Army chief would back national service

The Netherlands top military official Dick Berlijn would support the re-introduction of national service, he told ANP news service on Tuesday evening.

The measurewould give young people an insight into the armed forces and would have a positive effect on socialising them, he said.
Berlijn was speaking ahead of a parliamentary debate on the shortfall in manpower in the armed forces, where there are 6,000 vacancies at the moment. But Berlijn does not see the shortage as a ‘down-hill story’ he told ANP. ‘Defence has often needed more recruits but has always had the means to correct any shortfall,’ he said.
Berlijn told ANP that the system would have to be fairer than the old national service for 18-year-old boys which was scrapped in 1996. A new national service would be for boys and girls who would then realise how spoilt they are, he said.
He pointed to the young men and women serving in Afghanistan. ‘They realise that many things in the Netherlands, like councils and the police, cannot be taken for granted,’ he said.

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