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Conscription in Scandinavia

This article describes the empirical changes of conscription in Scandinavia since 1970 from four perspectives, i.e., the demography, economy, organization, and personnel that give Denmark, Sweden, and Norway a quite different conscription profile. No easy explanations are given for these changes which are products of complex and sometimes even contradictory decisions made at the national and organizational levels. Instead, the present conscription profiles of Denmark, and Sweden, and Norway are identified as one of three ideal reasons for using conscripts: Democracy, Deterrence, and Deployment abroad, the DDD-model. This theoretical model suggests both national and international reasons for the continuation of conscription and thus argues against reducing or abolishing conscription due to the end of the Cold War and relying, instead, on a professional army. In addition, conscripts may be better qualified for international peacekeeping missions than regulars because they can more easily identify with the local civil population. The announcement of the end of conscription as a result of the end of the Cold War, therefore, seems somewhat premature.