Ministry Of National Defense Announces Plans To Gradually Reduce Length Of Mandatory Military Service

The Ministry of National Defense has announced its plan for the reduction of the length of mandatory military service, starting with soldiers whose discharge date is planned for October 1.

The reduction is to take place gradually over three years, with one day reduced every two weeks. In the end, those who enlist on June 15 of 2020 will be discharged after 18 months of service — three months less than they would serve now.

On July 27, the Ministry of National Defense included its plan for the execution of the reduction of military service time in its ‘Defense Reform 2.0,” which was sent to President Moon Jae In.

The period of service for those in the army and the Marine Corps is currently 21 months, and it will be reduced by three months to 18 months. Those who serve in the navy are currently discharged after 23 months, and the time will gradually be reduced to 20 months.

Those in the air force currently serve for 24 months. As there was a one month reduction of their service time in 2004, the time will now be reduced by only two months.

Public service workers’ time will be reduced from 24 months to 21 months, and the required time for skilled industry personnel on reservist duty will be reduced from 26 months to 23 months.

For those in the army, the reduction of military service time will begin with those who enlisted on January 3, 2017. They would have originally been discharged on October 2, but they will now be discharged one day earlier on October 1.

Following this, service time will be reduced by one day every two weeks. Therefore people who enlisted on January 17, 2017 will be discharged on October 14 of this year (rather than their formerly planned date of October 16). Those who enlisted on January 31, 2017 would have been discharged on October 30 of this year, but they will now be discharged three days earlier on October 27.

The Ministry of National Defense stated, “Those who are enlisting today [July 27] will be discharged on March 16, 2020, which is 41 days earlier than the originally planned discharge date of April 26.”

The gradual reduction of service time will end with those who enlist on June 15, 2020, as they will be discharged after 18 months of service on December 14, 2021.

In response to concern from some people that a reduction in the period of military service would lead to a weakening of the military’s power, the Ministry of National Defense has stated that there will be no such issue.

“Our cutting-edge military strength will be reinforced and positions that require proficiency will be replaced with noncommissioned officers,” it stated. “In order to allow soldiers to focus only on combat duty, there will be a minimization of their non-combat duties.”

It continued, “The reduction in military service time will relieve some of the burden of military service on young people, who are experiencing difficulties in areas such as their studies and finding a job. Servicemen entering society earlier will contribute to the effective utilization of our national human resources.”

The reduction in military service time will take effect following the National Assembly Defense Commitee’s report, a vote through a Cabinet meeting, and approval from the President.

The reform plan also includes an increase in salary for soldiers, the possible implementation of permission to use cell phones after finishing daily work, and more.

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