Creating an all-volunteer force is a hugely expensive endeavor that requires fundamental changes in training and organization. Getting it wrong could severely undermine national defense
The Ministry of National Defense confirmed on Thursday that it would implement an all-volunteer military system next year and drastically cut down on the military training citizens born after 1993 will have to undergo.
Plans to create a professional military did not begin with the administration of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九). Not only did Ma allude to a similar commitment in 2008, but the idea was already being discussed under former President Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government.
Why two administrations that tend to disagree with each other on so many issues have both expressed a desire to create an all-volunteer military is simple: It makes sense — at least on paper.
However, if such a plan were to materialize next year, the legislature would either have to be willing to release extraordinary budgets or substantially increase the annual defense budget. Judging from its performance in the past four years, the Ma administration, even with his Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) enjoying a super-majority in the legislature, has shown no inclination to release such a budget.
My unsigned editorial, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.