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September 22, 2017

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Air Force to assume command of missile defense system

By Joseph Yeh -- In the first major shake-up of the armed forces of Tsai Ing-wen's presidency, the Air Force will take command of the Air Defense Missile Command beginning next month.

Military sources told local media Sunday that a ceremony officially marking the change would be hosted by Air Force Commander General Shen Yi-ming (沈一鳴) on March 1.

The command is currently an independent unit that answers directly the Ministry of National Defense (MND).

Brave Wind

The command's three missile groups include the locally built Tien Kung-series surface-to-air missile system and the Hawk and Patriot PAC-3 missile system as well as a number of locally made Hsiung Feng (Brave Wind) II E missiles.

The Air Force was scheduled to merge the existing Air Defense Artillery Command with the Air Defense Missile Command before the end of 2017, sources said.

The commander of the newly merged unit would be a two-star general, they added.

The change is being made as part of new military strategy forwarded by the president.

 During an inspection tour of the annual Han Kuang military exercises in Pingtung last August, Tsai had called on the Defense Ministry to develop a new defense strategy in early 2017.

 Once the change is made, it will be the fourth time in 20 years that the military has altered the command structure of the Air Defense Missile Command.

The command was originally listed under the Army's command from 1959 until 2004.

 The military decided to make the command directly answerable to the MND during the tenure of former President Chen Shui-bian in 2004.

 Two years later, the military gave command of the unit to the Air Force.

 The command was again placed under the direct authority of the MND in February 2012.

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