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Coast Guard to downsize personnel, inspection offices

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Coast Guard Administration (CGA, 海巡署) yesterday confirmed that it will close down several inspection offices across the country in response to a downsizing plan that could halve the amount of CGA personnel in the coming years.

An unnamed CGA official told the Chinese-language United Evening News yesterday that it will soon close down several inspection offices, including those located near smaller ports in southern Yunlin County.

The official, however, stressed that closing down these offices will not give rise to security concerns and will have little effect on the CGA's operations in those areas, according to the report.

The CGA's comments came after a Control Yuan report released on Tuesday said that the number of CGA personnel will be downsized to 8,755 from the current 13,048 by 2017, when the nation's military is slated to officially become a fully volunteer force.

The massive downsizing means that the CGA will need to close down several inspection offices that are responsible for inspecting all vessels passing through local harbors, the Control Yuan said.

The Control Yuan report also 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 on 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 recruitment has remained lackluster over the past two years — a warning sign that the transition could fail.

If the government insists on implementing the policy, the report said that the MND should decrease the number of servicepeople necessary, currently set at 215,000, in order to fulfill the goal of an all-volunteer force.

Asked to comment, the MND said late Tuesday that it appreciates the warning raised by the Control Yuan, but stressed that it will continue to push for the transformation, pledging to complete the mission on schedule by 2017.

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