Elaine Hou reports for the Republic of China on Taiwan’s Central News Agency (via GlobalSecurity.org) that on Jan. 20, 2014, Taiwan’s Defense Minister Yen Ming said Taiwan is planning to cut the country’s military personnel to below 200,000 by the end of 2019, as it moves forward with its efforts to streamline the military.
During a dinner with local reporters to celebrate the upcoming Lunar New Year, Yen said according to a draft plan, the military will undergo a new downsizing from 2015 to 2019: ‘We plan to cut the number of troops to between 170,000 and 190,000 from the 215,000 target for the end of 2014.”
The downsizing is part of the military’s effort to adjust the organization of Taiwan’s defense apparatus and restructure the armed forces, taking into consideration such factors as the future type of combat operations, government finances and the weapons in the military’s arsenal. The deployment of high-tech weapons systems allows the military to cut its personnel. All in order to help achieve Taiwan’s goal of building a military force that, as Yen put it, is “small but elite, small but skillful, and small but strong.”
At the same time, Yen reiterated the government’s determination to shift to an all-volunteer force, citing measures aimed at giving young people more incentives to pursue a military career. For example, since Jan. 1, the government has raised monthly allowances for volunteer soldiers and non-commissioned officers to between NT$2,000 (US$66.60) and NT$4,000 (US$133.20) per month.
The military will need to recruit more than 10,000 servicemen annually in 2015 and 2016, but that number will fall to around 7,000 beginning in 2017.