Service on the frontline plays a key role in the defence system of Armenia. The overwhelming majority of the conscripts serve in military units that carry our combat duty. Even rear units will be involved in combat operations or in their immediate coverage within a matter of hours in the event of escalation.
There are two clearly distinguishable types of conscripts: those who are devotedly willing to serve on the frontline, and those who try to avoid the "dangerous" military units at any cost. In many successful armies, it is considered honour to carry out service in "elite" units that are the ones that are engaged in combat duty and special tasks.
The "I am" programme is designed to encourage those who have willingly made a decision to serve on the frontline.
Recruits who wish to carry out their service in combat duty units will have the right to switch to a new type of service, term contract. The service will last for three years, but servicemen will be on leave for a total of seven months during their service term, starting from the 6th month after their unit l takes on combat duty. They will serve under the 1 + 1 + 2 formula: one week on a leave, one week in their unit, training for combat duty, and two weeks on the front line, carrying out combat duty.
Thus, after a 5-month training period following the draft, they will start the service, during which, they will spend seven months of the 31 months of service at home, while serving in the military unit and in combat positions for the other 24 months.
They will be paid a certain amount of money while on leave. At the end of the service, about AMD 5 million will be transferred to the serviceman’s personal account. The discharged serviceman can use the money for any of the three special purposes:
1. To buy an affordable apartment (subsidized mortgage program);
2. A mini-farm (a programme designed for rural servicemen to set up a small farm or acquire light agricultural equipment);
3. Tuition fee compensation.
All three programmes are also aimed at giving the young people who have competed their service to build their future in Armenia, and to deepen their inseparable bond with the country through long-term plans.
The details of the programmes, the procedures of payment, the details of withdrawal from the programme or joining it in the middle of the service, as well as the appropriateness of the programme in general will become a subject of wide public discussion.
It is planned that the programme will be an alternative service, and anyone not willing to choose it may choose the type of draft used currently. Nevertheless, in case it is successful, this form of the three-year service may become the prevailing type of service for the frontline.