DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The United Arab Emirates says it has extended its mandatory military service for men who graduated from high school from 12 to 16 months.

The UAE's armed forces made the announcement in a statement issued late Saturday.

The military called the mandatory service one of the UAE's "most effective and important" strategic moves, in the light of its "anticipated strategic outcomes in political, military, security, national, social and economic terms."

The UAE began mandatory military service for men between the ages of 18 to 30 in 2014. Those who haven't completed high school must serve two years. Military service for women remains voluntary.

The UAE is part of the Saudi-led coalition battling Shiite rebels in Yemen, and has built up its military over its concerns about Iran.