Why conscription, Singapore? the social and geostrategic considerations
Kwok, Daniel J.
Malley, Michael S.
Halladay, Carolyn C.
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Conscription is a centuries-old manpower procurement policy that continues to be used by many countries today; however, in the last few decades, the trend is for developed countries to transition toward all-volunteer forces. Reasons to implement conscription include the presence of a clear military threat and authoritarian intentions, among others, but many nations have since reduced or abolished conscription as they shift toward stable, democratic late-modern prosperity. Singapore adopted conscription shortly after gaining independence in 1965, yet amid similar conditions in the past half-century and facing the same challenges to its model and ideal of conscription, has not made the transition to an all-volunteer force. This thesis analyzes the reasons for Singapore's continued use of conscription in a world where other developed countries have transitioned toward all-volunteer forces. This insight could provide alternative options for countries seeking to maintain conscription, as well as reframe the civil-military discourse about conscription. Also, Singapore stands out as an anomaly in the globally occurring transitions to all-volunteer forces, thus explaining the Singapore case would further an understanding of why countries end, or retain, conscription.
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