In order to increase our national defense combat strength, inject new vigor into our armed forces, ensure its vitality, and also to maintain national security, the ROC government, in 1952, saw the necessity of establishing a cabinet-level organization. In order to take care of the veterans who have contributed to the country and spent half of their life defending the country, after they are discharged from the active service, “Vocational Assistance Commission for Retired Servicemen”(VACRS) was established on November 1, 1954. In 1995, the VACRS was renamed to the Veterans Affairs Commission (VAC), In 2013, the VAC "s name was changed to the Veterans Affairs Council (VAC) ,and is assigned with responsibilities to assist in education assistance, employment assistance, medical care, home care and other general services. To remember these soldiers with gratitude, the government specially awarded these veterans the title of “Honorable Citizens” (Veterans).
Statute-wise, VAC’s services are based on the “ROC Veterans Assistance Act”, which was signed into effect by the president, and therein came the “Enforcement Rules of The ROC Veterans Assistance Act”, “Regulations on Employment Arrangement of Veterans”, “Regulations on Medical Care for Veterans”, “Regulations on Home-care Arrangement of Veterans”, “Implementation Regulations on Veterans Education Assistance”, and other operational and administrative regulations.
Throughout the various stages of initial planning and founding under the Taiwan governor, and, later, President, Yen Chia-kan; the extensive program development by the 2nd minister, and later President Chiang Ching-kuo; continued by the relentless contributions of the successive ministers: Chao Tsu-yu, Cheng Wei-yuan, Chang Kuo-ying, Hsu Li-nung, Chou Shih-pin, Yang Ting-yun, Lee Cheng-lin, Yang Te-Chih, Teng Tzu-lin, Kao Hua-chu, Hu Chen-pu, and the current minister Kao Hua-chu, the VAC has grown from its humble beginnings into a comprehensive service organization in charge of the veterans affairs of the nation.
The importance of veteran assistance in the government’s overall policy, can be clearly seen from the past presidents’ consistent care and attention to veterans of our country.
Missions and Functions
A. Insuring the Vitality of the Armed Forces
The veterans assistance system was designed to facilitate the transition of military personnel from the armed forces to civilian life. Thanks to the system, the officers and men on active duty have been inspired to remain in the armed forces and serve the country, with the confidence that they will have a decent life after retirement.
In the meantime, morale is maintained, and the youth of the country are encouraged to join the military for longer terms, so as to insure the quality of our armed forces and maintain national security.
B. Securing Social Stability and Prosperity
Under its comprehensive system, VAC provides timely care and efficient service for the veterans. Using its assistance channels and measures to solve social problems, VAC encourages the veterans living throughout the country to fully develop their industrious spirit and their loyalty to the nation; therefore, the veterans can favorably influence the creation of a prosperous and stable society.
C. Maximizing Human Resources
At present, the veterans who are being discharged from the armed forces are between the ages of 40 and 50. They have a wide range of experiences and are still physically strong enough for gainful employment.
VAC provides veterans with short term vocational and technical trainings to enhance job opportunities, and, regularly, VAC sponsors or cooperates with relevant agencies to conduct various educational programs to upgrade the quality of veterans manpower.
Consequently, VAC not only fulfills the objective of turning consumption into production, but also fully utilizes the nation’s human resources.
D. Supporting National Reconstruction
Through the assistance of VAC, veterans have vigorously participated in various national reconstruction projects and have made important contributions to the country. For example, in the early years, veterans employed by VAC’s then Ret-Ser Engineering Agency (RSEA) constructed the East-West Cross Island Highway and Tseng Wen Reservoir--two very large construction projects.
Veterans subsequently took part in the construction of all Ten Major National Projects, as well as the Twelve Major National Projects ever since the early 1970s, and have made every effort to complete all projects on time and with high quality.
E. Developing Substantive Diplomacy
Through frequent contacts with foreign veterans associations, VAC has promoted mutual understanding and cooperation, jointly developed international relations, and conducted substantive diplomacy. After many years of continuous efforts, VAC has set up friendly and cooperative relations with nearly 100 foreign veterans organizations in more than 70 countries.
In the meantime, VAC has set up ROC Veterans Associations in various areas of the world, which actively join with overseas Chinese communities to maintain close relations with the host governments by sponsoring various activities on auspicious festivities.