Wed, Feb 19, 2014 - Page 5 News List

Army brainstorms on more effective recruitment policy

By Lo Tien-pin and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A female soldier in an army artillery unit stands in a recreation room at a military base in Taiwan on Saturday.

Photo: Lo Tien-pin, Taipei Times

With the government pushing back its plan to shift to an all-volunteer force to 2017 amid lower-than-expected recruitment numbers, army command generals are hard pressed to come up with more innovative ideas to encourage people to sign up.

Under former army command General Lee Hsiang-chou (李翔宙), 35 experimental camps were set up with the goal of ameliorating the unit structure for voluntary service members.

Aside from changes in facilities, the experimental camps also eased some regulations, including allowing the open use of civilian networks while partially opening up the use of smartphones in certain locations at specified times.

Since taking over the post on Jan. 16, army command General Yen Te-fa (嚴德發) has raised his own ideas on raising recruitment, focusing on soldiers currently performing their mandatory service or conscripts still in boot camp.

These conscripts spend more time at boot camp, and if the army could set up “experience camps” where they can see and experience for themselves the changes in the military, they might be more amenable to signing up voluntarily, Yen said.

Army officials said the army has made the “transferable boot-camp” a focus point for its recruitment efforts this year.

All brigade-level units are to set up “experience camps,” the army said, adding that it is also calling on all combined-arms brigades to establish recruitment groups to visit the army brigades at certain intervals for recruitment purposes.

“Through a clear definition of a unit’s characteristics and specialty, we hope to draw more new recruits into signing up voluntarily,” the army said.

Yen also gave a strict directive that the all-volunteer service was an important national policy and “there is no room for failure.”

The army should seek to complete its mission of transition to an all-voluntary service within the given time frame, he added.

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