Leadership: Turks Go Semi-Pro


December 2, 2007: Turkey would like to have an all-volunteer force but, like many nations, cannot afford it. But Turkey can afford to have some volunteers. Currently, about a quarter of the half million troops are career soldiers. So Turkey is going to expand the careerist ranks with a number of new programs, that will create units staffed only with volunteers. In the next two years, six commando (counter-terrorism) brigades will be established. Each will have 1,500 troops. In addition, the army will employ thousands of additional volunteers as it eliminates the use of conscripts as NCOs (sergeants). The military will seek volunteers for many technical positions, using higher pay to get these skilled troops to stay in uniform. Until now, the military would train conscripts for many of these jobs, but would lose them just when they got good at their jobs. Using long-term, and higher paid, professionals, for these jobs will provide people with better skills and more experience, and will actually be cheaper in the long run. Within two years, over 50,000 soldiers will be in these all-volunteer units. The military, and the public, will then be able to see the differences between conscripts and volunteers in Turkey.


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