Romania Table of Contents
The 1972 Law on the Organization of National Defense mandated universal premilitary training for Romanian youths. Each year more than 650,000 young men and women between ten and twenty years of age received basic military training at schools and work. They were organized into what were called Youth Homeland Defense detachments. In the summer, they attended 200 ground forces, 40 air force, and 15 navy training camps located throughout the country. During several weeks of training camp, they wore the blue uniform of the Patriotic Guards. The Ministry of National Defense, the Patriotic Guards, and the UTC supplied the military equipment and instructors for premilitary training. The program sought to compensate for short service terms by preparing young men for service in the armed forces. Young women used their premilitary training in later service with the Patriotic Guards. A major objective of premilitary training was to inculcate youths with socialist, and especially nationalist, values. In addition, Youth Homeland Defense detachments could be deployed for certain missions and duties if needed in wartime.
After induction into the armed forces, the basic training cycle for conscripts was similar to that in most of the world's armies. It started with individual physical conditioning, close-order drill, small-arms firing, and fundamental small-unit tactics, followed by training in more complex equipment and crew-served weapons and the assignment of a military specialty, and appropriate training in it, after several months. Approximately 20 to 30 percent of basic military training time for conscripts was devoted to political indoctrination. The emphasis on political education among soldiers was evident in the fact that the large majority of them were UTC members. More than 70 percent of the noncommissioned officers (NCOs) in the armed forces were members of the PCR. At the time of induction, the most qualified conscripts were made NCOs in return for extending their service beyond the normal sixteen-month or two-year term. Nevertheless, the short service term in the armed forces made the training and retention of competent NCOs a chronic problem.
In 1989 daily existence for soldiers was harder than for most citizens. The daily dietary allowance for soldiers was 2,700 calories, which consisted mainly of bread and small quantities of meat in stews and soups. Dairy products and fruit were generally absent from the military diet because they were in short supply even in the civilian sector. Military units cultivated gardens and raised animals for slaughter to supplement their rations. In many instances, however, this home-grown produce and meat was sold for cash on the black market.
Data as of July 1989