Military to hire reservists as part-time training leaders

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Military to hire reservists as part-time training leaders

Korea's military plans to hire former soldiers to serve as part-time leaders during the training of reservists, the Defense Ministry announced Tuesday.
 
The ministry said that the Reserve Military Act and the Military Service Act, which regulate the training of men in the reserve forces, will be amended to allow reservists and former soldiers to serve as part-time platoon leaders or take up other commanding posts for up to 180 days per year, with a daily wage of 100,000 to 150,000 won ($85-130) as an incentive for former soldiers to sign up for such positions.
 
These part-time reservists will be able to apply for posts as company commander, platoon leader, and combat equipment operations and maintenance personnel.
 
The ministry added that it plans to increase the number of short-term part-time reservist training leaders to about 4,500, and long-term part-time reservist leaders to 600 by 2024.
 
Short-term part-time reservist leaders will be summoned for duty 15 days a year, with the ministry setting an initial recruitment target of 3,700 people next year.  
 
Short-term reservist leadership positions will last one year, with 100,000 won in compensation per day when reservist training takes place on weekdays, and 150,000 won per day on holidays and weekends.
 
Long-term part-time reservist leadership posts include 50 positions, such as lieutenant commander, major-level staff, non-commissioned officers for maintenance and distribution and tank maintenance soldiers. Long-term part-time reservist leaders will be paid 150,000 won for each day they work.
 
The Defense Ministry’s recruitment drive for more reservists in leadership positions comes as the country faces a shortfall in able-bodied conscripts, leading to greater reliance on the country’s sizeable reserves remaining ready in case of a wartime contingency.
 
“In wartime, military units consist of standing forces and mobilized reserve forces. As the number of active-duty soldiers decreases, the importance of reserve forces that can be mobilized is increasing,” the ministry said in its announcement.
 
“In some units where mobilized reservists make up the bulk of the manpower, more than 90 percent of the unit members are drawn from reserves.”
 
The growing reliance on the state of the country’s reserves reflects the military’s awareness of Korea’s dwindling supply of able-bodied men to serve as conscripts in active duty positions.
 
The Korean military is already reforming its forces to reduce the size of its 599,000-strong force, which includes both conscripts and enlisted soldiers, to 522,000 troops by 2022.
 
While the military hopes to keep a baseline number of 274,00 conscripts within the 522,000 figure, the Defense Ministry forecast in November 2019 that the pool of able-bodied men available for conscription will decline by nearly half over the next two decades.
 
The number of 20-year-old Korean men that can enlist for mandatory military service each year is due to drop from 330,000 at the end of 2020 to 240,000 by 2036, and then further to around 186,000 by 2039.

BY MICHAEL LEE [lee.junhyuk@joongang.co.kr]
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