Ukraine War Spurs Debate on Military Reforms 立委籲軍事訓練役期延長 徵兵制恢復為一年

The Ukraine conflict has generated discussion on military service reforms. The Kuomintang and Taiwan People's Party support increasing the compulsory service period from four months to one year.

The Ukrainian people have mounted a ferocious resistance to defend their homeland against Russia's invasion. It's obvious that Taiwan needs to be as self-reliant in light of the cross-strait situation. Taiwan's four-month compulsory military service system has been plagued with controversies since it took effect, and many believe that it's impossible for conscripts to become qualified soldiers. The New Power Party attacked the all-volunteer policy as wrong and listed three major issues. They include a shortage of troops resulting from the low birthrate, and the NPP said the solution is to extend the compulsory service period to one year.

Chiu Hsien-chih, Legislator (NPP): “Taiwan went from conscription to a volunteer system from Chen Shui-bian to Ma Ying-jeou to Tsai Ing-wen, and right now only four months of training is required. Is this the right direction to be heading? Is this taking accountability?”

Legislators said the idea that "serving in the military is wasting your life" needs to be overturned, and military training needs to be comprehensively reformed. The Kuomintang and Taiwan People's Party support increasing the compulsory service period, while the Democratic Progressive Party said the issue can be discussed but it should not be limited to national defense and should consider productivity.

Lo Chih-cheng, Legislator (DPP): “It should include Taiwan's entire manpower structure, employment market, etc. If we continue to make the conscription period longer and longer due to the impact of the low birthrate, then will the country's overall productivity be pushed aside? There are of course many aspects. We absolutely can discuss it.”

The national defense system has also been singled out for radical reforms. Lawmakers suggested creating channels for women to participate. They also said military intelligence, combat medics, disaster prevention, and combat strategies should be incorporated into the overall national defense plan along with frontline combat.

Claire Wang, Legislator (NPP): “There aren't only armed soldiers that show physical strength or fighting strength on the battlefield. Military intelligence, first aid, disaster prevention, combat strategies should all be incorporated into the overall national defense plan.”

Yeh Yu-lan, Legislator (KMT): “Each type of military unit needs a different type of talent. I don't think gender should be a consideration.”

Ukraine has called up its reservists, and is training them on weekends. Legislators say Taiwan can learn from this. They add that China won't only use military tactics on Taiwan, and developing defense awareness is only possible through daily and repeated courses.