Academics, military officials and legislators yesterday discussed the feasibility of a recent proposal by the Ministry of National Defense to introduce a series of modifications to a draft bill that would greatly boost the status of the arms-procurement system.
Under the defense ministry proposal, a chief of general arms procurement position would be created with a status equal to that of the chief of the general staff. Meanwhile, the Arms Procurement Bureau (APB) would be reorganized into an Arms Procurement General Headquarters on a par with the General Staff Headquarters. The APB would supervise the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology (CIST), a procurement center, logistics and production center, and engineering operations and production center.
At a public hearing organized by the legislative national defense committee, former legislator Chou Cheng-chi, who currently heads the Asia Pacific Security Research Foundation, said that the defense ministry proposal "has inflated itself" and creates "needless duplication" in the system.
Chou also complained that under the defense ministry scheme, the vice minister of national defense in charge of arms procurement affairs would have too many offices to supervise, while downgrading the CIST to a level below the APB might garner resistance from the institute, which carries out defense technology research.
Liu Chung-huan, director of the logistics department of the Combined Services Force General Headquarters, said that the APB should be a "policy staff mechanism."
Liu added that spinning off certain departments under his headquarters, placing them under the APB to serve as a engineering operations and productions center and a procurement center, would adversely affect the function of his headquarters team.