Taiwan’s Volunteer Army Delayed Again

For the second time, the Ma Ying-jeou administration’s plans for an all-volunteer armed forces have been delayed as the military has once more failed to meet its recruitment needs.

Originally planned for 2014, the push for an all-volunteer force was postponed to January 1, 2016. Last month the Ministry of National Defense (MND) reported that the target date would be pushed back one year to 2017, although it had already reached 70% of its recruitment goals. The postponement will impact 23,100 males who are set to turn 18 shortly.

An MND statement said that conscription needs to remain in effect due to “hostile threats from the enemy” and “escalating tensions in the region.” An all-volunteer army has been seen as a solution to low morale of Taiwan’s draftees and the need by a modern military for more professionally trained personnel. Ending conscription has been considered one of President Ma’s more significant policy initiatives, and critics called the failure to implement the plan a “bounced check.”

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