I live in Switzerland and recently had to join military. To my surprise, it turned out I can go back home during weekends. Only exception is when you're assigned to guard duty, when you need to stay over the weekend and guard the place. Other than that, you're dismissed on Saturday morning and have to return by Sunday evening.

Seeing how other countries even send you abroad for up to multiple months, how many other countries have military as "nondemanding" as Switzerland? Is Switzerland an abnormality in that regard?

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    I'm not clear what counts as nondemanding. Count of days not serving during service, conditions of service (no one trying to kill you seems like it would be a pretty big deal), the process of getting approval for additional days off.... How might an answer be judged correct? – user9389 Mar 23 '18 at 18:04
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    Switzerland and military are exceptional in many ways. – James K Mar 23 '18 at 18:05
  • How do you feel about including Costa Rica, on the grounds that it doesn't officially have a military? – origimbo Mar 23 '18 at 20:45
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    Your service is not demanding because Switzerland is not at war nor does it anticipate to be any time soon. Had you been called in most European countries in 1914-1918 your military service would have been quite different. If memory serves me well your experience in Switzerland today matches that of someone in France in 1995, just before military service there was abolished. – Denis de Bernardy Mar 23 '18 at 21:08

Switzerland is more demanding than many countries in that it has conscription. By comparison, the UK ended conscription in 1960, in France in 1996 and Germany in 2011. In these and other countries with no mandatory military service, one is permitted to be at home 7 days a week and there is no requirement for guard duty.

In countries in which there is conscription, the rules may vary, depending on the perceived threat. Allowing drafted soldiers the weekend off during peacetime does not seem an unusually generous offer.

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    I would point out that the Swiss has not gone to war for far longer than any of those nations, which is why it wouldn't be non-demanding. – hszmv Mar 23 '18 at 19:14

I wouldn't call the Israeli army non-demanding, and yet...

Many soldiers serve 5 days a week, with free weekends (except when you're on guard duty). Mostly, these soldiers are not in combat units.

In combat units, the norm is more like a free weekend every two or three weeks.

Cooks used to serve week on - week off. I don't know if it's like this today.

No IDF soldier gets sent for several months (except military attach├ęs at embassies).

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The United States National Guard might even be less demanding as they require one weekend a month and two weeks a year (though they can further mobilize in times of crisis at the state governor's discretion or be federalized and shipped to a battlefield during war time). It's also 100% voluntary rather than compulsory, and the most common duties are acting as additional emergency services during natural disasters (The Federal Military cannot act as a police force, though I think the National Guard can in the event of unrest such as was observed during the 1992 Los Angeles Riots or the 2015 Baltimore Riots).

At the Federal Level all adult males are required to sign up for selective services, which means that in times that require more troops than available, they can be required to serve in the military (there are exceptions due to individual issues. During WWII, avoiding the draft because of these issues was frowned upon by society... not so much during the Vietnam war). The Draft was first used during the Civil War and last used during the Vietnam war. This contributes to the modern respect for troops that is typically seen in the States, as every troop is a volunteer and is there of their own free will.

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    Selective Service enrollment is not required for "all adult males" but only for those 18 through 25. – Brythan Mar 23 '18 at 19:50
  • The Governor of a state can call up the national guard to enforce the law. The President cannot generally use the national guard or the military for law enforcement, subject to some selection exceptions. – ohwilleke Mar 26 '18 at 4:01
  • Also, when there was peacetime conscription in the U.S. as there is in Switzerland now (such as when my father and some of my clients were in the Army in the 1950s), military service for conscripts was more demanding than it is for conscripts today in Switzerland. There were no weekend passes to home and prolonged service abroad wasn't unusual. – ohwilleke Mar 26 '18 at 4:04
  • @ohwileke: Right, but by today's standards, conscription can only be used in time of declared war, which hasn't happened. At present, all troops are volunteers who signed up to serve for their own reasons. Conscription has not been used since the 70s in the United States, though it is still required to sign up for the selective service. – hszmv Mar 26 '18 at 15:47

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