Military to be cut to under 200,000

PLANNING AHEAD::The plan to cut military staff numbers has taken into account the development of combat operations, the minister of defense said

Staff writer, with CNA

Wed, Jan 22, 2014 - Page 1

The government is planning to reduce the size of the nation’s military to below 200,000 members by the end of 2019 as part of efforts to streamline it, Minister of National Defense Yen Ming (嚴明) said on Monday night.

According to a draft plan, the military will undergo downsizing from 2015 to 2019 under a draft plan, he said.

Under the streamlining program, “we plan to cut the number of troops to between 170,000 and 190,000,” from the 215,000 target for the end of this year, he said

The plan is part of the military’s effort to adjust the organization of the nation’s defense apparatus and restructure the armed forces, he said.

The plan has taken into consideration such factors as the type of combat operations in the future, government finances and the weapons in the military’s arsenal, Yen said, adding that the deployment of high-tech weapons systems would allow the military to cut its personnel.

This will also help achieve the goal of building a military force that is “small, but elite; small, but skillful; small, but strong,” he said.

Yen reiterated the government’s determination to shift to an all-volunteer force, citing measures aimed at giving young people more incentives to pursue a military career.

For example, since Jan. 1, the government has raised monthly allowances given to volunteer soldiers and non-commissioned officers to between NT$2,000 and NT$4,000 per month.

The government plans to shift to an all-volunteer force by 2017.

It originally planned for the transition to be completed by next year, but pushed the date back due to lower-than-expected recruitment numbers.

The military will need to recruit more than 10,000 servicemen annually next year and 2016, but that number will fall to about 7,000 beginning in 2017, Yen said.