RIGA - Defense Minister Artis Pabriks (For Development/For) has ordered the Defense Ministry and Chief of Defense Leonids Kalnins to prepare a report on ways to increase the number of National Armed Forces soldiers and Home Guard members, the minister told reporters on Wednesday.
"I have tasked the Defense Ministry and the chief of defense to prepare a report on how we could become more successful in increasing the number of military personnel, because we need new soldiers and Home Guard members," said Pabriks.
Different methods to achieve this are being considered at the moment, said Pabriks.
Last year, fewer new soldiers joined the Armed Forces than in 2020, due to the falling birthrate and other reasons.
In 2021, 475 new soldiers joined the Armed Forces and 639 citizens joined the Home Guard. The share of female soldiers increased to 20.5 percent. 24 new soldiers are persons who have returned to Latvia after living abroad for some time, therefore the Armed Forces are also involved in promoting remigration.
639 citizens joined the Home Guard last year, while 569 left the Home Guard - mostly for personal reasons, after failing to attend training practices for a long time, or because of joining the Armed Forces. At the moment, the Home Guard has more than 8,000 members.
According to the National Defense Concept, the Armed Forces must have at least 8,000 professional soldiers. At the moment, 6,600 soldiers serve in the Armed Forces. The concept also stipulates that the Home Guard must have 10,000 members by 2024 and 12,000 soldiers by 2027.