The military must maintain its discipline, efficiency and effective training while carrying out a series of reforms, such as improving human rights protection and shifting to an all-volunteer force, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday.
Since earlier this year, men have been required to only go through a four-month mandatory training period, rather than the previous requirement of one year of compulsory military service, Ma said of the nation’s transition to an all-volunteer force.
Despite the new rules, the training equips the men with the skills required to be qualified riflemen who can help protect the country in a time of conflict, Ma said during a trip to a military base in Greater Taichung to show his support for the military.
Although the nation initially planned to shift to an all-volunteer force by early 2015, the government announced earlier this month a two-year delay in implementing the program due to a lack of recruits.
At the Chengkungling military training base, Ma also recalled his training there 45 years ago and said that his time in the military was an important time of personal growth.
Meanwhile, the president took the opportunity to stress the importance of the military maintaining its discipline and efficiency when it is undergoing reform to improve human rights protection following the death of an army corporal that damaged the military’s image.
Army corporal Hung Chung-chiu (洪仲丘) died on July 4 after being subjected to days of strenuous punishment exercises in stifling heat.
The incident sparked a public outcry, brought down the minister of national defense and forced the government to turn over trials of military personnel to civilian courts during peacetime.