Mr Vandeput’s predecessor Pieter De Crem (Flemish Christian democrat) already experimented with the idea. Now Mr Vandeput now want it to be introduced across our armed services.
The Defence Minister told the VRT that "The average age of soldiers in our army is too high for an actively deployable professional army and we need to do something about it. We need to attract young people and the army should remain young”.
Under the plan soldiers would be give an employment contract lasting a maximum of 8 years, after which they would be subject to an evaluation process. Some could then be given other posts within the Defence Department, while other “old” soldiers would have to find work elsewhere.
Mr Vandeput says that this is what many soldiers want.
"We believe that many young people join the army as they are looking for adventure. However, once they’ve turned 30 and they have a family working abroad in dangerous conditions isn’t such an attractive proposition any more. These proposals would give people like this prospects.”
However, Mr Vandeput adds that he can’t guarantee “old” soldiers a job once they have completed their 8 years in the army. “But I will take measures to help them find alternative work more quickly. For example by given them priority when the apply for public sector jobs.”