05BUCHAREST1580 / 2005-07-15 11:07:00
Embassy Bucharest
                UNCLAS BUCHAREST 001580 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/NCE - WILLIAM SILKWORTH 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, MOPS, MARR, SOCI, RO, Consription 
SUBJECT:  ROMANIA MOVES AHEAD WITH PLANS TO ABOLISH DRAFT 
 
REF: BUCHAREST 1563 
 
SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED.  PLEASE PROTECT ACCORDINGLY. 
 
1.  (U)  The GOR decided July 11 to abolish the draft for 
the Romanian Armed Forces effective January 1, 2007.  The 
decision reflects Romania's ongoing defense modernization 
program, which includes the goal of an all-professional MOD, 
consisting of 75,000 soldiers and 15,000 civilians, by 2007. 
(Note:  The MOD presently consists of about 100,000 civilian 
and military personnel.  End Note.) 
 
2.  (SBU) A senior MOD official told PolOff July 14 that the 
GOR has submitted a bill to parliament abolishing the draft. 
The official added that there is broad bipartisan support 
for the abolition of mandatory military service, but stated 
that parliament would not approve the bill until this fall 
given that it is currently in summer recess.  The likelihood 
of the PM's imminent resignation and early parliamentary 
elections also reduces the likelihood of swift action. 
(Ref) 
 
3.  (U) Other provisions of the government's decision and 
draft law include a requirement that male citizens must 
register at "military centers" once they have reached the 
age of 20.  According to a July 12 GOR press communique, the 
draft's "suspension" will permit a voluntary military except 
in the case of "war, mobilization or siege."  The draft will 
be phased out gradually, with the last batch of conscripts 
called up in October 2006 for a "reduced term" of service. 
 
4.  (SBU) Comment:  The MOD official we spoke with confirmed 
that the Ministry of Interior will continue - for the time 
being - to use conscripts for certain positions, e.g. as 
guards.  The 1700 Romanian troops currently deployed 
overseas, including the about 1400 in Afghanistan and Iraq, 
are all volunteers.  Despite the clear advantages of an all- 
professional armed forces, especially given the GOR's 
commitment to developing NATO niche capabilities and 
supporting NATO operations, some Romanians we have spoken 
with have expressed nostalgia at the passing of the draft, 
which they  describe as a sort of "rite of passage" for many 
young men.  Many, however, bitterly remember the lugubrious 
political indoctrination and what one contact described as 
the "futility" of mandatory military service during the 
communist era.  End Comment. 
 
5.  (U) Amembassy Bucharest's reporting telegrams are 
available on the Bucharest SIPRNET Website: 
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/bucharest. 
 
TAPLIN 

            
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