The army has set up new battalions under the 6th, 8th and 10th corps to handle training of new recruits and reservists, the Ministry of National Defense said, denying reports that it is expanding forces.
Members of the battalions come from the corps’ officer training programs and are part of an ongoing project to increase training capacity for new recruits and reservists, the ministry said, adding that the battalions are under the direct command of the corps’ commanding lieutenant general.
The move is not an expansion of the army, Army Command Headquarters added.
Reform of the reservist system includes maintaining the combat readiness of reservists, who are grouped into three categories — coastal defense, urban garrison and key target defense forces, the ministry’s 2021 Quadrennial Defense Review says.
The newly established battalions are tasked with training new recruits and arranging reservist training, while serving as key target area defense forces in time of war, the military’s Youth Daily News said.
The second battalion under the Kinmen Garrison Force, which handles training of new recruits and reservists, will also be tasked with coastal defense in times of war, the ministry said.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chao Tien-lin (趙天麟), a member of the Legislative Yuan’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee, said that the move was in line with President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) directive to ensure that combat-readiness training remains as close to real combat as possible.
Setting up the battalions was in line with what officer training camps would be like during wartime, he said, adding that how effective the training regimen is remains to be seen.
The new battalions are smaller and easier to maneuver than a brigade, and can better defend key areas, Institute for National Defense and Security Research postdoctoral researcher Sheu Jyh-shyang (許智翔) said.
The battalion’s composition — serving officers commanding new recruits or reservists — is less suited to direct assault missions and more suited to defense, he said.
Such battalions would require supporting forces if assigned to coastal defense roles, as they would not be suited to singlehandedly defend a coastal region, he added.
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