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UK defense chief praises Finland, Sweden’s military conscription, would ‘love’ similar model

Defense Secretary Ben Wallace has said he would “love” for the UK to have a model for military reservists like Sweden and Finland.

“I think we’re all envious of both Sweden and Finland and their reserves. A big part of that is a different cultural thing. A part of that is … those countries have had conscription continue,” Wallace told reporters during a press briefing with Swedish Defense Minister Pal Jonson on Wednesday.

Both Nordic nations have compulsory military service. In Finland, it is mandatory for men aged 18 to 60, while Sweden has conscription for both men and women, who normally undergo 11 months of military training.

Britain ended its mandatory national service – a two-year “peacetime conscription” for young men – in 1960.

Wallace underlined that “conscription and reserves often go hand in hand.”

“So I definitely think we’re all envious of how they use their reserves. And, you know, I would love to have a model like that,” he said.

His remarks raised eyebrows, forcing a Defense Ministry spokesman to clarify that Wallace was highlighting the “positive impact” of reserve forces and not advocating “in any way” for the reintroduction of conscription in the UK.​​​​​​​

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