The Ministry of National Defense yesterday told a news conference that it will continue to draft eligible Taiwanese to military service next year, the second time it has pushed back the target date for ending conscription as Taiwan tries to shift to an all-volunteer military force.
To maintain a force large enough to defend the nation, the ministry requires 9,600 men born before 1993 to perform one year of military service, said Lieutenant General Hsu Yen-pu (徐衍璞), who is responsible for the military’s human resources.
The military’s plan was to end conscription this year and discharge the latest conscripts after one year of service at the end of this year, leaving an all-volunteer force by next year, although four months of military training would still be mandatory.
However, the ministry last year said that it would continue to draft eligible men born before 1994 to enlist another 23,100 soldiers for a year of military service this year.
The plan was revised because the military does not expect to meet its recruitment target by the end of the year, but the ministry said that the policy of moving toward an all-volunteer force remains unchanged.
Those born after 1994 will be exempt from one-year compulsory military service, but will still be required to undergo four months of mandatory military training upon reaching conscription age, Hsu said.
Hsu said that the ministry would conduct a thorough review of military staff before making a decision on whether it would push the implementation of volunteer military service to 2018.
Once the target of 90 percent volunteer soldiers and officers is reached, the ministry will end conscription, Hsu said.
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