Attrition: China Makes Time For Sergeants

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September 18, 2006: Apparently China has decided to shift toward a more professional armed forces. This can be seen in the way China is handling conscription. The annual pool of potential conscripts is about 800,000 young men. But the armed forces only needs about 400,000 (who serve for two years). So the army is increasing deferments (if you go to college, you're off the hook, if you snore or have visible tattoos, if you bribe the right official, etc.). In addition, the military is trying to increase the size of its professional NCO corps. Formerly only about 10 percent of overall personnel, now NCOs and specialists comprise about a third of the force, with the balance divided between officers and privates. Being accepted for promotion to NCO rank is a big deal, as pay is much better than for a conscript (about ten times better). Since they have to build a larger NCO corps from the bottom up, they seem to be planning to have a fully professional NCO corps within about 20 years

 


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