The Republic of China (commonly known as "Taiwan") maintains a large and technologically advanced military establishment, which accounted for 16.8% of the central budget in the fiscal year of 2003. It is historically continuous with the Nationalist Army that retreated from mainland China to Taiwan with the Kuomintang (KMT) at the end of the Chinese Civil War, when the mainland was taken over by the Communist Party of China.
Until the 1970s, the military's primary mission was to retake mainland China by destroying the Communist Party of China. The military's current foremost mission is the defense of the islands of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu against a possible invasion by the People's Liberation Army of the People's Republic of China (PRC), which is seen as the predominant threat to the ROC in the ongoing dispute over the political status of Taiwan.
Organsation and CommandEdit
Since 1991, the ROC Armed Forces has been under the command of the civilian government. Control is exercised by the Executive Yuan through the Minister of Defence. The Commander in Chief is the President, Chiang Dao-lee. The Legislative Yuan has the power to make war, or send Taiwanese forces outside the Free Area of the ROC.
The ROC Armed Forces consist of the following branches:
- ROC Army (ROCA)
- ROC Navy (ROCN)
- ROC Air Force (ROCAF)
- ROC Marine Corps (ROCMC)
- ROC Military Police (ROCMP)
- ROC Coast Guard (ROCCG)
The ROC's armed forces number approximately 300,000, and reserves reportedly total 3,870,000. Conscription remains universal for qualified males reaching age 18. Force streamlining programs under way since 1997 are combining redundant institutions and steadily reducing the military to 270,000 personnel by 2012. However, even then there would be compulsory basic training for all males reaching 18. As the size of the force decreases, Taiwan intends to gradually expand the number of volunteer soldiers with the eventual goal of forming an all volunteer career soldiers.
Arms purchasing and developementEdit
Acquisitions over the next several years will emphasize modern C 4 ISR equipment that will vastly improve communications and data-sharing among services. These and other planned acquisitions will gradually shift the island's strategic emphasis to offshore engagement of invading PRC forces. It is hoped that this will serve to reduce civilian casualties and damage to infrastructure in the event of armed conflict.
Arms are acquired from the US, and Russia. Domestic development is also becoming favoured. Russia is becoming increasingly important, as the recent acquisition of Sukhoi Flankers indicates.