Fri, Mar 01, 2002 - Page 3 News List

New military structure now official

REORGANIZATION President Chen Shui-bian will attend a ceremony today to mark the new command structure that puts more units under the authority of the minister


A greatly strengthened Ministry of National Defense (MND), which incorporates most units of the original military command system, is to officially become operational today, the MND said yesterday.

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) is to preside over a ceremony marking the operation of the new MND, which unifies the originally separated military command and administrative systems led by the chief of the general staff and defense minister, respectively.

Under the new structure, the defense minister is the most powerful figure in the military, while the chief of the general staff is downgraded as the minister's chief of staff.

While the new command structure is to be officially put in place today, the defense minister and chief of the general staff under the new system took office on Feb. 1.

The restructuring was mandated by two defense laws passed two years ago: the defense law and the organizational law of the MND. The two laws also take effect today.

As a result of the restructuring, most units of the military's original command system have been put under the authority of the MND. The ministry used to have only a few units, such as personnel and resources offices.

The unveiling of a plaque will also mark these new MND units, which carry new titles to reflect their status under the ministry.

The headquarters of the three services, for instance, will have the term "under the MND" added to their names.

The general political warfare department, which used to be under the command of the chief of the general staff, is renamed the general political warfare bureau of the MND.

Meanwhile, the armed forces reserve command and the combined services force are to be renamed as Reserve Command and Logistics Command under the MND.

Military command

* Under the new structure, the defense minister becomes the most powerful figure in the military.

* The chief of the general staff will be downgraded and serve under the minister.

* The names of the three services will be changed to reflect their status under the ministry.

The renamed armed forces reserve command is the first headquarters-level unit to see its chief downgraded in rank from general or admiral to lieutenant-general or vice admiral.

The leader of the armed forces reserve command, like his counterpart with the combined services force, is equivalent to chiefs of the army, navy and air force at the rank of three-star general, although he has fewer troops under his command.

All service leaders are scheduled to be downgraded in rank to lieutenant-general or vice admiral in two to three years' time.

The first chief of the reserve command is Lieutenant-General Chen Pan-chih (陳邦治), a native Taiwanese, who initially planned to retire late last year.

The leader of the renamed combined services force is its original commander, General Hsieh Chien-Tung (謝建東), who is to be kept at the post until a suitable replacement can be found to step into the downgraded position.

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