The combined strength of the three armed forces in 1989
20,800. This figure represented a ratio of 3.3 military
for every 1,000 citizens, which was below the average for
Latin American states.
Although the armed forces no longer had the strength
military potential they enjoyed under Trujillo, the
continued to be a popular career. Although the
provides for compulsory military service for all males
the ages of eighteen and fifty-four, the ranks were easily
by volunteers, and the military did not present a drain on
national manpower. Officers, noncommissioned officers
many enlisted personnel, as well, looked on the military
long-term career. As a result, all three services
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
Most enlisted personnel came from rural areas. There was a
small number of females in the military; most served in
traditionally reserved for women, such as nursing. Women
gained admittance to positions traditionally held only by
1981, when a few female personnel were commissioned as
Pay and conditions of service compared well with
opportunities available in civilian fields. Larger
maintained a number of commissaries and exchanges, and
the three services operated officer and enlisted clubs.
personnel also benefited from free medical service. Under
armed forces' generous benefit program, all members who
served thirty years were entitled to receive a pension
75 percent of their active-duty pay at the time of
Certain officers, such as pilots and naval engineers,
receive a full pension after twenty years of service.
Data as of December 1989