The Republic of China (ROC) Armed Forces consist of the army, navy, 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. It was originally the National Revolutionary Army before being renamed as the Republic of China Armed Forces in 1947 due to the implementation of the Constitution.
The ROC military is styled after Western military systems, mostly the US military. Internally, it has a very strong 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.
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 defence of the islands of Taiwan, Penghu, Quemoy and Matsu against a possible military invasion by the People's Liberation Army of the PRC, which is seen as the predominant threat to the ROC in the ongoing dispute over the political status of Taiwan.
The first line of defence against invasion by the PRC is the ROC's own armed forces. Current ROC military doctrine is to hold out against an invasion or blockade until the United States military responds. There is, however, no guarantee in the Taiwan Relations Act or any other treaty that the US will defend Taiwan, even in the event of invasion. The joint declaration on security between the US and Japan signed in 1996 may imply that Japan would be involved in any response. However, Japan has refused to stipulate whether the "area surrounding Japan" mentioned in the pact includes Taiwan, and the precise purpose of the pact is unclear. The Australia, New Zealand, US Security Treaty (ANZUS Treaty) may mean that other US allies, such as Australia, could theoretically be involved. The US, United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Canada, Chile and Peru conduct maritime exercises in the Pacific Ocean every two years called RIMPAC. They are conducted to promote stability and to be able to respond in case of an armed conflict in the region, which includes an invasion of Taiwan by the PRC.
A significant amount of military hardware has been bought from the US, and, as of 2009, continues to be legally guaranteed by the Taiwan Relations Act. In the past, France and the Netherlands have also sold military weapons and hardware to the ROC, but they almost entirely stopped in the 1990s under pressure of the PRC.
|Military branches||:||Army, Navy (includes Marine Corps), Air Force, Coast Guard Administration, Armed Forces Reserve Command, Combined Service Forces Command, Armed Forces Police Command|
|Military service age and obligation||:||19-35 years of age for male compulsory military service; service obligation - 2 years; women may enlist; women in Air Force service are restricted to non-combat roles; reserve obligation to age 30 (Army); the Ministry of Defence is in the process of implementing a voluntary enlistment system over the period 2010-2015, although non-volunteers will still be required to perform alternative service or go through 4 months of military training (2010)|
|Manpower available for military service||:||males age 16-49: 6,183,567
females age 16-49: 6,006,676 (2010 est.)
|Manpower fit for military service
||:||males age 16-49: 5,074,173
females age 16-49: 4,951,088 (2010 est.)
|Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually||:||male: 166,190
female: 155,306 (2010 est.)
|Military expenditures||:||2.2% of GDP; note - in 2009, the Taiwanese president pledged to maintain defence spending at 3.0% or higher; projected 2.73% for 2011 (2009)|