Wed, Jul 02, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Defense ministry to meet deadline to fill its civilian posts


The Ministry of National Defense yesterday announced that it will meet its deadline to have one third of its positions filled by civilians.

The ministry said it is speeding up recruitment of civilian defense officials and that it will complete the task by the end of this year.

The ministry's personnel department chief Ting Shou-ping (丁壽平) made the announcement yesterday at a regular press conference.

The ministry offers a total of 204 positions for civilians.

However, before this year, only 30 civilian defense officials had taken a post.

An article of the amendment of the organizational law of the ministry (國防部組織法) stipulates that the ministry has to employ 204 civilians by Jan. 28, next year. The plan aims to put a civilian-led power structure in place.

The task was initially scheduled to be completed in three years, but over the past two years, the ministry proceeded at a slow speed, recruiting only 60-some civilian defense officials.

Most of these civilian officials are actually former defense officials who have taken exams to acquire civil-servant status.

As the deadline for the completion of civilian employment nears, the ministry increased the frequency over the past few months with which it holds civil servant exams for civilians who want to become defense officials.

The ministry is confident that it will to employ as many as 204 civilian officials before the deadline set by the amendment of the organizational law of the ministry.

Two subordinate units of the ministry, including the military medical bureau and the military armament bureau, will follow suit and employ civilian officials.

The two bureaus must employ 27 and 41 civilian officials before 2005 and 2006 respectively.

The civilian employment plans are the result of a defense restructuring plan which is partially modeled on the US.

Over the past three years, there has been much talk about who could become the first civilian to lead the ministry after the beginning of the restructuring.

Ex-lawmaker Tsai Ming-hsien (蔡明憲), now the country's deputy representative in the US, was slated to become the first civilian leader of a the ministry but was overlooked for Defense Minister Tang Yao-ming (湯曜明).

Tang was generally considered not to be President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) favored candidate, but he got the position while the ministry began its transition.

"As more civilians become defense officials, the military might be more willing to accept a civilian leader," a defense official said.

"It is not a bad idea to have a civilian defense minister. He might introduce some new ideas into the highly conservative organization," he said.

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