The Ministry of National Defense yesterday announced the establishment of a defense mobilization agency to increase the combat preparedness of the nation’s reservists.
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) in June had said that the nation’s reservists would play a more important role in national defense.
Minister of National Defense Yen De-fa (嚴德發) told lawmakers that there had been 1,710 and 1,029 incidences of Chinese planes and ships respectively having crossed into the nation’s air defense identification zone so far this year.
Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times
Chinese planes had crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait 49 times so far this year, the highest number in 30 years, Yen said.
In view of the increased Chinese provocation, the ministry has proposed reforming the nation’s reservist forces in terms of administrative and unit-level organizations, training and equipment, Yen told lawmakers.
Administratively, all reservists would fall under a defense mobilization agency that would be established in January 2022 and is expected to cost NT$8.9 billion (US$307.3 million), he said.
The agency would outrank the current General Mobilization Office and would have 150 staff, up from 30, he added.
At the unit level, the Armed Forces Reserves centers in 18 cities and counties would answer to whichever combat area command centers they are closest to, Yen said.
In addition, reservist brigades would be expanded from seven to 12, further enhancing their combat strength, he said.
Reservists would be issued with the equipment used by standing forces and training would be enacted yearly instead of biennially, each exercise lasting for two weeks, Yen said, adding that the number of recalled reservists would be increased to 260,000 from 120,000.
General Mobilization Office Director Han Kang-ming (韓岡明) said that the daily wages for reservists being recalled for training would be increased by between 1.2 and 1.5 times.
The ministry would need to construct additional facilities due to the increased number of reservists who would be recalled for training, Yen said.
The nation has no plans to return to conscription, Yen said, adding that the volunteer service would produce older, but better-quality troops.
“We would adhere to a policy of having a minimal, highly trained standing force, with a greater number of reservists able to be mobilized,” he said.
The ministry expects the armed forces to be only 10 percent understrength by the end of this year, demonstrating that the military has not been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, is unfazed by Chinese provocations and that there remains a willingness for young people to join the military, Yen said.
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