However, the overall number of members of the Armed Forces will stay roughly the same.
Public competition which has just been announced by the Ministry of Defence offers new positions for 550 soldiers and sailors, whose period of service will begin on 4 October 2016. The Ministry offers four-year contracts, with a trial period lasting for 6 months. In May, the Ministry of Defence announced a similar competition and recruited 250 people, which corresponds with the annual plan approved by the government, according to which this year as many as 800 soldiers and sailors will be recruited, reports Večernji List on August 18, 2016.
However, the overall number of members of the Armed Forces will not change much, since similar numbers will leave the service. Similar replacement of soldiers and sailors took place in previous years as well. According to the Ministry of Defence, 550 soldiers were recruited in 2015, 936 soldiers in 2014, and about 450 in 2013. However, 614 soldiers left the service in 2015, 826 in 2014, and 282 in 2013.
Since 2015, soldiers and sailors sign professional four-year contracts, while before the contracts were usually open-ended, so from the end of the 1990s until 2005 the Armed Forces almost did not recruit any new members. A significant number of these soldiers are still in services and they will stay there until retirement, explained the Ministry of Defence.
It is expected that newly recruited soldiers will serve on average two or three contract terms. Therefore, those who do not become NCOs or officers will end their military careers in about ten years. The average net salary of active duty soldier is about 4,500 kuna. Although soldiers sign four-year contracts, it is possible for them to terminate their contracts early. “If a soldier wants to leave before the end of their contract term, for each month of early termination they have to pay damages in the amount of a monthly net salary”, says the Ministry of Defence.
Most of the 550 offered contracts refer to soldiers who will serve in professional guard brigades. Just two percent of the positions are reserved for sailors. Although the competition is open to everybody, conditions are that a candidate must have completed voluntary military training, must have at least secondary level education, and must not be older than 27. It is expected that 250 NCOs and 38 officers will be trained from the latest intake. In addition, the army wants to employ 22 officer candidates for special professions, mostly physicians and meteorologists.