March 2 (UPI) -- The government of Sweden has opted to renew mandatory military conscription for its citizens, citing a deteriorating security environment.
The move was announced in a statement by the country's defense ministry, which added it is planning to enter 4,000 new recruits in basic training between 2018 and 2019. Women will also be required to enlist.
The revived draft comes almost seven years after Sweden abandoned its mandatory conscription policy. The old practice did not include women.
According to Swedish leadership, its all-voluntary force proved insufficient for serving the country's security needs.
"Trained personnel are fundamental for building military capability," a government statement read. "In 2016 the armed forces lacked 1,000 active squad leaders, soldiers and sailors as well as 7,000 reservists.
Sweden's military force is relatively small compared to other European countries such as Britain, France or Germany, comprised of just over 20,000 personnel. During peace time, the armed forces are based in 70 locations around the country."
Conscription will officially be reactivated on Jan. 1, 2018.