Yerevan/Mediamax/. Defense Minister of Armenia Vigen Sargsyan presented “I have the honor” and “It is me” draft programs today, which imply revolutionary changes in the army.
While delivering a speech at the “Nation-army 2017” conference in Karen Demirchyan Sports and Concert Complex in Yerevan, Vigen Sargsyan said that his suggestions are aimed at increasing the army’s combat readiness and strengething trust towards the armed forces.
We present description of the projects below.
“I have the honor”
The idea of “I have the honor” state-run program is to connect deferment through higher education with service as an army officer in the future. Any person admitted to universities (either public or private) with state-issued accreditation can apply for the program. If a student complies with a number of requirements (such as health condition, physchological test for leadership qualities, and certain grades throughout education terms) they can be admitted to the mentioned program, becoming a candidate for the rank of officer. While studying at the civilian university, that student will attend Saturday military trainings at Vazgen Sargsyan Military Institute from the beginning of the 2nd course until the end of the first semester of the 4th course. If the student completes the training and graducates from the civilian university, they will receive the rank of lieutenant along with the bachelor’s degree and begin the army service term of 3 years.
The service will correspond with the civilian education, but will pass at the front line in any case. Thus, the citizens with higher education will be able to serve the Motherland on a higher level, as they will begin army service from the rank of officer (with according living conditions) and get competitive salary (at least AMD 260,000 monthly). Upon successful completion of army service, they will also receive additional bonus in the amount of their tuition fees. The master’s course fees will also be covered, if the serviceman decides to get master’s degree after the army.
The program offers army service in the officer rank to graduates of the world’s top 10 universities and students-winners of international Olympiads, with special conditions. They will be offered officer ranks in the military industry sector, where they’ll be able to apply their knowledge to greater efficiency. Those candidates will be offered not a three, but a five-year contract.
One of the most important results of the program is formation of the military reserve force. Reserve units with numerous soldiers are necessary for the army, while it requires skilled servicemen with experience on the frontline. Thus, deferment transforms from the method of avoiding service at all into the most effective means for contributing to the Armed Forces. The government offers the most significant package of compensation.
“It is me”
Those draftees, desiring to serve in military bases, engaged in combat shifts, will be eligible to serve under a new military service type: term-contractual.
The service period is defined for three years, however the servicemen will be on leave for 7 months of the total term, which will be available beginning from the 6th month, when the serviceman’s unit assumes combat shift by serving under the 1+1+2 formula each month. This implies one week on leave, one week in the military base undergoing training for combat shift, and two weeks in the frontline carrying out combat shift.
Thus, servicemen will begin their service after undergoing the 5-month training course. From the 31 months of service, the draftees will spend 7 months at home, and 24 in the military base and combat positions.
Servicemen will receive money upon each time they go on leave. By the time the service period is over, the servicemen will receive around AMD 5 million, which the demobilized soldier can use for one of the three programs:
1. Affordable housing (subsidized mortgage program)
2. Mini-farm (for creating a small greenhouse or farm or acquisition of agricultural equipment for servicemen living in rural areas)
3. Compensation for tuition fees
All the three programs are aimed at giving the demobilized young people the opportunity to build their future in Armenia and deepen their inseparable connection with the motherland through long-term programs.
The following issues will be set for wide public discussion: directions of the targeted programs, payment terms, details on refusal from the program or involvement at the middle of service, as well as the viability of the program as a whole.
It is planned that the program will be an alternative to the existing option, so citizens will be free to choose between the new program and the current type of service: two-year compulsory military service. Nevertheless, if the program is a success, it might become the main kind of service on the frontline.