In what can be seen as a certain sign of national pride and patriotic fervour, Emiratis across the UAE have warmly welcomed the government’s move to extend the compulsory national military service. This unilateral support from all cross-sections of society has come across as the government announced the extension of compulsory service from 12 to 16 months.
As soon as the announcement was made public on Sunday, Twitter began to buzz with the hashtag “national service is a national duty”. Residents from across the region began to show a strong outpouring of support conveying the sense that the move was essential for national security. The unanimous opinion was reflected in the tweets put out by several citizens that reflected on the “honour” of serving one’s nation.
The current policy of compulsory military service that was introduced in 2014, requires all Emirati men between the ages of 18 and 30 to induct themselves for a minimum period of 12 months. Women are exempted from the rule but can provide their services on a voluntary basis, as can men in the age range of 30 and 40.
The new rules are expected to apply to young men who hold at least a secondary high school certificate. Students enrolled in colleges and universities have the option of completing their studies before volunteering for military service. Similarly, all workplaces are encouraged to allow their employees to complete military service, without it affecting their future prospects, salaries, allowances and bonuses. It is heartening to note that the introduction of compulsory military service has seen a steep decline in the number of crimes committed by young Emiratis.