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Citizens in Training

Conscription and Nation-building in the United Arab Emirates

Citizens in Training by Jon B. Alterman
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The U.S. Marines made famous their search for “a few good men.” The United Arab Emirates (UAE), however, wants all its men—from the ages of 18 to 30—to experience the discipline and rigors of military life. To that end, for reasons of national security, nation-building, and societal development, the UAE has instituted a universal conscription program, a rarity in the modern world of nations. This report is the most extensive effort to date to define and to understand the UAE conscription program—its successes, failures, and possible unintended consequences. The report outlines the circumstances influencing the UAE’s decision to impose military service for male citizens as a framework for an ambitious array of defense, nation-building, and human capital aims. Included in the report are details of the UAE’s program with a focus on important innovations, initial results, and relevant implications.
Center for Strategic & International Studies; October 2017
64 pages; ISBN 9781442280380
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Title: Citizens in Training
Author: Jon B. Alterman; Margo Balboni