a problem: report
DWINDLING SUPPORT: In the first 11 months of the
year, the military enlisted just 30.15 percent of the Ministry of Defense¡¦s
target of 28,531 volunteer recruits
By Stacy Hsu / Staff writer, with CNA
A majority of military experts are pessimistic about the nation¡¦s transition to
an all-volunteer force due to the difficulties of enlisting sufficient
volunteers, according to a Control Yuan report published yesterday.
Control Yuan members Huang Huang-hsiung (¶À·×¶¯) and Chao Chang-ping (»¯©÷¥) released
their joint report, titled The Latest Developments of the Government¡¦s
Facilitation of An All-Volunteer Military, at a press conference in Taipei
¡§We have spoken to several military experts, including a former minister of
defense and a serving chief of staff of the army. Most are deeply concerned
about the goal of having an all-volunteer military,¡¨ Huang said, adding that
Minister of National Defense Yen Ming (ÄY©ú) is the only official endorsing the
The all-volunteer system was originally scheduled for 2015, but was postponed
for two years by the Ministry of National Defense (MND) in September because of
In the first 11 months of the year, the military enlisted a total of 8,603
volunteers, just 30.15 percent of the ministry¡¦s target of 28,531 recruits.
The report quoted retired navy vice admiral Lan Ning-li (Äõ¹ç§Q) as saying that the
consequences of implementing an all-volunteer system could be ¡§devastating,¡¨ as
the armed forces would most likely ¡§run out of soldiers¡¨ when it could neither
enlist sufficient volunteers or convince enough officers to stay in the
Former navy commander-in-chief Admiral Miao Yung-ching (]¥Ã¼y) was also quoted in
the report as saying: ¡§My gravest concern is that the all-volunteer system may
not be fully developed by the time the government scraps the conscription
system¡K Is it possible for [the government] to postpone the suspension to a
Chao said that aside from the recruitment issues, the ministry also faces major
¡§The all-volunteer system is expected to cost the government NT$50 billion to
NT$60 billion [US$1.66 billion to US$1.99 billion] a year more than the
conscription system. That figure is likely to increase rather than decrease over
time. Where will we get that kind of money?¡¨ Chao said.
Huang said the problems would only be exacerbated when the all-volunteer system
comes into effect in 2017.
¡§By then, there may be only three options left for the ministry: Cutting the
size of the armed forces, which is also proposed by some of the experts we spoke
to; further deferring the implementation of the all-volunteer system; or
reinstating the conscription system,¡¨ Huang said.
However, the pair declined to give an unequivocal answer when asked by reporters
whether they ¡§strongly suggest¡¨ that the government abandon the all-volunteer
¡§Military affairs are vital to the nation, so we must not jump to any
conclusions¡K However, we cannot say we are optimistic [about the all-volunteer
system] either,¡¨ Huang said.