Taiwan is moving towards an all volunteer force. Next January, conscription
service will decline from 18 to 12 months. As recently as 2005, conscript
service was 22 months. Men are eligible for the draft at age 19. Currently
about 170,000 come of age each year. Considering all those exempted because of
physical, mental and other problems, that leaves enough men to supply the
145,000 new recruits needed each year (assuming half the 290,000 troops are
conscripts, who serve for one year.)
The military is also trying to recruit more
volunteers, so it can become an all-volunteer force. By the end of the year,
the military hopes to be 40 percent volunteers, and 50 percentvolunteers by 2009. Going all volunteer may
take a decade or more, and depends a lot on whetherChina continues to threaten an invasion.
Currently, about five percent of military aged
(19-35) men are in the military. The primary purpose of conscription is not
just to provide troops automatically, and cheaply, but to train men for the
reserves. At the moment, there are about three million veterans available for reserve
units. Once the all volunteer force was achieved, all males would be require to
undergo basic military training and serve in the reserves until they were 35.
Taiwans booming economy has made it difficult, in
the last few decades, to attract had keep high quality men to serve as NCOs and
junior officers. This, in turn, has led to low morale among the largely
conscript troops. In the last decade, the military has made progress in dealing
with these problems.