The national service lottery

In the centre stands a tombola drum. Daniel draws out a card, tears off the control strip and reads the number 27,972. This means that he is exempted from his military service. Because in Denmark, a lottery decides who has to do their national service.

The Business activity

The Danish system of military service has existed since 1849.
The Armed Forces Recruitment function is a part of the Danish Armed Forces and takes care of selecting those who are to do their national service in Denmark.
There are now far more people considered suitable for national service than are actually needed every year. The lottery therefore decides who has to do their national service.

The Challenge

Everyone is automatically called up in the year in which they reach their 18th birthday. At an Armed Forces Day – conscription – which takes place almost every day of the year at five recruitment centres all over the country, those assessed as being suitable have to draw a lot in a tombola. If you draw a blank, you don’t need to do your national service. If you have to do your national service, you can request where to do it.
In the past, personnel had to sit rolling up pieces of paper to create lots ahead of each session.
Stralfors took over in 2001, using matrix printing. The lots had carbon between the sides. The matrix printer can be described as an old-fashioned typewriter with coloured ribbon – only bigger. But it was old and it became difficult to obtain spare parts, so it’s now been replaced by sheet printing.

The Solution

The old solution consisted of two printing jobs: both printing lots on the matrix printer and printing a checklist on a roller printer.
The new solution with sheet printing made the checklist superfluous. 

The Outcome

The lot is now a card with a number, which the aspirant draws from a tombola.
“The new solution has helped to make the whole procedure faster, cheaper and safer,” says Mogens Rosenlund Nielsen, Head of Department at Armed Forces Recruitment.   

The future

National service in Denmark has been the subject of much discussion. Following the defence agreement of December 2012, it’s now been confirmed that national service will continue. However, the number of people doing national service will be reduced from 5,000 to 4,200. The lottery system is expected to survive after the reform.