Sluggish recruitment a warning sign: MND
By Joseph Yeh, The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- The sluggish recruitment drive for the military in luring Taiwanese youths to join the armed forces is a red flag as the country aims to create an all-volunteer force by 2015, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said yesterday.
August 21, 2013, 3:22 pm TWN
The military was originally scheduled to recruit around 28,000 voluntary soldiers by the end of this year. But so far only 4,200 have reported to their military units between January to July this year, according to an MND report released yesterday during a news briefing.
Col. Hu Zhong-shi (胡仲適), head of the MND's Recruitment Center of National Armed Forces, however, downplayed media reports that the sluggish recruitment is due to the recent suspicious death of an Army Corporal Hung Chung-chiu (洪仲丘), an incident that has seriously damaged the military's image.
Hu said the MND has managed to recruit 29 more voluntary soldiers this year in comparison with the same period last year.
The relatively lower military recruitment rate is because the MND has set a higher whole-year recruitment target this year, Hu said.
Last year, a total of 11,000 men and women joined the armed forces, which is about 72 percent of the recruitment target in 2012 that stands at 15,000, he said.
But he admitted that the poor recruitment result is a warning sign to the military, adding that the MND will continue its recruitment campaign to meet the annual goal.
According to the timetable announced by the MND, the military is expected to abolish the conscription system and replace it with a full voluntary one by the end of 2015.
MND to Deal with Possible Medical Officers Shortage
Meanwhile, military spokesman Luo Shou-he (羅紹和) said at the same press conference yesterday that the military is prepared to launch a series of contingency measures in response to the looming crisis of a possible shortage of medical officers following the shift to the military system.
A report released by the Control Yuan on Monday warned that full voluntary shift could mean that the military will face a shortage of some 400 medical officers each year.
Currently, most medical officers are conscripts with medical specialties.
The change that abolishes conscription and replaces it with a fully voluntary one means that no conscripts will be serving as medical officers in the future, the report said.
In response, Luo said yesterday that the MND will introduce more National Defense Medical Center graduates to the armed forces to serve as medical officers in the future.
The military will also train more certified military physicians and emergent medical technicians to meet the needs of soldiers in terms of health and safety, he added.