Military service: training and prospects for professional integration

Abolished in 2006 and then reinstated in 2019, compulsory military service is going well. Three years later, and after a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, official figures from the central commission indicate a sharp increase in the number of conscripts: 178,166 for the year 2022, an increase of 33 % compared to 2019.

The provisions relating to recruitment adopted by the Executive through Law 44.08 set the duration of military service at 12 months and the minimum age of conscripts at 19 years. Any Moroccan citizen of both genders, aged 19 to 25 is therefore affected by conscription, unless exempted, of course. Law 44.08, however, specifies that exempted persons “may be ordered to perform military service until the age of 40”.

In the case of absence to the call, there are prison sentences ranging from 1 month to 1 year which can be doubled if recidivism. The derogatory grounds are as follows: physical incapacity, support for one’s family, marriage, pursuit of studies, brother or sister already conscripted. Also exempt are all civil servants, members of the government, of Parliament, as well as all employees of companies “whose functions must be retained in the name of the public interest”. For women and Moroccans residing abroad (MRE), registered in consular registers, military service is optional. The latter can however, if they fulfill the legal conditions for the summons, volunteer for military service.

The return of compulsory military service in Morocco in 2019 was a strategic choice of the Kingdom, which took into account the changes in the country and its regional and global environment (…) and aimed to accentuate the contribution in major projects and allow young people to become more integrated into the social and professional life of their homeland. For two years, military service was suspended Dame Covid obliges. Never mind ! Conscription also resumed in 2021 and saw a marked increase in recruits. This is because many significant resources have been mobilized in terms of logistics, infrastructure and supervision.

This explains the budget for the current financial year, which amounts to 940 million dirhams (85 million euros), according to the statements of the Minister in charge of the administration of National Defense, Abdellatif Loudiyi “. This is how the Royal Armed Forces (FAR) supported recruits throughout their compulsory military service (12 months), providing them with accommodation, food and clothing. During the period of military service, recruits undergo theoretical and practical training which includes fundamental knowledge relating to general military instructions, it is underlined.

The objectives of this training are to develop the physical abilities of recruits, to strengthen their civic, mental and religious education and to provide them with technical and professional training in various specialties. The military service course begins with four months of general military training and ends with eight months of professional “specialization” training. At the end of military service, recruits obtain diplomas which allow them easier access to the labor market thanks to the knowledge and the theoretical and practical lessons they have accumulated. In addition, the most brilliant recruits can join the various corps of the Royal Armed Forces.

But this after having carried out the course of the military service which is divided into two parts. One relating to general military training proper for a period of 4 months – the lessons provided are both theoretical and practical -, which will be followed by a professional training called “specialization” of 8 months. During the first four months, the physical preparation of new recruits will involve obstacle courses, the handling of weapons, endurance exercises or close combat. This first phase of training ends with an introduction to shooting during group expeditions or during individual sessions.

Regarding the second part of the military service, the FAR offer a series of 64 professional specializations, in particular in IT, mechanics, masonry, carpentry, plumbing or even sewing and hairdressing. As for the compulsory integration of MREs or dual nationals, the government’s approach, which is not part of forced mobilization, relies more on volunteering than on coercion. For recruits, we will try to transmit through military service patriotic values ​​and protection of territorial integrity, nothing more.

But whether we like it or not, it is clear that there is a certain enthusiasm for performing compulsory military service. He is more than popular with our young Moroccan citizens. It is easily attributed to a series of factors such as the desire to join the institution which encompasses all the nationalist values ​​in the face of threats at our borders, the prospect of a stable professional and social situation with regard to the unemployment rate and enrollment in recognized vocational training which would facilitate access to the job market for young people who do not have the required school or academic level. In addition, during the period of military service, a monthly payment is granted to conscripts.

Its amount varies according to the rank attributed to the recruit, itself fixed according to the level of his studies. A level of education below the baccalaureate is equivalent to the rank of soldier. Bachelors are considered NCOs and. For a diploma equivalent to the licence, the grade awarded is that of officer. The monthly salary received by these different categories is obviously exempt from all taxes and is not subject to any deduction.

Other benefits are granted to conscripts such as free clothing, accommodation, food and access to care in military hospitals. A transport allowance and a special allowance are provided for those who will serve in the Southern operational sector.

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