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Military faces shortage of sergeants

The military is facing personnel shortages in 19 of the 65 fields to be staffed by type-two specialist sergeants, data showed Tuesday.

Type-two specialist sergeants are selected before the start of national service, and those selected serve an additional 15 months as sergeants after the end of the mandatory term.

The system, along with that for type-one specialty sergeants, was introduced in 2008 to compensate for the personnel shortages caused by the shortening of the duration of the national service. Type-one specialty sergeants are selected from those who have two to six months left in their national service, and serve in combat-related posts.

According to the data submitted by the Military Manpower Administration to Rep. Baek Kun-ki of the Democratic United Party, 2,462 people applied for the 1,407 posts of specialist sergeants. However, applications for 19 of the 65 fields fell short of the quota. The 65 fields open for type-two specialty sergeant applications consist of 61 Army, two Navy and two Air Force specialties.

Of the 19 fields ― including 18 Army and Air Force electronics specialties ― the specialties for 155-millimeter artillery and armored vehicle maintenance, and that for operation and maintenance of surface-to-air rockets received no applications.

In contrast, applicants outnumbered the quota by three to one in 10 fields, while the number of applicants for 13 fields, including armored vehicle and small attack helicopter maintenance specialties, matched the quotas.

“Promotion measures should be developed as the fact that applicants for specialties fell short of the quota is directly linked to the loss of the military’s combat ability,” Baek said.

He added that designating specialties after the initial recruitment process could also help in addressing the disparity in popularity of different fields.

By Choi He-suk (cheesuk@heraldcorp.com)
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