The nation's first female combat-status general is an electronic communications expert, specializing in information technology (IT) hardware and anti-virus computer software.
Chai Hui-chen (
A graduate from National Taiwan University's Horticulture Department, Chai didn't start her military career until after she was admitted into National Defense Medical College's Graduate Institute of Biochemistry. She later obtained a doctorate in computer science from Syracuse University in New York State.
After serving at electronic communications centers at various military units, Chai was promoted to her current post in July last year.
In the face of the rapid buildup of China's electronic warfare arsenal, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) has stepped up electronic warfare combat preparedness with a view to establishing a three dimensional safety dragnet to maintain smooth communications and command operations, troop mobility and military barracks security. With her superb IT expertise, Chai has played an important role in this process, military sources said.
In recent years, Chinese have frequently tried to hack into Taiwanese government and military Web sites. Chai has often assisted government agencies in strengthening their firewalls to protect their communications systems and data banks, military sources said. Chai once said confidently that attacks from Chinese hackers had provided good opportunities to practice the skills needed to protect the military's communications systems.
The MND held a commissioning ceremony for the 44 soon-to-be generals at the Armed Forces Officers' Club in Taipei on Thursday, with Minister of National Defense Lee Jye (李傑) presiding. Both President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) attended the ceremony.
Chai was decorated with the major general's badge by her husband and daughter at the commissioning ceremony.
Seven were conferred with the rank of lieutenant general or vice admiral, and 37 were promoted to major generals or rear admirals.
Addressing the commissioning ceremony, President Chen said, in his capacity as the commander-in-chief of the nation's armed forces, that Chai's promotion symbolizes the efforts of the military to achieve gender equality in the military.