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Evolving Cross-Strait Relations and Taiwan's New Military Service System

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Master's thesis

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Taiwans new cross-strait policy rapidly decreases the tension between the ROC and the PRC. In an era without an instant military threat from the PLA, Taiwans military should eliminate its old mass force concept, which was used to intimidate the PLA, and should reform its military service and reserve system in order to engage future challenges. The previous conscription system successfully blocked the PLA with a mass force capability. However, the previous conscription system was badly hit by political interference, which is a serial reduction of military service duration. It was also ineffective because of the widespread belief that war with China is unlikely. Eventually, the conscription system crippled Taiwans military capability. Based on the new governments effort to seek a peaceful solution, Taiwans military must to look for a suitable military service system, which is an all-volunteer force to fix the serious manpower problem of the conscription system. Taiwans military also needs to understand initial problems of the first effort of recruiting volunteer soldiers and must realize the importance of flexibility of recruiting and retention. Even though the military will suffer from an initial financial barrier, which is a dramatically increasing defense budget, the military will turn out healthy and competent. Undoubtedly, the concept of mass reserve force needs to be examined as well. Instead of having an incapable mass reserve force, it is better to possess a smaller and competent volunteer reserve force, which can extend volunteers skills and expertise. This study will not predict whether China and Taiwan will be friends or enemies in the future, but rather seeks to define how Taiwan should reform its military system at this time.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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