Control Yuan calls for MND to reduce size of armed forces
By Joseph Yeh , The China Post
December 25, 2013, 12:18 am TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A Control Yuan report released yesterday called on the Ministry of National Defense (MND) to further cut down the size of Taiwan's armed forces if it wishes to push for a transformation to an all-voluntary military according to schedule.
The report, compiled by Control Yuan members Huang Huang-hsiung (黃煌雄) and Chao Chang-ping (趙昌平), said that Taiwan's armed forces have faced sluggish recruitment over the past two years, which is a warning sign that the transformation could fail.
The military originally expected to abolish the existing conscription system and replace it with a full voluntary scheme by Jan. 1, 2015, whereby the R.O.C. armed forces would be downsized to around 215,000 from the current 275,000 following the transformation.
Following the transformation, eligible Taiwanese males born after Jan. 1, 1994, would no longer need to complete compulsory military service, but instead only be required to undergo four months of military training, according to the MND.
However, the MND announced this September that it would postpone the abolishment of the conscription system by two years to 2017 due to sluggish volunteer recruitment numbers.
According to statistics released by the MND earlier this month, Taiwan's military has only recruited 8,603 men and women in the first 11 months of 2013, fulfilling just 30.15 percent of the MND's target of 28,531.
The Control Yuan report said yesterday that the MND has been launching a series of measures in hopes of boosting recruitment, including better incentives, salary raises and lifting the glass ceiling for women within the military, but these moves had little effect.
A previous report made by the Interior Ministry also pointed out that the number of draft-eligible men is dwindling and will face a critical stage in 2019.
A Matter of National Survival
The Control Yuan report urged the government to face reality because “it is a matter of national survival” for Taiwan to maintain a capable military.
The matter concerns all related government units and transcends party lines, and deserves careful attention in order to ensure the long-term development of the country, the report added.
If the government insists on pushing the policy, the report said the MND should reconsider its previous goal that set the force size of the R.O.C. armed forces at 215,000, suggesting that the military should further downsize its troop strength in order to fulfill its goal of an all-volunteer force.