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Yugoslavia: Military Training and Education
Country Study > Chapter 5 > National Security > Military Manpower > Military Training and Education


In 1990 about one-half of all conscripts came from rural backgrounds. They tended to adapt well to the rigors of military life. Many conscripts lacked significant technical training or mechanical experience prior to entering military service. This factor, combined with a relatively short time of service, impeded training beyond basic military skills. Article 243 of the 1974 Constitution guaranteed the equality of all national languages in the armed forces. However, that article also stated that a single, unspecified language could be used for military training and command. In practice, Serbo-Croatian was the only language used in the armed forces.

Conscription was instituted at the time of maximum Soviet threat in 1948. Many seventeen-year-olds received premilitary training prior to induction. This training was intended to give youths some basic military knowledge so that they could enter the YPA prepared to fight. In 1990 reserve NCOs and officers still conducted regular premilitary drills in intermediate schools.

Basic YPA training was conducted in special training units. Based on the TND doctrine, training covered both conventional military operations and unconventional guerrilla warfare tactics developed by the wartime Partisans. Basic training included twenty weeks of individual physical conditioning, military drill and discipline, weapons familiarization and range firing, political indoctrination, and squad and platoon tactical exercises. Soldiers participated in more advanced training in the units to which they were permanently assigned at the end of basic training. They were involved in larger unit maneuvers and exercises up to the brigade level. Some troops received specialist training in their permanent units, while others were sent to technical schools.

Economic stringency limited expenditures on realistic live fire exercises, large-scale maneuvers, and extensive education. The YPA also was required to supply conscript labor for many large-scale civilian construction projects. YPA units and military engineers worked on roads, bridges, railroads, tunnels, coal mines, and water supply systems. These activities detracted from conventional military training time.

Data as of December 1990

Last Updated: December 1990

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Yugoslavia was first published in 1990. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

Yugoslavia Main Page Country Studies Main Page

Section 187 of 208


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