Taiwan’s Compulsory Military Service: Fix it or Drop it

If Taiwan is to retain a basic military training program, it should make sure the nation gets a proper return on the investment.

The News Lens
Date: June 6, 2016
By: J. Michael Cole

For years now the Taiwanese armed forces have sought to phase out conscription, an

Photo: J. Michael Cole

Photo: J. Michael Cole

increasingly unpopular citizen’s duty among young Taiwanese, and replace it with an all-volunteer military system. Blaming an inability to attract sufficient numbers of qualified soldiers, the government has repeatedly delayed full implementation and ended up adopting a “dual track” mix of conscripts and volunteers. By doing so it has ensured there are enough “boots on the ground,” but the current conscripts’ training program is an enormous waste of time and money. What’s even worse is that it does nothing to prepare young men and women for combat.

Countless young men who have completed their military service in recent years have emerged disillusioned with their training, which more often than not consisted of endless weeks spent in an office pushing paper. Many have also been used as cheap labor — often on as little as NT$10,000 (US$300) per month — acting as clerks, office workers, or helps for people with mental disabilities.     [FULL  STORY]

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