ROC’s defence budget for the period 2000-2006 faced limitations to the applications of overall national resources and financial integrity and therefore was kept law. This tendency was altered in 2007, when public support and government policy guidance enabled it to gradually exceed 300 billion ROC dollars. This was further reinforced in 2009. A combination of governmental financial considerations and policies of economic stimulus resulted in a defence budget of 318.6 billion ROC dollars. Additionally, there is a political commitment from the ROC’s government that the national defence budget in the future will gradually reach 3% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product). However, overall military requirements will be the outmost regulator as possible threats and potential force developments schedules could result in a more effective and diversified allocation of resources.
ROC’s Defence budget is allocated into three categories: "personal maintenance", "operational maintenance" and "military investments". Personal maintenance includes salaries, retirement funds, and subsidies for military dependants etc. Operational maintenance includes primary combat equipment maintenance, operational training, logistic preparation and other war fighting capability sustainment procedures. Military investments incorporate procurements, research and development of defensive weapons and military projects. For 2009 from the 318.6 billion ROC dollars defence budget, personnel maintenance accounted for 125.7 billion, operational maintenance accounted for 95.9, whereas 90.5 billion where allocated to investments.
Despite the fact that defence budget will be gradually increase and reach 3% of GDP, ROC’s authorities will be try to carefully restructure the funds allocated in every category in order to create feasible, appropriate and practical budgets. Future personal maintenance funds will continue to focus on implementing “voluntarism”, the nation’s major military system. The difference between conscription and voluntarism is that troops are conscripted by obligation in conscription whilst they are enlisted by volunteering in voluntarism. Operational maintenance will focus on enhancing equipment readiness, maintaining existing war fighting capabilities.
Military investments will be based on the core objective of enhancing the overall joint operation capabilities of the armed forces taking into consideration the maximization of resources and the ROC’s procurements dogma of “domestic procurement first, foreign procurement second”. This means that armament procurement will have an additional criterion, the development of domestic industrial capabilities through the award of defence procurements in local companies or through industrial cooperation and technology transfer initiatives.
Throughout the last years, ROC located a significant amount of funds in the development of armed forces. New technologically advanced weapons have been procured and the national defence capabilities have been enhanced. This modernisation will continue and it remains to see the results.
Epicos Newsletter Head Editor