A majority of respondents to a recent opinion poll support the gradual introduction of a fully professional, volunteer military recruitment system, the KMT legislative caucus said yesterday.
Amid mounting calls for the government to shorten the period of mandatory military service and increase the ratio of professional servicemen to conscripts, the KMT legislative caucus conducted a telephone poll of 1,067 randomly chosen adults from April 29-30 to explore their opinions on the issue.
The poll results show that 65.51 percent of those interviewed support the proposal to shorten the period of mandatory military service and implement a full volunteer military enlistment system in a gradual, phased manner.
And 56.7 percent gave a thumbs-up to the idea that a fully professional, volunteer military service system be put into force by 2011.
According to the survey results, 62.7 percent said they believe that a fully professional, volunteer recruitment system would be more effective than the present conscription system to the establishment of an elite, competent force.
However, 47.05 percent said they think that implementing a full volunteer enlistment system at present could affect Taiwan's national security.
Under pressure from the legislature and various civic groups, the Ministry of National Defense said Thursday that it has drawn up a plan to experiment with a full volunteer enlistment system at the battalion level.
Under the plan, the ministry will recruit senior high school graduates to serve as professional noncommissioned officers in an army armored infantry battalion, a navy marine corps force infantry battalion and an air force guard battalion, respectively.
Commenting on the plan, KMT Legislator Liao Wan-ju (廖婉汝) speculated that the plan will fail, as all three units selected for the experiment are combat troops. "I think it would be easier for high-tech units to recruit volunteer servicemen," she said.