provisions of the Laws on the National Guard and the Laws on the Military Penal Code and Procedure, as well as the Regulations issued under them, as they are amended or replaced from time to time. The SYOPs are placed / transferred to Branch / Weapon / Corps / Specialty, to Units / Services, based on the needs of the Force. No discrimination for assignment of duties due to gender.

Soldiers completing their active duty continued to serve in the reserves until age fifty, and officers until age sixty-five. As of 1990, it was estimated that the National Guard could call upon 66,000 first-line reserves and more than 30,000 older second-line reserves. Selected reserve units were called up periodically without advance notice to test the mobilization system. A certain percentage of the reserves were mobilized annually to participate in a week of National Guard field exercises.

Uniforms, symbols of rank, and insignia of the National Guard were similar to those of the Greek Army. The color and cut of the uniforms was the same, although the design of the buttons, the device on caps, and the shield on epaulets incorporated an olive branch device corresponding to that found on the Cypriot flag and coat of arms. Fatigue uniforms were of camouflage cloth.

Few exemptions were granted from compulsory service. The issuance of exit permits from the island and the opportunity for higher education were not available until the service obligation was fulfilled. The annual call-up was in June, and discharges were granted in August to conform to the academic year. In spite of incentives, it had proven difficult to induce qualified individuals to remain in military service, especially at the NCO level. Young men with skilled or semiskilled occupations could easily obtain well-paying jobs on the thriving civilian economy.

Under the influence of an energetic commanding officer, the training regime was intensified in the late 1980s. The morale of the National Guard was considered high, as a result of the more rigorous training program and the introduction of modern weapons systems. Draftee wages were low--about US$15 a month in the late 1980s--and were generally supplemented by help from families to meet personal expenses. Conscripts were often able to arrange postings near their homes. Career personnel were paid on a higher scale of remuneration that appeared adequate, especially at the officer level.

As of 1990, the first women had been recruited as volunteers into the National Guard, following a decision to accept female applicants for noncombatant positions.

The term of office according to Article 20 of the Law on the National Guard, is set at 24 months, but may be reduced by decision of the Council of Ministers, but not for a period of less than three months. By decision of the Council of Ministers in 2016, the duration of full compulsory military service was reduced to 14 months.

From article 21 of the Law on National Guard and for specific categories of conscripts and national guards, depending on the category, 18 months, 14 months, 6 months and 3 months reduced term is provided. As a result of the reduction of the full term to 14 months, in essence, only the 6-month and 3-month reduced term remain in force, as provided in Article 21 of the Law.

Those conscripts and national guardsmen who have reasons to belong to the beneficiaries of reduced military service, as provided in article 21 of the Law, submit an application together with the supporting documents specified for their case, requesting that their military service be reduced.

Conscripts can submit their application to the local SG after the summoning of their class and before their classification in the National Guard. Those who fulfill alternative social service submit their application to the local SG at any time during their term. The National Guard submits their application to the Units they serve at any time during their term of office. Applications for reduction of term of office shall be submitted by the person concerned or by his / her legally authorized representative.

Those national guards who fulfill their duty of service in the National Guard, as well as those judged by the competent, under the Law on the National Guard, health committees, as permanently unsuitable for conscription, for health reasons, according to the Table of decree issued in article 31 , are permanently dismissed by the National Guard and are granted a final diploma.

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Page last modified: 30-06-2021 12:05:32 ZULU