New Power Party Legislator Chiu Hsien-chih (邱顯智) on Friday urged the government to increase the military conscription period to one year, citing the effectiveness of Ukraine’s defense against Russia.
Chiu, speaking during a session of the Legislative Yuan, said that conscription appears to have played a large role in bolstering Ukraine’s ability to exact a heavy price on Russia, which invaded its eastern European neighbor on Feb. 24.
The Taiwanese military — which discharged its last group of mandatory conscripts in December 2018 — is mostly comprised of volunteers, although men are still obligated to complete four months of military training and could be called up in war.
Taiwan should not rely on a small volunteer force for its defense, when its neighbor is a hostile and authoritarian state, Chiu said, adding that the four-month conscription period is too short.
Reservists should also be able to participate in rigorous training if they wish, and incentives for advanced training should be offered, he said.
Some civilian groups have been providing volunteers with training using air guns, which shows that a large number of people are willing to defend the country, he said.
Photo: Hsieh Chun-lin, Taipei Times
Almost no traffic controls or civilian participation are involved in the Wanan air raid drills, which offer inadequate preparation for Taiwanese, he said, adding that the drills should be more realistic.
Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said that the nation should have a dialogue about the all-volunteer force and that policies should be created to provide extra training to willing reservists.
Minister of National Defense Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) said that conscripts on four-year service terms make up a small part of the nation’s armed forces compared with volunteers on four-year contracts, who make up 90 percent of the military.
The military welcomes reservists who wish to volunteer for additional training and the Ministry of National Defense would offer incentives if the need arises, he said, adding that people playing with novelty weapons does not necessarily equate with being proper field training.
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