Dual Nationality and Military Service: Strategy Number Two

91 Pages Posted: 25 Jul 2001

See all articles by Stephen H. Legomsky

Stephen H. Legomsky

Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law

Abstract

This paper is part of a team project sponsored by the German Marshall Fund, and organized by Professors Kay Hailbronner and David Martin, on the subject of dual nationality. The paper deals with one specific area of traditional concern - the effect of dual nationality on either voluntary or compulsory military service. The various problems could be addressed either by trying to diminish the number of dual nationals (strategy number 1) or by fixing any problematic consequences of dual nationality in the military service context (strategy number 2). Persuaded by arguments that dual nationality engenders only minor problems while yielding offsetting benefits, and highly skeptical that dual nationality could be substantially reduced at acceptable costs, the author opts for strategy number two - addressing the specific problems that result when dual nationality policies and military service policies collide.

The paper begins with brief commentary on the sources of dual nationality, the reasons for its rise, and the concerns (and benefits) it generates. The paper then examines various issues that can arise in Germany, the United States, and several of their respective migration source countries, including especially Turkey and Mexico. In analyzing those issues, the paper considers relevant domestic laws, three major international conventions on nationality, and 22 bilateral treaties.

Four distinct but related problems are explored - eligibility requirements for voluntary enlistment in the armed forces; military conscription, especially the problems associated with dual or conflicting obligations; loss of nationality by either individual renunciation before military service or denationalization after foreign military service; and special problems that arise when the individual's states of nationality are engaged in armed conflict with one another.

Suggested Citation

Legomsky, Stephen H., Dual Nationality and Military Service: Strategy Number Two. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=276989 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.276989

Stephen H. Legomsky (Contact Author)

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