Armed Forces Reserve Command
The ROC defense strategy calls for maintaining a minimum force in peacetime and mobilizing a large number of troops in the event of war. The reservist system plays a key role in such a policy by facilitating instantaneous mobilization and instant combat readiness. The military reservists are required to stay "two days in the military camp every month” and receive “training for 7 days per year" and regularly return to service for at least 29 days every year in principle. Reservists who are dismissed from the armed forces within 8 years must be mustered for 4 times at the maximum and 20 days for each call at the maximum.
In 1997, the registered reservists of this country amount to more than 3,870,000 persons with 3,060,000 assigned to the Army, 450,000 assigned to the Navy, and 360,000 assigned to the Air Force, which is 18% of the total population. Within the Reserves there were over 310,000 officers, 1,371,000 NCOs, and 2,189,000 enlisted personnel. Over 2.6 reservists were listed in the reserve mobilization system as of 2012. In 2014, the registered reservists amounted to more than 1,657,000 persons with 1,500,000 assigned to the Army, 67,000 assigned to the Navy, and 90,000 assigned to the Air Force.
After a man is discharged from active duty, he must report to his local military reserve unit, a subunit under the Armed Forces Reserve Command. Reservists are organized into different units according to their military occupational specialty (MOS). Since a prolonged mobilization recall might adversely affect both the livelihood of a reservist and the overall economic development of the country, annual reservist training is usually conducted through recalls. An MOS refresher training course is conducted, and each reservist is notified of his unit combat mission and relative location.
Based on the principle that "regular forces conduct strikes and reserve forces defend the homeland," Theaters of Operations are the core and ground reserve forces are the backbone. In accordance with the principles "younger combatants and senior specialists" and "last retired from service first used," persons separated from service within eight years are assembled into reserve units that radiate outward from their tactical positions. The reservist list is continuously updated and reservists are priority members of mobilization forces, ensuring that combat forces are young and strong, so that "swift force generation and rapid capability reconstitution" can be achieved during wartime.
Theaters of Operations file applications for materials based on operational requirements and complete supply-demand verification operations. Important military supplies in the annual requisition plan include 180 items under 8 categories, including minerals, basic metals, machinery, fiber/leather/rubber/wool, chemicals, medical supplies, construction materials, transportation (telecommunications), and other. Furthermore, requisition plans included over 10,000 fixed facilities, over 30,000 vehicles, over 2,000 pieces of heavy machinery, over 50 vessels, over 300 fishing boats, and over 60 aircraft that can be immediately mobilized during wartime to effectively support military operations.
The Reserve Command is responsible for civil defense and mobilization preparedness. Its personnel, selected from cadres of regular forces or reserves, are organized into reserve brigades, reserve regiments, and reserve battalions subordinate to each Reserve Division Command and County/City Reserve Command in peacetime. They will be expanded and included in the command and control of the combat system in wartime.
In April 2004 Mike Huang noted that "All infantry brigades (1xx) tasked with basic training are transferred outside the regular Army to the Reserve Command. It is not immediately known which particular brigades are affected, but the Reserve Command is reportedly activating 9 brigades. Among them, 902, 904, and 905 Brigades have been activated on 04/06/2004 at Cheng Kung Ridge Military Base in Central Taiwan. A number of infantry brigades will still be retained in the regular Army, such as the 2 units in the 6th Army tasked with the defense of Metro Taipei."
There were as many as 1,500,000 reserve troops whose obligation of service extends until the age of 30 years. The government set a policy "to reduce the number of regular forces and increase that of the reservists," with the intent to achieve the objective of "retaining fewer soldiers in peace time and mobilizing more forces at wartime."
Pursuant to policy guidelines for "reducing regular forces and expanding reserves," the regular forces are being continually reduced. Therefore, the reserve forces must be reinforced to sustain the normal combat capability of the ROC Armed Forces. In order to ensure the reliability of the reserves, MND has streamlined the reserve organizations, training, and equipment so as to timely support in military operations in accordance with the guideline of "the advanced technology taking the lead, regular forces conducting strikes, and the reserves defending the rear."
Since a prolonged mobilization recall might adversely affect both the livelihood of a reservist and the overall economic development of the country, annual reservist training is usually conducted through recalls. An MOS refresher training course is conducted, and each reservist is notified of his unit's combat mission and relative location.
The purpose of muster calls is two-fold: to maintain readiness by practicing immediate report on call-up and to keep data on reservists current. Methods for streamlining call-up procedures and maximizing public convenience are periodically reviewed.
Reservists and selected military service troops are mustered every two years for training at a military base near their residence, so as to restore or maintain their basic combat (including disaster relief) skills. The training includes specialty retraining, firing training, combat training, combined training, and disaster prevention and relief, which are necessary for combat operations and disaster relief. Over 140,000 persons received training in 622 batches, effectively building mobilization capabilities. In response to disaster relief requirements during the flood season, mustered reserve forces must take an additional 4 hours of disaster relief courses (1 hour for military service troops). Furthermore, 3 to 6 battalions of disaster relief forces are maintained at all times, so that when a disaster occurs, they can jointly carry out disaster relief missions with regular forces to protect homes, protect hometowns, and protect assets.
To validate muster-call training results of reserve forces, the Tung Hsin Exercise and Tzu Chiang Exercise are simultaneously conducted along with the Han Kuang Exercise. Under the command and control mechanisms of each Theater of Operations, manpower and materials mobilization is carried out "around the island, in separate districts, at the same time" when the mobilization order is issued. Reserve forces are assembled to validate their mission succession, pre-combat training, deep battle (beach, town, mountain strategic pass, and anti-airborne operations), and wartime disaster relief, strengthening the overall combat capabilities of reserve forces.
Educational recall aims at intensifying the mobilization combat readiness and upgrading military skills and capabilities to perform their operations missions. In 1996 and 1997, about 200,000 reservists received educational recall and training with a duration from 5 to 7 days for training on subjects including firearms training, tactical force structure, and the combat readiness tasks. According to the annual mobilization program, all reservists, except those who have already been listed in educational recall, are called up each year in order to maintain readiness and update personal data. Since 1996 the one day (8 hours) muster recall has been reduced to a two-hour recall.
Military mobilization is divided into two parts: “manpower mobilization” and “material mobilization.” Manpower mobilization is focused on fulfilling military manpower demands. Based on the recalling principle of “prioritizing younger-aged for combatant personnel, experienced for specialized personnel, and lately retired/discharged first,” manpower mobilization is categorized as “topping up planned manning ratio,” “topping up increased manning ratio,” “supply to combat attrition,” and “military services team.”
Personnel within 8 years after retired/discharged are prioritized to be mobilized, and will be first assigned to reservist units to sustain military strength. Material mobilization is centered on supplementing the shortage of equipment and supporting tactical demands. Material mobilization has three ways to expand support capacity: “commandeering material directly or by purchasing,” “military transportation mobilization,” and “transferring production lines.” The MND has established a resources integration platform to coordinate with related governmental agencies, municipal and local governments, and supervisory bodies of motor vehicles, to manage an inventory of 341 items in 67 sub-categories of 10 categories, so as to mobilize swiftly in wartime to support defensive operations.
In order to validate its efficiency of mobilization efforts, the MND hosts “all-out defense mobilization and disaster prevention (Ming An) exercise,” “civil-military joint air defense (Wan An) exercise,” and “Zi Chiang exercise” annually. Ming An exercise is jointly held with annual “disaster prevention exercise” of the Executive Yuan, and is led by municipal and local governments, aiming at practicing prevention and rescue operations during composite disasters. From 2018 to 2019, there are 16,148 personnel, 1,925 vehicles, 95 vessels, 21 helicopters used in Ming An #4 and #5 exercises; in coordination with Han Kuang (HK) #34 and #35 force-on-force exercises, there are 96,359 personnel and 33,180 vehicles used in Wan An #41 and #42 exercises; there are 220,509 items commandeered and 336 vehicles and 71 heavy construction machineries used in Zi Chiang #35 and #36 exercises, to validate the plausibility of regulations and doctrines for material mobilization.
After the victory of the Anti-Japanese War, the "Taiwan Garrison General Headquarters " was establish in Chongqing City in August 1945. It was reorganized to be "Taiwan Provincial Garrison General Headquarters" in September 1949 and then the “Taiwan Provincial Public security Headquarter” in July 1958. In July 1964, the “Taiwan Armed Forces Reserve Command” was newly established, under which the Mobilization Operations Unit was added but assigned to the former Garrison General Headquarters. It was then established that the “Taiwan Armed Forces Reserve Command” assumed four major tasks, including garrison, public security, civil defense, and mobilization.
In August 1992, in response to the termination of Period of National Mobilization for Suppression of the Communist Rebellion, the Garrison General Headquarters was abolished but the coast guard mission was added, leading to the establishment of the “Taiwan Army Control District Command and Coast Guard Command”. When the “Coast Guard Act” was promulgate on February 1, 2000, leading to the establishment of the Coast Guard Administration and the separation of the military management from the coast guard mission, this Command is responsible for promoting the management, mobilization and service tasks for the military reservists.
The implementation of “National Defense Act” and “Organic Act of the Ministry of National Defense” on March 1, 2002 has further led to the name change from “Taiwan Armed Forces Reserve Command” to the “Armed Forces Reserve Command of the Ministry of National Defense,” under which a new training brigade was added on April 1, 2004 and the Rear Echelon Administration Office of Combined Logistics Command was added on January 1, 2006. Since then, this Command has been responsible for the training of new recruits; the management, mobilization, and service of military reservists and Rear Echelon Administration Service.
On January 1, 2013, the mission to train new recruits was moved to the army and the navy. This Command has since been assigned to the General Staff Headquarters and mainly in charge of such missions as the mobilization, management, and Rear Echelon Administration Service for the military reserve force and the disaster prevention and relief.
To make use of the expertise of retired/discharged personnel, starting from 2017, the MND has been implementing a “reservist warrior” program to reenlist them in the service 2 days every month (included attending an annual exercise or drill, totally 29 days a year at least) aside from their civilian jobs. These warriors return to the service to refresh their skills in operating weapons and equipment, so as to timely exert their expertise in wartime. From 2017 onward, reenlisted warriors have grown from 100 to 185, and the MND will try to provide more benefits and adjust complementary means in a roll planning fashion, and expand the program annually by evaluating the recruiting status and results of this program, so as to maintain a sufficient manpower for the ROC Armed Forces.
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