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Realigning military force structure to strengthen all-out national defense


In light of changes in the global strategic landscape and heightened regional security conflicts, Taiwan's current system of four months of compulsory military service is no longer sufficient to meet the nation's requirements for defense preparedness in terms of manpower capacity and training quality. After consideration of the military service systems instituted in other countries, President Tsai Ing-wen announced on December 27, 2022 that Taiwan will reinstate its policy of one-year compulsory military service beginning from 2024. Two days later, the Executive Yuan approved a plan to strengthen and recalibrate the national defense force structure. The plan is designed to substantially boost the nation's fighting power, enhance defense capabilities and reorganize the military's force structure to comprise four main categories—a main combat force, garrison force, civil defense system and reserve system—thereby establishing a new and more effective system for all-out national defense.

Key points

Extended service period: Starting from 2024, a one-year mandatory service period will be reinstated for men born in or after 2005 who are eligible for military conscription. The military service will strengthen realistic combat training and expand training for new types of weaponry to develop the skills necessary to carry out territorial and civil defense duties. Complementary measures include substantially increased wages for conscripts; talks are also underway to allow mandatory service time to be recognized under the labor pension system, as well as to introduce flexibility into the education system to allow conscripts to complete military service while in college, enabling them to more swiftly enter their future careers.

Reorganized force structure: Four main divisions will be established.
(1) The main combat force, primarily composed of military volunteers, which serves as the front line of national defense.
(2) The garrison force, primarily composed of conscripts, which is responsible for standing defense and the protection of important military and civilian installations, as well as supporting the main combat force and assisting civil defense work.
(3) The civil defense system, composed of special police, civil defense forces under local governments, and alternative military servicemen, which supports military operations in addition to disaster relief, medical care, maintaining public order, engineering repairs, etc., to ensure that society continues to function.
(4) The reserve system, composed of retired military volunteers to supplement the main combat force, and former conscripts to supplement the garrison force, which can be mobilized in the event of war to support combat operations and defend urban and rural areas.

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