[Letters] Reassess the military exemption for breadwinners

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[Letters] Reassess the military exemption for breadwinners

In order to resolve the problems arising as a result of a breadwinner unable to support his family during the mandatory military service, the government has allowed “military duty exemption for domestic reason” for more than 60 years since 1949. However, as the minimum living expense subsidies for the low-income households and other national and social security network are expended, the household finance is partially supported by the national welfare policy. Moreover, an average of 2,300 people get exempted from military service due to difficulties in maintaining household annually, but 46.5 percent of them have college degrees and higher. Therefore, the system needs to be reviewed and revised.

Considering the situations of the time, the following alternative plans are plausible. Firstly, those subject to military service with simple financial difficulties should serve in the military and receive assistance from the nation. The national welfare system and the military service should be linked so that the family can be provided with minimum living expenses. For those who have disabled or underage family members that require personal care, they will be exempted from the military service for domestic reason.

Secondly, the conscription may be postponed for a certain period of the time. If the household finance can be recovered when the person subject to service or his family members work for a while, the military duty may be postponed in the meantime until the financial security is earned.

Lastly, the existing exemption for domestic reason needs to be improved to address the problems in operation. The standards of calculating the cost of family support, the total asset and income need to be modified to reflect the changed social environment, and we need to integrate it with the standard of the national welfare system.

In order to improve the existing system, the Military Manpower Administration is researching and analyzing the actual conditions of the family support by those who have been exempted from the service and the national and social security net supporting the low-income families, senior citizens and the disabled. In the end, the military service duty is a matter directly connected to the national security. Therefore, exempting military service for financial difficulties of the households is not desirable for the national security. The nation needs to set conditions that anyone who is subject to the military service can carry out his duty as it plays a pivotal role in national security.

by Kim Il-saeng Commissioner of the Military Manpower Administration
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