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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Conscription in Switzerland: Study Trip vs Reality

CSNS will review lessons learnt from Swiss conscription system: Dr Ng
19 Oct 2013

Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen said the Committee to Strengthen National Service (CSNS) will review the lessons learnt from its study of the conscription system in Switzerland.

Dr Ng, who chairs the committee, made the comments at the end of the CSNS's study trip to Switzerland and Finland from October 16 to 18.

He noted that the Swiss Army Forces has an efficient conscript training system which takes into consideration conscripts' abilities, motivation and aptitude during the assignment of military vocations.

He said the CSNS will consider ways to optimise the contributions of Singapore’s servicemen.

Dr Ng added that Swiss women can also volunteer for conscription.

A statement from the Singapore's Ministry of Defence said the CSNS delegation also learnt how the Swiss Armed Forces has strengthened employers' support for conscription.

This is done through various engagement activities which allow the employers to better appreciate how military training develops the individual and brings value to their companies.

The delegation visited Payerne Air Base and was briefed on how conscripts support the operations of the air base.

It also learnt how Swiss reservists maintain their military skills and technical competencies.

***

Armée suisse: Les soldats voient peu d'intérêt à leur service militaire - Suisse - lematin.ch (Swiss Army: Soldiers have little interest in their military service - translation below)
15.02.2013

Armée suisse — Les soldats pensent que le service militaire a peu de sens. Selon une récente enquête, seuls 40% d'entre eux ont réellement le sentiment de contribuer à la sécurité de la Suisse.

Selon une enquête menée auprès des membres de l'armée, seuls 40% d'entre eux ont réellement le sentiment de contribuer à la sécurité de la Suisse.

Environ la même proportion de sondés pense pouvoir profiter du service militaire dans la vie civile. L'enquête relayée vendredi par la Neue Zürcher Zeitung et dont l'ATS a pu se procurer les résultats, a été menée l'an dernier auprès de 11'000 soldats et cadres de l'armée.

De nombreux employeurs ne voient également pas l'intérêt de l'armée. Seuls 40% des sondés estiment que leur employeur a de la compréhension pour leur service militaire. Moins de 30% recommanderaient à leurs connaissances une formation dans l'armée.

Les soldats évaluent toutefois positivement l'esprit de camaraderie qui règne à l'armée, ainsi que la compétence de leurs instructeurs. Deux tiers sont satisfaits du matériel mis à disposition. A contrario, à peine plus de la moitié trouvent leur service stimulant et clair.

Le chef de l'armée en tire les conséquences

«Ces chiffres sont mauvais et ne suffisent pas. Nous devons mieux expliquer aux soldats pourquoi la Suisse a une armée et à quoi elle sert», a réagi le porte-parole de l'armée Christoph Brunner, interrogé par l'ats.

Le chef de l'armée André Blattmann a décidé que ce rôle sera dévolu aux éléments les plus expérimentés. Environ une vingtaine de brigadiers et de divisionnaires visiteront les troupes en 2013 et feront un discours devant chaque unité.

Par ailleurs, selon Christoph Brunner, 150'000 membres actifs de l'armée seront interrogés au cours de l'année. L'enquête sera menée comme celle de l'année dernière. Les réponses pourront être données par SMS, l'armée s'engageant à traiter les données de manière anonyme.


Translation:
Swiss Army: Soldiers have little interest in their military service

Swiss Army - Soldiers think that their military service is pointless. According to a recent survey, only 40% of them felt that they were really contributing to Swiss national security.

According to a survey conducted among members of the armed forces, only 40% of them really felt that they were contributing to Swiss national security.

About the same proportion of those polled thought they could benefit from their military service in civilian life. The survey reported Friday by Neue Zürcher Zeitung and for which ATS managed to get the results, was conducted last year among 11,000 soldiers and commanders of the military.

Many employers do not have interest in the armed forces either. Only 40% of the polled thought that their employer understood their military service. less than 30% would recommend military training to those they knew.

Nonetheless, the soldiers positively evaluated the spirit of camaraderie which reigned in the armed forces, as well as the competence of their instructors. Two thirds were satisfied with the equipment available. On the other hand, hardly more than a half found their service stimulating and clear.

The Head of the Armed Forces will draw the necessary conclusions

"The numbers are bad and inadequate. We must better explain to soldiers why Switzerland has armed forces and what they are for", commented the armed forces spokesman Christoph Brunner interviewed by ATS.

The Head of the Armed Forces André Blattmann has decided that the role will be delegated to more experimental parties. About 20 brigadiers and generals will visit the troops in 2013 and give a talk to each unit.

Also, according to Christoph Brunner, 150,000 active members of the armed forces will be interviewed over the year. The interview will be conducted like last year's. The responses will be able to be given by SMS, and the armed forces commits to keeping responses confidential.
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