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Germany launches new voluntary military service program


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Germany launches new voluntary military service program​

The German military has started a voluntary year-out program for young people. The volunteers will be trained to provide support during the next natural disaster or health crisis.

Germany's Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer kicked off a new voluntary military service program on Tuesday.

The "voluntary military service in homeland security," which aims at enticing young people to take a year off before starting their studies or career, was first announced last summer under the motto: "Your year for Germany."

Training for the program officially began on Tuesday with the initiation of 325 volunteers, of which 52 were women.

"We came up with this program after seeing that there were young people who were interested in joining the Bundeswehr but didn't want to tie themselves down," Kramp-Karrenbauer said during a press conference for the launch.

The plan has received keen interest, with some 9,000 people applying for the 1,000 spots available this year, the Defense Ministry said. Of those, 20% were women.

What does the voluntary military service year consist of?​

The project was first announced following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and aims for training that mixes "combat and helping."