Wed, Mar 11, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Military offering incentives to form all-volunteer force

Staff writer, with CNA

The military will continue its efforts to shift to an all-volunteer force, providing more incentives to attract greater numbers of Taiwanese to enlist, Ministry of National Defense (MND) officials said yesterday.

The military will offer incentives for career soldiers, including increased wages, opportunity for further study while serving and creature comforts at military bases, such as the ability to use smartphones, MND Department of Resource Planning Deputy Director-General Pai Chieh-lung (白捷隆) said.

The military recruited 15,024 volunteer soldiers last year, more than the 11,069 recruited in 2012 and 10,924 in 2013, Pai said at a news conference in Taipei.

Last year, 61.4 percent of volunteer servicemen and women agreed to sign on, up 15.1 percentage points from the previous two years, he said.

To give young people more incentives to pursue a military career, the government last year increased its monthly duty allowances for volunteer soldiers and non-commissioned officers by between NT$2,000 and NT$4,000 (US$63 and US$126).

The military hopes to recruit 14,000 volunteer soldiers this year and another 14,000 next year, Pai said, adding that if those targets are met, the military would have enough manpower to support an all-volunteer force by 2017.

Separately, the military plans to stage its annual Han Kuang military exercises (漢光演習) in May and September, which will involve various weapons systems it recently acquired, MND Joint Operation Division Director Major General Zhong Shu-ming (鍾樹明) said yesterday.

The “Han Kuang No. 31” exercises will be held in two stages to test the military’s combat readiness in the face of China’s military threat, Zhong said.

The first half of the exercises will consist of five days of computer-aided war drills starting on May 4, which will focus on electronic warfare, cyberattacks and defense, Zhong said at a news briefing.

Following the computer-aided war drills, the military will hold “real soldier” exercises, including live-fire drills, from Sept. 7 to Sept. 11 in Taiwan proper and on the nation’s outlying islands, Zhong said.

Asked about the new weapons systems to be deployed in the Han Kuang exercises, Zhong said AH-64E Apache attack helicopters, UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and P-3C sub-hunting aircraft would be included.

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