The Reintroduction of Conscription in Lithuania: Society‘s and Youth Attitude Towards State Defense and Military Service

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 10:30
Oral Presentation
Aušra POCIENĖ, The General Jonas Žemaitis Military Academy of Lithuania, Lithuania
The Lithuanian armed forces consist of professionals, conscripts, volunteer soldiers and active reserve soldiers. Conscription has been reintroduced in 2015 after a seven year break as a reaction to current military threats. Over 3000 young volunteer conscripts have joined the army during the openings. Despite that fact, the question of motivation to serve in the army remains important. It is directly linked to other questions: does society perceive military threats?; does it trust Lithuanian armed forces?; who/what do they believe would guarantee military safety for Lithuania?; are citizens themselves prepared to defend the state?; do they support reintroduction of conscription?; and do they agree that their family members serve the army as professionals? In this way society serves as a milieu that can encourage or discourage young people to join the military. Young people are the main potential of the state’s defense. Therefore it is important to know: do they intend to defend the state in the face of military danger?; what is their opinion on conscription and military service on general?; what main drivers motivate them to serve in the army? In this context, former conscripts’ opinion is crucial as they are a uniting link between the military and society. What kind of message about military service and Lithuanian armed forces will they convey to society so it can significantly influence young men’s motivation to serve. Therefore, it is important to identify the drivers that motivated the “first wave” conscripts to serve in the army and factors that determined their satisfaction or dissatisfaction during the compulsory service.

The issues mentioned above are analyzed in a longitudinal research that encompasses several quantitative surveys: public opinion surveys (2015 and 2017); youth surveys (2016 and 2017); “first wave” conscripts (the first to serve the army after reintroduction of conscription) surveys.