Voluntary recruitment going smoothly: MND
By Joseph Yeh, The China Post
September 4, 2012, 12:09 am TWN
The China Post--The recruitment of voluntary soldiers has been going smoothly as planned and the military could reach its previous target by recruiting more than 20,000 Taiwanese youths to join the Armed Forces by year-end, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said yesterday.
Between January and August this year, 10,236 Taiwanese have joined the military to serve as voluntary soldiers, the MND said in a released statement.
The military's statement came as a response to a Chinese-language report yesterday saying that the MND's plan to recruit men and women to serve voluntarily in the military has been going sluggishly so far.
Citing a defense budget proposal made by the MND, the United Evening News said the military was only able to recruit less than 4,000 people willing to choose the military as a life-long career between January and May this year.
The report also quoted military sources as saying that the MND has allocated a large portion of the defense budget to personnel recruitment in an effort to push for a fully voluntary military system; however, the move could decrease budgets used in other areas such as equipment maintenance.
Decreasing the budget for maintaining armaments and weaponries could pose a threat to national security, it said.
In response, the MND said in another statement that the military will make sure that armaments and missiles are taken care of and carefully stored to ensure its defense capability.
The MND announced last December that eligible Taiwanese males born after Jan. 1, 1994 will no longer need to serve in the military as part of the government's plan to abolish the current system and replace it with a fully voluntary one.
According to the plan, eligible males will only need to undergo four months of military training, starting from 2013.
The MND also announced that Taiwan's armed forces will be downsized to approximately 215,000 from the current number of 275,000 after the transformation.