2008: Turkey is removing conscripts and reserve officers from its 30,000 man
commando force. The six Commando Brigades are similar to the U.S. Ranger
Regiment. The troops are carefully selected and intensively trained. But conscripts only serve fifteen months, so the
commandos lose their young troops just as they have become effective.
Currently, 80 percent of the commando troops are conscripts and reserve
officers (college grads who took military training along with their academic
subjects, and are only on active duty for a year). The other twenty percent are career NCOs and officers.
the commandos was always a big deal for conscripts, as it is a prestigious
outfit. But from now on, conscripts will have to volunteer to serve two or
three years before they can be a commando.
making the change partly because the one year conscript service, which was
implemented in 2003, left the commandos with too many troops in training, and
not fully prepared for the kind of difficult operations commandos undertake. For
example, the recent ground operations in northern Iraq are mainly carried out
by small groups of commandos. Also, the Turks looked at similar organizations
elsewhere (like the U.S. Rangers and the British Royal Marine Commandos), and
noted that longer service was essential.