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Dominican Republic Table of Contents

Dominican Republic


The combined strength of the three armed forces in 1989 was 20,800. This figure represented a ratio of 3.3 military personnel for every 1,000 citizens, which was below the average for other Latin American states.

Although the armed forces no longer had the strength and the military potential they enjoyed under Trujillo, the military continued to be a popular career. Although the Constitution provides for compulsory military service for all males between the ages of eighteen and fifty-four, the ranks were easily filled by volunteers, and the military did not present a drain on national manpower. Officers, noncommissioned officers (NCOs), and many enlisted personnel, as well, looked on the military as a long-term career. As a result, all three services consisted largely of experienced and well-trained professionals.

Entry into the armed forces was competitive, and most entrants were drawn from the middle and the lower-middle classes. Most enlisted personnel came from rural areas. There was a very small number of females in the military; most served in positions traditionally reserved for women, such as nursing. Women first gained admittance to positions traditionally held only by men in 1981, when a few female personnel were commissioned as medical officers.

Pay and conditions of service compared well with opportunities available in civilian fields. Larger installations maintained a number of commissaries and exchanges, and each of the three services operated officer and enlisted clubs. Military personnel also benefited from free medical service. Under the armed forces' generous benefit program, all members who had served thirty years were entitled to receive a pension based on 75 percent of their active-duty pay at the time of retirement. Certain officers, such as pilots and naval engineers, could receive a full pension after twenty years of service.

Data as of December 1989