|Republic of China Armed Forces
Zhōnghuá Mínguó Guójūn
Flag of the Republic of China
Emblem of the Republic of China
|Founded||June 16, 1924|
Republic of China Air Force
Republic of China Military Police
Republic of China Joint Logistics Command
Republic of China Armed Forces Reserve
|Commander-in-Chief||President Tsai Ing-wen|
|Minister of National Defense||Feng Shih-kuan|
|Chief of the General Staff||Admiral Lee Hsi-ming, ROCN|
|Military age||18 – 40 years of age|
|Conscription||1 year compulsory military services for male citizens between the age of 19 and 40|
|5,883,828, age 15–40 (2005 est.)|
|4,749,537, age 15–40 (2005 est.)|
|174,173 (2005 est.)|
|Active personnel||290,000 (ranked 16th)|
|Budget||$10.7 billion (2017 est.) (ranked 20th)|
|Percent of GDP||2.5 (2008 est.)|
|Domestic suppliers||Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation
Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology
|Foreign suppliers|| United States
|Ranks||Republic of China Armed Forces rank insignia|
|Republic of China Armed Forces|
|Literal meaning||Republic of China Army|
|Shorter name: National Army|
|Former name: National Revolutionary Army|
The Republic of China Armed Forces are the armed forces of the Republic of China now on Taiwan, encompassing the Army, Navy (including the Republic of China Marine Corps), Air Force and Military Police Force. It is a military establishment, which accounted for 16.8% of the central budget in the fiscal year of 2003. Since 2002, the military comes under the full civilian control of the Ministry of National Defense and oversight by the Legislative Yuan. It was the National Revolutionary Army before being renamed as the Republic of China Armed Forces in 1947 due to the implementation of the newly promulgated Constitution of the Republic of China (ROC).
Until the 1970s, the military's primary mission was to retake mainland China from the communist People's Republic of China (PRC) through the Project National Glory. The military's current foremost mission is the defense of the islands of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu, and other Taiwanese islands against a possible military invasion by the People's Liberation Army of the People's Republic of China (PRC), which is seen as the predominant threat to the Republic of China (ROC) in the ongoing dispute over the political status of Taiwan.
The Republic of China Armed Forces is the National Defense Force of Taiwan. It is known as "Guojun 國軍", which means "national army".
When the ROC was based in mainland China, its army was the National Revolutionary Army before 1928 which was often known as the "Chinese Nationalist Army" or "KMT Army". The nationalization of the armed forces in 1947 basically detached the Kuomintang's control on the armed forces, and it became a national defense forces. Due to the institution of civilian control of the military and the new 1947 constitution, it was later renamed the Republic of China Armed Forces.
Today, the Republic of China Armed Forces is also informally called Taiwan Armed Forces following a relocation of the ROC government to Taiwan after 1949 and to prevent being confused with the communist-led People's Republic of China.
The Republic of China's army was known as the National Revolutionary Army, which was founded on mainland China in 1925. The National Revolutionary Army was the military arm of Kuomintang (Nationalist Party - KMT) from 1925 until 1947 in the Republic of China. It also become the regular army of the ROC during the KMT's period of party rule beginning in 1928.
However, with the promulgation of the second Constitution of the Republic of China in 1947 and the formal end of the KMT party-state, the National Revolutionary Army was renamed the Republic of China Armed Forces (中華民國國軍), while the bulk of its forces formed the Republic of China Army. The army was nationalized and thus no longer belonged to the KMT. The ROC Armed Force relocated to the island of Taiwan after the end of the second phase of the Chinese Civil War in 1949.
The Land force was established in 1924. It can be traced back to the establishment of the Whampoa Military Academy in Canton by 1911 revolutionary leader Sun Yat-sen and built as the National Revolutionary Army, the military arm of KMT. Whampoa Military Academy was relocated to Fengshan District, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan after 1949. It was re-established as the Republic of China Military Academy (中華民國陸軍軍官學校), and modeled after the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York.
The Navy of the Qing dynasty was first exposed to Western influence. With the establishment of the Republic of China in 1912, many former Qing-naval officer agreed with the revolutionary ideal of Xinhai and joined the ROC Navy. However, with warlordism continuing to plague the territory of the Republic of China, the development of the Republican navy was somewhat slow. Furthermore, there were internal conflicts during its development. During the 2nd Sino-Japanese war, most of the ROC Navy was destroyed by the Imperial Japanese Navy. In 1946 the Republic of China Naval Academy was established in Shanghai; it was relocated to Taiwan in 1949.
The ROC Marine Corps was formed from the former Navy Sentry Corps in December 1914, it used to have two divisions, 66th and 99th divisions, in size, when its doctrine focused on retaking mainland China. Since its transition to a defensive posture, the ROCMC has been downsized from about 38,000 active personnel to only 9,000. In 2004, the ROCMC redeployed a brigade near the Taipei area to defend against a possible PLA decapitation strike. The ROC Marine Corps' official motto is "永遠忠誠" (Forever Loyalty), modeled after the US Marine Corps's "Semper Fidelis".
In 1920 Sun Yat-sen established the Aviation Ministry in Canton. But due to the division of the Southern Warlords, it was later dismantled. In 1929, Chiang Kai-shek established the Aviation Class in the ROC Military Academy. It was relocated to Hangzhou in 1931. Following the outbreak of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War, the ROC Air Force was responsible for shooting down many Japanese Air force fighters. After 1949 the ROC Air Force Academy was relocated to Taiwan.
The ROC Military Police was established in 1914 when Sun Yat-sen assumed the provisional presidency. It was established as a police guard and to maintain discipline within the army. In 1932 the nationalist government established the "Command Work of Military Police" (憲兵勤務令) and the Service Procedure for the Military Police (憲兵服務章程), which established the military police system. In 1936, the Military police Academy was founded in Nanjing. The school relocated to Taiwan after 1949.
In the 21st century as the PRC vastly increased its defense spending, Taiwan registered the lowest growth in defense spending of the major Asia-Pacific powers. These cutbacks where felt as vital land based systems were cut in order to afford an upgrade of aging fourth generation jet fighters (needed to respond to the PRC's fifth generation fighter programs). And even the jet fighter upgrades were cut back in areas such as high performance jet engines. The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission found that these defense cuts could jeopardize Taiwan's military preparedness.
The ROC 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, the ROC intends to gradually expand the number of volunteer soldiers with the eventual goal of forming an all volunteer career force.
The ROC Armed Forces' officer corps is generally viewed as being competent, displaying a high degree of professionalism. However, as a whole, the culture in the officer corps tends to be very cautious and conservative. The military also faces difficulties in the recruitment and retention of junior officers and NCOs due to competition with the private sector. There are, however, plans to make it a volunteer armed forces.
Because of the historical legacy having once controlled mainland China, the army has traditionally been the most important of the ROC's military forces, although this has declined in recent years with the realization that the traditional army's role in defending against a PRC invasion is limited. As a result, recent force modernization programs have resulted in the reorganization of the Army into smaller units as a quick deployment mobile troops. For the same reason, more emphasis is being placed on the development of the Navy and Air Force, in order to fend off attacks in the Taiwan Strait, away from Taiwan proper.
The following service commands are directly subordinate to the General Staff, headed by the Chief of the General Staff, which answers to the civilian command structure under the Minister of Defense and the ROC President:
The Coast Guard Administration was created in 2001 from related police and military units and is administered by the Executive Yuan and may be incorporated as a military branch during times of emergency but for the large part remains in civilian control.
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.
The ROC's armed forces are equipped with weapons obtained primarily from the United States, examples being 150 F-16A/B Block-20 MLU fighters, 6 E-2 Hawkeyes, licensed produced Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates, 63 AH-1W attack helicopters, 39 OH-58D scout helicopters and 3 batteries of Patriot PAC-II SAMs.
The ROC also procured two Hai Lung class submarines from the Netherlands, and 60 Mirage 2000-5Di/Ei fighter aircraft and six La Fayette stealth frigates from France. The ROC also has four German made minesweepers that were bought under the guise of civilian use.
In 2001 the United States approved the sale of a number of weapons systems, including eight diesel submarines, six Patriot PAC-3 SAMs and 12 P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft. Out of the items authorized, The ROC as of 2014[update] had four Kidd-class destroyers, M109A5 units, two additional E-2C Hawkeyes 2000 and nine CH-47SD Chinook heavy transport helicopters in service, with the 12 P-3C and 3 PAC-3 batteries being funded. It was unclear if or when the balance of the equipment would be supplied; the delivery of diesel submarines in particular was doubtful, as the United States does not manufacture them.
The military budget for 2007 (passed 16 June) included funds for the procurement of 12 P-3C Orion patrol aircraft, 66 F-16 C/D Block 52 fighters, the upgrade of existing PAC-2 batteries to PAC-3 standard and a feasibility study into the planned purchase of conventionally powered submarines offered by the US way back in 2001.
In July 2007 it was reported that the ROC Army would request the purchase of 30 AH-64D II Apache attack helicopters from in the 2008 defense budget. The United Daily News reported that as many as 90 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters would also be ordered to replace the UH-1Hs then in service.
During August, the ROC requested 60 AGM-84L Harpoon Block II missiles, 2 Harpoon guidance control units, 30 Harpoon containers, 30 Harpoon extended air-launch lugs, 50 Harpoon upgrade kits from AGM-84G to AGM-84L configuration and other related elements of logistics and program support, to a total value of US$125 million. The United States government indicated its approval of the order with notification to the United States Congress of the potential sale.
In mid-September 2007, the Pentagon notified the U.S. Congress of P-3C Orion order, which included 12 Orions and three "spare aircraft", along with an order for 144 SM-2 Block IIIA missiles. The total value of the 12 P-3C Orions were estimated at around $1.96 billion and $272 million for the 144 SM-2 missiles. A contract was awarded to Lockheed Martin to refurbish the 12 P-3C Orion aircraft for the ROC on 2009-03-13, with deliveries to start in 2012.
In mid-November 2007, the Pentagon notified the US Congress about a possible sale to upgrade the ROC's existing 3 Patriot missile batteries to the PAC-3 standard. The total value of the upgrade could be as much as $939 million.
The US government announced on 3 October that it planned to sell $6.5 billion worth of arms to the ROC ending the freeze of arms sales to the ROC. The plans include $2.5 billion worth of 30 AH-64D Block III Apache Longbow attack helicopters with night-vision sensors, radar, 174 Stinger Block I air-to-air missiles, 1,000 AGM-114L Hellfire missiles, PAC-3 missiles (330), 4 missile battery, radar sets, ground stations and other equipment valued up to $3.1 billion. 4 E-2T aircraft upgrade to E-2C Hawkeye 2000 was also included, worth up to $250 million. $200 million worth of submarine-launched Harpoon Block II missiles (32) would also be available for sale, $334 million worth of various aircraft spare parts and 182 Javelin missiles, with 20 Javelin command launchers.
However, not included in the arms sale were new F-16 C/D fighters, the feasibility study for diesel-electric submarines or UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters. The White House had declined to sell 66 F-16C/D fighter planes as US Pacific Command has felt no need for advanced arms to be sold to the ROC.
The military has also stressed military "self-reliance," which has led to the growth of indigenous military production, producing items such as the ROC's Indigenous Defense Fighter, the Thunderbolt 2000 Multiple Launch Rocket System, Clouded Leopard Armoured Vehicle, the Sky Bow I and Sky Bow II SAMs and Hsiung Feng series of anti-ship missiles. The ROC's efforts at arms purchases have consistently been opposed by the PRC. The PRC has also consistently attempted to block cooperation between the ROC military and those of other countries.
On 29 January 2010 the US government announced five notifications to US Congress for arms sales to the ROC, two Osprey class mine hunters for $105 million (all figures in US dollars), 25 Link 16 terminals on ships for $340 million, twn ship- and two air-launched Harpoon L/II for $37 million, 60 UH-60M and other related items for $3.1 billion and three PAC-3 batteries with 26 launchers and 114 PAC-3 missiles for $2.81 billion, for a total $6.392 billion overall.
The modern day ROC military is styled after western military systems, mostly the US military. Internally, it has a political warfare branch/department that tightly controls and monitors each level of the ROC military, and reports directly to the General Headquarters of the ROC military, and if necessary, directly to the President of the ROC. This is a carryover from the pre-1949 era, when KMT and its army were penetrated by Communist agents repeatedly and led to frontline units defecting to Communist China. To strengthen their control over the military and prevent massive defection after retreating to Taiwan in 1949, CKS and CCK employed tight control over the military, by installing political officers and commissioners down to the company level, in order to ensure political correctness in the military and loyalty toward ROC leadership. This gave the political officers/commissars a great deal of power, allowing them to overrule the unit commander and take over the unit. Only in recent years has the political warfare department (due to cutbacks) reduced its power within the ROC military.
Two defense reform laws implemented in 2002 granted the civilian defense minister control over the entire military, and expanded legislative oversight authority for the first time in history. In the past the ROC military was closely linked with and controlled by the KMT (Nationalist Party). Following the democratization of the 1990s the military moved to a politically neutral position, though the senior officer ranks remain dominated by KMT members.
The primary goal of the ROC Armed Forces is to provide a credible deterrent against hostile action by establishing effective counterstrike and defense capabilities. Should hostilities occur, current ROC military doctrine centers upon the principle of "offshore engagement" where the primary goal of the armed forces in any conflict with the PRC would be to keep as much of the fighting away from Taiwan proper for as long as possible to minimize damage to infrastructure and civilian casualties. The military has also begun to take the threat of a sudden "decapitation attack" by the PRC seriously. Consequently, these developments have seen a growing emphasis on the role of the Navy and Air Force (where the Army had traditionally dominated); as well as the development of rapid reaction forces and quick mobilization of local reserve forces.
Annually, the ROC Military conducts full exercises called Han Kuang Exercise which may sometimes include all branches of the military to participate in one or two specific exercises, they show the Taiwanese media the various weapons they have acquired and give special performances from the army, navy and air force. Han Kuang Exercises are held throughout Taiwan mainly at the main expected invasion areas. In 2007 there was an army exercise simulating a counterattack against PLA forces who have captured Taichung Port. An air force exercise simulating that air bases throughout Taiwan have been destroyed and are forced to use a major highway as an airstrip. ROCN (navy) exercise where an invasion force is heading toward Taiwan, destroyers, frigates and attack boats are called to fire missiles and attack dummy targets.
A series of computer simulations conducted by the ROC Ministry of National Defense in 2004 predicted that, in the event of a full-scale invasion by the PRC, Taipei would take at most three weeks to fall. It also showed that the ROC Air Force would be eliminated by about the fifth day. However, the simulation results indicate that the PRC would lose about two-thirds of all its military forces in the process. The results of the simulation are hotly debated since they came at a time when the Legislative Yuan was debating one of the largest arms procurement packages in recent years.
Taiwan figures itself in terms of China's long-term strategic planning. The island is part of China's First Island Chain, which encompass the innermost ring of islands China considers essential for national defense. Taiwan could then be used to protect mainland China and be used as a basing area to operate into the Second Island Chain. China no longer actively seeks to invade Taiwan, but has a large force oriented toward it if the decision was ever to be made, or to be used for options short of war to intimidate or demonstrate strength, such as a blockade. The Taiwanese military is made up of 290,000 personnel: 130,000 in the Army; 45,000 in the Navy and Marine Corps; and 80,000 in the Air Force. Though the Army had previously been the dominant service, the shift to a defensive orientation has shifted importance to the Navy and Air Force to conduct most fighting away from population centers. Given the current budgetary and numerical superiority of the Chinese military, Taiwan has moved towards an asymmetric anti-access/area denial system to imperil China's ability to operate in the Taiwan Strait rather than try to match its strength. The RoCN, which was once the most neglected force, has become the most important to defeat an invasion fleet. Combating the enemy fleet and sinking transport ships would take out large amounts of the ground invasion force and permanently degrade amphibious capabilities. Surface ships primarily consist of guided missile destroyers and frigates, as well as four dozen small, fast missile boats to take out much larger Chinese surface and amphibious ships. The RoCAF is optimized for air superiority and was once the more formidable of the two countries, but current Chinese technology investments have made China much more able to contest airspace. Air bases are likely to come under attack from some 1,500 Chinese conventional ballistic missiles in range of the island, with about 50 direct hits needed to put each one out of action. Taiwan has equipment to keep exposed bases operating while under fire with runway repair systems and mobile aircraft arresting systems. There are two hardened air bases used by the RoCAF: Chiashan Air Base is in a hollowed-out mountain that can protect 100 fighters, and a second facility is buried in the outskirts of Taipei. The RoCAF operates a nationwide air defense network to engage targets anywhere over the mainland; some anti-aircraft missile batteries are also located in underground silos. The Army would only fight if Chinese forces manage to land and would engage in asymmetric warfare. With all these measures, Taiwan Minister of National Defense Yen Ming believes that the country would be able to hold off a Chinese invasion for at least one month.
While some reports have also indicated the presence of retired Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) personnel as advisers, there is no official cooperation between the ROC military and the JSDF. It is believed that any Japanese involvement in a cross-Straits conflict would be very much contingent upon the US response, due to the nearest US forces in the region being based in Japan and the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan.
Starting in 1975, Singapore has sent units from its military to train in the Republic of China due to the lack of space in the city-state under the Starlight training program (星光計畫). Singaporean forces training in Taiwan numbered roughly 3000 as of 2005. As of 2008, Singapore is the only foreign country to maintain permanent military bases on Taiwan.
Singapore being an island surrounded by larger countries found similarity with Taiwan; this might have contributed to its suitability as a training ground. However this became a point of conflict between Singapore and Beijing. Beijing demanded the withdrawal of troops and offered to provide alternative training ground on Hainan Island. Singapore refused the offer, rather stated it would withdraw its forces and not take part in any confrontation.
Collaboration between the ROC and US militaries began during World War II when both nations were members of the Allied forces, and continued through the Chinese Civil War when ROC forces were supplied primarily by the US until the final evacuation of ROC forces to Taiwan in 1949. Initially the U.S. expected the ROC government to fall and withdrew support until the outbreak of the Korean War when the U.S. 7th Fleet was ordered to the Taiwan Straits both to protect Taiwan from a PRC attack, and to stop ROC actions against the PRC. A formal US-ROC security pact was signed in 1954 establishing a formal alliance that lasted until US recognition of the PRC in 1979. During this period US military advisers were deployed to the ROC and joint exercises were common. The United States Taiwan Defense Command was established in the Philippines for reinforcement of Taiwan airspace. The US and ROC also collaborated on human and electronic intelligence operations directed against the PRC. ROC units also participated in the Korean War and the Vietnam War in non-combat capacities, primarily at the insistence of the United States which was concerned that the high-profile roles for ROC forces in these conflicts would lead to full scale PRC intervention.
High-level cooperation ended with the US recognition of the PRC in 1979, when all remaining US forces in Taiwan were withdrawn. The US continued to supply the ROC with arms sales per the Taiwan Relations Act, albeit in a diminished role. While ROCAF pilots continued to train at Luke AFB in Arizona, cooperation is still limited primarily to civilian contractors.
In recent years, the ROC military has again begun higher level cooperation with the U.S. Military after over two decades of relative isolation. Senior officers from the U.S. Pacific Command observed the annual Han Kuang military exercises in 2005. The US also upgraded its military liaison position in Taipei from a position held by retired officers hired on a contractual basis to one held by an active duty officer the same year. The US remains committed to protecting Taiwan from PRC attack, though not if Taiwan were to declare formal independence first – Washington has stated it will not back such a declaration with military support.
The Republic of China held their first military parade on 10 October 2007 for National Day celebrations since 1991. Previous parades were halted in an effort to ease the tension with the PRC. The parade was aimed at easing worries that the armed forces might be unprepared for a conflict with the PRC. The parade consisted of indigenous missiles, U.S. Patriot II and Avenger anti-missiles systems, U.S.-made F-16s, French-made Mirages and Taiwan-made IDF fighters.
In 2015, another parade was held to mark the 70th anniversary of the defeat of Japan in 1945 in northern Hsinchu county. The parade was long at two hours and consisted of indigenous missiles, Apache helicopters and awards for World War II veterans. 
The ROC military's rank structure was initially patterned after the Wehrmacht of the 1930s. The titles of each rank are the same in Chinese for all four military branches. The corresponding titles in English for each service are listed.
|Chinese title||Army / Marines / MP||Navy||Air Force|
|一級上將||Superior General 1st Grade||Superior Admiral 1st Grade||Superior General 1st Grade|
|二級上將||Superior General 2nd Grade||Superior Admiral 2nd Grade||Superior General 2nd Grade|
|中將||Standard General||Vice Admiral||Lieutenant General|
|少將||Inferior General||Rear Admiral||Major General|
|上校||Senior Field Officer||Captain||Colonel|
|中校||Standard Field Officer||Commander||Lieutenant Colonel|
|少校||Inferior Field Officer||Lieutenant Commander||Major|
|中尉||Standard Subaltern||Lieutenant Junior Grade||1st Lieutenant|
|少尉||Junior Subaltern||Ensign||2nd Lieutenant|
|Chinese title||Army / Marines / MP||Navy||Air Force|
|一等士官長||Sergeant Commander 1st Class||Master Chief Petty Officer||Chief Master Sergeant|
|二等士官長||Sergeant Commander 2nd Class||Senior Chief Petty Officer||Senior Master Sergeant|
|三等士官長||Sergeant Commander 3rd Class||Chief Petty Officer||Master Sergeant|
|上士||Superior Sergeant||Petty Officer 1st Class||Technical Sergeant|
|中士||Standard Sergeant||Petty Officer 2nd Class||Staff Sergeant|
|下士||Inferior Sergeant||Petty Officer 3rd Class||Senior Airman|
|上等兵||Superior Private||Leading Seaman||Airman First Class|
|一等兵||Private 1st Class||Seaman||Airman|
|二等兵||Private 2nd Class||Seaman Apprentice||Airman Basic|
The development of nuclear weapons by the ROC has been a contentious issue. The U.S., hoping to avoid escalating tensions in the Taiwan Strait, has continually opposed arming the ROC with nuclear weapons. Accordingly, the ROC, although not a member of the United Nations, adheres to the principles of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and has stated that it does not intend to produce nuclear weapons. Past nuclear research by the ROC makes it a 'threshold' nuclear state.
In 1967, a nuclear weapons program began under the auspices of the Institute of Nuclear Energy Research (INER) at the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology. The ROC was able to acquire nuclear technology from abroad (including a research reactor from Canada and low-grade plutonium from the United States) allegedly for a civilian energy system, but in actuality to develop fuel for nuclear weapons.
After the International Atomic Energy Agency found evidence of the ROC's efforts to produce weapons-grade plutonium, Taipei agreed in September 1976 under U.S. pressure to dismantle its nuclear weapons program. Though the nuclear reactor was soon shut down and the plutonium mostly returned to the U.S.
A secret program was revealed when Colonel Chang Hsien-yi, deputy director of nuclear research at INER who was secretly working for the CIA, defected to the U.S. in December 1987 and produced a cache of incriminating documents. General Hau Pei-tsun claimed that scientists in Taiwan had already produced a controlled nuclear reaction. Under pressure from the U.S., the program was halted.
During the 1995–1996 Taiwan Strait crisis, ROC President Lee Teng-hui proposed to reactivate the program, but was forced to back down a few days later after drawing intense criticism from the U.S. government.
|Taiwan Defense Budget|
|Year||Nominal||Percentage of GDP|
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