MND to recruit 15,000 volunteer privates this year

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

Thu, Jan 25, 2007 - Page 2

The Ministry of National Defense is planning to recruit some 15,000 young people, including about 3,000 young women, this year to serve voluntarily in the military, defense ministry sources said yesterday.

Officials from the defense ministry's talent recruitment center said that the ministry intends to recruit 15,153 young people, including 2,928 women, this year.

Center officials said that thanks to the enthusiastic response, the center had met its target for volunteer soldier recruitment in 2005, the first year of the program, which is part of the nation's ambitious military modernization project.

The center reached 95 percent of its target for last year, officials said.

The defense ministry began to recruit women to serve as volunteer soldiers last year, a practice which ministry officials said not only expands and diversifies the channels for the military to acquire talented people but also provides opportunities for young women to contribute in the military.

Volunteer privates will receive a monthly wage of NT$27,105 (US$826) and various stipends and will have half the amount of their water and electricity bills covered during the period of service. After they complete their military service, they are eligible for a pension and government agencies will assist them in gaining professional licenses related to their training in the military.

Under a reform program of the conscription system, the mandatory military service period has been shortened from 22 months to 14 months.