Re­servists can’t meet post-2020 de­mand: re­port

The China Post - - LOCAL - BY JOSEPH YEH

The to­tal num­ber of re­servists may not be suf­fi­cient to meet the na­tion’s de­fen­sive needs af­ter 2020, a re­cently re­leased Na­tional Au­dit Of­fice (NAO, ) re­port says.

In the NAO’s an­nual re­port on the cen­tral gov­ern­ment’s bud­get for the 2014 fis­cal year, re­leased late Wed­nes­day, the gov­ern­ment au­dit unit warns that the com­bat readi­ness of the na­tion’s re­servists has dropped over re­cent years, with more than 70 per­cent of re­servists never hav­ing been mus­tered to main­tain their ba­sic com­bat skills.

The num­ber of re­serve of­fi­cers is de­creas­ing as well, with the con­tin­u­ing down­siz­ing of Tai­wan’s troop num­bers and the mil­i­tary’s on­go­ing trans­for­ma­tion from the ex­ist­ing con­scrip­tion sys­tem into a fully vol­un­tary force.

In 2014, a to­tal of 286,746 dis­charged sol­diers, among them 28,215 of­fi­cers, were listed by the R.O.C. Re­serve Com­mand as re­servists.

This num­ber will con­tinue to drop un­til af­ter 2020, when the es­ti­mated num­ber of re­servists, es­pe­cially re­serve of­fi­cers, will not be able to meet the de­mand of the na­tion’s de­fense re­quire­ments, ac­cord­ing to the NAO re­port.

The re­port urges the Min­istry of Na­tional De­fense (MND) to draw up con­crete plans to ad­dress the dwin­dling num­ber of re­servists.

Asked to com­ment, the MND said in a state­ment that the mil­i­tary has been do­ing its best to make sure that the na­tion has enough re­servists in case war breaks out.

Be­cause of the R.O.C. Armed Forces’ trans­for­ma­tion into a fully vol­un­tary force by the end of 2016, most Tai­wanese men will no longer need to serve one-year com­pul­sory mil­i­tary ser­vice and will in­stead only need to un­dergo four months of mil­i­tary train­ing.

But the mil­i­tary will con­tinue to train those who un­dergo the four­month train­ing to be­come qual­i­fied re­serve of­fi­cers.

The MND added that it will pro­mote more re­servists who have been mus­tered more of­ten to the of­fi­cer ranks in or­der to en­sure the re­quired num­ber of re­serve of­fi­cers.

By do­ing so, there will be no short­age of re­servists, es­pe­cially re­serve of­fi­cers, the MND vowed.

Re­servists are mus­tered ev­ery two years for train­ing at a mil­i­tary base near their res­i­dences for train­ing aimed at main­tain­ing their ba­sic com­bat skills, ac­cord- ing to MND’s Re­serve Com­mand.

The cur­rent reg­u­la­tions stip­u­late that a re­servist can ex­pect a max­i­mum of four muster calls within eight years of be­ing dis­charged.

The train­ing in­cludes spe­cialty re­train­ing, firearms train­ing, com­bat train­ing, com­bined train­ing, and dis­as­ter preven­tion and re­lief, which are all nec­es­sary for com­bat oper­a­tions and dis­as­ter re­lief, the com­mand said.

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