Defense ministry mulling air defense missile command change

The Ministry of National Defense confirmed Monday that it may reorganize the air defense missile command, which is currently under the ministry’s jurisdiction, but said it would not be related to a stalled program to cut the size of the military.

The ministry was responding to a report in the Chinese-language United Evening News on Monday saying that the Air Defense Missile Command will be put under the Air Force Command in March, the first reorganization of the military since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) took office in May 2016.

The air defense missile command was formed in 2012 under a directive issued by then Defense Minister Kao Hua-chu (高華柱), according to the report.

Missiles under the command’s authority include the locally developed Tien Kung-series missiles and Hsiung Feng IIE (HF-2E) cruise missiles, as well as the Hawk and Patriot PAC-3 missiles purchased from the United States, the report said.

The report also said the defense ministry may once again push for adoption of the “Yong Ku” (勇固) program to downsize the military, which has been stalled in the Legislature for months.

That’s because the missile command shift is said to be part of the program to cut military personnel to between 170,000 and 190,000 from the current 215,000.

Asked to confirm the report, the defense ministry confirmed that it was considering reorganizing the air defense missile command because it might help the military in combat situations and said it would make a decision based on factors such as military threats and combat needs.

But the ministry stressed it had nothing to do with the “Yong Ku” program.

Amid the strained relations across the Taiwan Strait, China’s military aircraft were recently found to flow deliberately close to Taiwan’s air space.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel

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