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Greece - Military Personnel

In an annual state of the economy speech, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said 12 September 2020 Greece would hire 15,000 more people over the next five years, and - re-evaluating military training to ensure professional supplies for conscripts. On July 22, 2019, the new Minister of National Defense, Nikos Panagiotopoulos , made his program statements in Parliament, with the following words: "The quality excellence of our personnel ensures the very deterrent power of the Armed Forces, and that is why it is our duty to stand by the personnel. To this end, we plan to take a series of measures of a social nature , to address issues related to the daily lives of executives and their families, living conditions and improving their standard of living, in a safe, modern but also special and special , no matter how we do it, work environment "

After four years, the military had not received compensation for night work, from the first moment the law was passed by the SYRIZA government and the night compensation was instituted. The interesting thing is that the military , every time the Minister of Defense (and Nikos Panagiotopoulos ) is asked in Parliament, they answer that they want to give it, but the economic policy is exercised by the Ministry of Finance and therefore do not expect much. Since 2015, the supply of clothing items to the Army has stopped, while the Professional Hoplites ( EPOP ) of the Army have not been granted for twelve (12) years a uniform No. 8 or even fabric to sew the same executives in this uniform. There is a monthly card in the Navy. The officers of the Armed Forces are assigned more and more tasks, without any compensation, while at the same time the existing working framework is constantly being elasticized to their detriment, due to the increasing requirements and despite the relevant provisions of the legislation. The known problems with the grade evolution of the officers coming from the ASSY, until the class of 1990, although they have been recognized, have not been solved. Despite the promises from both SYRIZA and ND, the imbalances that have been caused in the hierarchical structure of the Armed Forces by article 32 of Law 4406/2019 regarding the calculation of the years of service of the permanent volunteers of ND remain active . 445/1974 and the permanent volunteers of law 705/1977, According to the provisions of the article 4, paragraph 6 of the Constitution: "Every Greek citizen who is capable of carrying a weapon is obliged to contribute to the defence of the Country, as it is stipulated by the law". In compliance with this constitutional mandate, the military legislation stipulates that all Greek males, from the 1st January of their 19th year until the 31st December of their 45th year, are obliged to serve in the Armed Forces.

Since 2001, upon the decision of the Minister of National Defence, the gradual decrease of the military service in the Armed Forces began. Since 1-1-2004 the duration of the complete service is: For the Reserve Officers of the three Sectors of the Armed Forces: 17 months; For the Soldiers of the three Sectors of the Armed Forces: 12 months. Since 01 January 2003 the Soldiers of the three Sectors of the Armed Forces, which are entitled to a reduced service according to the military law provisions, serve nine (9) months instead of twelve (12), as it was previously the case.

The organization of the Hellenic Armed Forces is based mainly on United States standards. The number of individuals serving in the Greek military decreased by about 21 percent between 1985 and 1994; over the same period, defense expenditures as a percentage of gross national product (GNP) decreased by slightly less than 1 percent. National defense planning stresses modernization of equipment and training modernization in keeping with the selected goals of military doctrine.

Conscription was introduced in Greece in 1911, a shortly before the involvement of the country in a series of wars (the Balkan Wars, the First World War, the campaign to Ukraine, the Asia Minor campaign). The duration of this involvement (more then a decade) and the consequent exhaustion of the soldiers - many of whom were enlisted in 1911 and were discharged in 1923 - resulted to the first mass desertions from the Greek army.

According to the constitution, every male born to a parent of Greek citizenship, capable of bearing arms, has the right and obligation to serve in the Hellenic Armed Forces. For Greek males born in Greece, competent military authorities are automatically notified of their birth, through the municipal registration process. During the period of eligibility, exemptions may be granted for serious health problems and in some other cases, such as to fathers of more than four children and church officials. Deferments are granted for completion of university studies until the age of twenty-seven for undergraduate studies and until the age of thirty for graduate studies. It is estimated that 40 percent of each conscript "class" request and receive deferments for completion of their studies. Women are not subject to conscription, but they may enlist voluntarily in the armed forces.

The recruitment pool for the Greek armed forces had been shrinking gradually since about 1980 because the population was aging and each recruiting age-group was accordingly smaller. In 1994 the prime recruiting group, ages eighteen to twenty-two, included 370,000 men. Because of the country's demographics, the Ministry of National Defense announced in 1994 that women may be required to participate in some military training in National Guard units. In 1985 the armed forces had 201,500 persons. In 1994 the total number was 159,300, of whom 122,300 (77 percent) were conscripts and 5,900 were women. The Hellenic Army numbered 113,000, the air force 26,800, and the navy 19,500.

During January and February of the year running their 19th year of age, all male Greek citizens must fill in and submit to military authorities a special registration form (Deltio Apografis).

The youngest age at which a person may enlist voluntarily is seventeen. Each individual's case was reviewed by the local draft board, which evaluates all conscripts to determine the person's appropriate branch, specialization, and grade (officer, noncommissioned officer, or private). Classifications are computer-processed on the basis of qualifications. Those entrants selected to serve as officers spent four months at a reserve officers' school, after which they were designated "reserve officers." A few months before their release from active service, they were commissioned as second lieutenants.

In addition to active-duty personnel, the Greek military includes about 406,000 reservists. They are divided into three categories, according to age. Categories A, B, and C include personnel below age forty, between forty and fifty, and above age fifty, respectively. Reservists are subject to recall to participate in military exercises lasting one to two weeks per year.

There is general agreement that the conscription system operated effectively, and it is accepted widely by the Greek people. In the early 1990s, the issue of conscientious objectors (mainly Jehovah's Witnesses) received increased publicity because Greece required conscientious objectors to serve their noncombat assignments for twice as long as regular military inductees, and because of numerous reports that personnel excused from combat duty had been imprisoned and mistreated. Based on such reports, several human rights organizations urged Greece to resolve the problem. In 1994 the Ministry of Defense examined the possibility of establishing a shorter period of alternative service, but there was concern that conscripts might use this option to avoid military service in combat units.

In 1997 the Greek Parliament passed a law introducing, with big delay in comparison with the rest of Europe, a kind of civil social service as alternative to the military service (Law 2510 of 27/6/1997). The term conscientious objector is mentioned for the first time in a legal text, without though marking the formal recognition of the human right. From 1998 until 2009, around 2000 conscientious objectors (the vast majority being Jehovah's Witnesses) had served or were serving an alternative civilian service.

By the 1990s the standard term of service for inductees was eighteen months in the air force, twenty months in the army, and twenty-one months in the navy, with maximum terms of nineteen, twenty-three, and twenty-one months, respectively. Since Jan. 1, 2001, a progressive reduction in the length of military service for draftees has begun, in order to reduce the obligations of young men as much as possible, and allow them to resume their professional or academic obligations earlier than in the past.

Thus, all men who are obliged to complete a full term of military service and who are classified or reclassified in the Armed Forces after Jan. 1, 2003 (the date by which the progressive reduction in the length of military service will have been completed), will be obliged to complete the following, reduced terms of service: Twelve (12) months for the Army; Fifteen (12) months for the Navy; Fourteen (12) months for the Air Force; Seventeen (17) months for the Cadets Reserve Officers.

By 2007 the term of mandatory military service was 12 months regular duty or 17 months reserve duty in the army, air force or navy. Longer tours of 18-36 months were previously required. In August 2009, it was proposed that army conscripts would only serve nine (9) months, though air force and navy recruits would still be required to serve 12 months until 2010 or 2011. However, the bill was never signed, and the new government elected on October 4, 2009 had not announced clear parameters on if/when a reduction will take effect and to whom and what areas it will apply.

Male and female personnel may become career noncommissioned officers (NCOs) by serving an initial five-year term, after which they have the option to remain in the service as a career or return to civilian life. In 1994 some 24 percent of armed forces personnel were classified as professional soldiers (career NCOs or officers). Recent efforts to increase this percentage had been frustrated by the lack of funds to raise the pay scale and induce reenlistment.

Male and female volunteer NCOs undergo eight weeks of basic training at recruit training centers, after which they receive specialized NCO training, the duration of which depends on their specialization. The training cycle is completed with on-the-job training in the units to which the individuals are assigned. Conscripts go through three training cycles. An eight-week orientation period provides physical training and knowledge of basic military skills. The twenty-six-week cycle that follows is conducted in special training centers that teach battlefield survival, fighting skills, and carrying out missions. The third cycle, which continues until the individual is demobilized into the reserves, aims to maintain the skills learned previously. All personnel participate in small-scale or large-scale army or interservice exercises at the conclusion of training. Reservists are called up periodically to refresh their skills or familiarize them with new equipment.

In 1994 about 16,700 officers served in the Hellenic Armed Forces. Officers receive training at one of four military schools. The Army Cadet Academy accepts 250 new students annually, the Air Force Cadet Academy adds 130 students annually, and the Navy Cadet Academy accepts seventy-five students annually. All three academies offer four-year programs. Entry to the service academies is very competitive; between 10 and 15 percent of applicants normally are selected. The Corps Officers' Military School offers a four- to six-year training program for medical and administrative officers, accepting 100 new officers annually. In addition, each service branch has several schools for NCOs, each offering a two-year course of study. The law provides that a fixed percentage of academy NCO graduates be commissioned every year.

In the course of their careers, selected officers are trained in higher military schools such as the Army War College, the Air Force War College, and the Navy War College, which accept captains and majors, and the National Defense Academy, which accepts lieutenant colonels and colonels. The course of study in all those schools is one year. A number of officers also study at military schools and academies in NATO-member countries and other allied nations.

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Page last modified: 01-10-2020 09:51:45 ZULU