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Egypt-Conscription and Reserves

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The Constitution mandates conscription but provides a variety of options for national service. Conscripts may be required to serve either in the police force, the prison-guard service, or in one of the military economic service units. In 1988 almost 12.5 million men were between the ages of fifteen and forty-nine. More than 8 million of these men were considered fit for military service. Although 519,000 men reached the draft age of twenty each year, only about 80,000 of these men were conscripted to serve in the armed forces. Women were not subject to conscription.

Volunteers earned considerably higher salaries and twice as much leave time as conscripts. Those conscripts who chose to reenlist were often among the less qualified. The result of this situation was a scarcity of NCOs with the proper level of proficiency. The navy and the air force had a smaller conscript-to- volunteer ratio, but these branches of the military faced similar problems. In all services senior NCOs could become candidates for commissions after eight years of duty. These NCOs usually were those with functional specialties who could qualify as warrant officers.

Conscripts served three years of active duty after which they remained in reserve for an additional period. Conscripts with degrees from institutions of higher education had to serve only eighteen months. The government required all males to register for the draft when they reached age sixteen. The government delineated several administrative zones for conscription purposes. Each zone had a council of military officers, civil officials, and medical officers who selected draftees. Local mayors and village leaders also participated in the selection process. After the council granted exemptions and deferments, it chose conscripts by lot from the roster of remaining names. Individuals eligible to be inducted were on call for three years. After that period, they could no longer be drafted.

Although it was no longer possible for a prospective conscript to pay a fee in lieu of service, he could still apply for an exemption. Men employed in permanent government positions, sons whose brothers had died in service, men employed in essential industries, and family breadwinners were all eligible for exemptions.

The military authorities did not give strong emphasis to maintaining reserve forces. Foreign military observers believed that the reserves would be of minimal value in the event of an emergency. An estimated 335,000 men were in the reserves in the early 1980s (300,000 army and ADF, 15,000 navy, and 20,000 air force). The total was expected to decline to about 200,000 by the early 1990s.

Data as of December 1990

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