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Taiwan reorganising its army corps and defence commands into ‘theatres of operation'

The Republic of China Army (RoCA) is reorganising its three army corps and two defence commands into five main “theatres of operation” in numeric order, Minister of National Defense Chiu Kuo-cheng confirmed on 10 May, noting that the changes will take effect from 1 January 2022.

According to the Ministry of National Defense (MND) in Taipei, the Penghu Defense Command will be renamed the ‘First Theatre of Operation’. The Penghu Islands, located about 52 km off Taiwan’s coast, include mechanised infantry and artillery battalions.

The Hua Tung Defense Command will be known as the ‘Second Theatre of Operation’, with responsibility for the east of Taiwan.

The 6th Army Corps, responsible for the defence of the northern part of the island, will be renamed ‘Third Theatre of Operation’. The 8th Army Corps in southern Taiwan will be the ‘Fourth Theatre of Operation’, while the 10th Army Corps, in charge of defending parts of the west and most of the centre of the island, will be the ‘Fifth Theatre of Operation’.

The goal of reorganisation is to facilitate joint operations and enhance interoperability between the RoCA, the RoC Navy, and RoC Air Force in the event of a conflict. In the past, the term “theatre of operation” had sometimes been applied to these formations during exercises, but the reorganisation will formally place them under such a command structure.

Chiu told Taiwanese media that such ‘theatres of operation’ would be in a better position to co-ordinate and conduct joint operations. However, he did not confirm whether an air force or navy commander could assume the role of a theatre commander.

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