Our History, Missions and Functions

  • Date:2016-06-28
  • Department:Department of Veterans Service and Assistance

I.    History

The government established the military discharge system in 1952 in order to promote personnel turnover in the military and maintain fighting strength. Seeking to ensure that veterans who have spent half their lives in the armed forces, and fighting for the country in battles against the warlords, the Japanese, and the Communists, can re-integrate into society and continue to contribute to the country under the government's care after they leave the armed forces, President Chiang Kai-shek established the Veterans Employment Council, Executive Yuan on November 1, 1954. The Council was in charge of planning employment assistance services and placement of veterans. The responsibilities of the Council eventually grew to encompass more than employment assistance, so it was renamed the Veterans Affairs Council, Executive Yuan (VAC) in 1966 to make its name better reflect its portfolio. The VAC is in charge of assisting veterans in seeking education, employment, medical care, home care, and other services. As a measure of gratitude to these warriors who have sacrificed and given so much for the country, the government confers upon these veterans the title of rongyu guomin or rongmin, meaning "honored citizens."

The government later began a key re-organization initiative in response to globalization and the need to improve national competitiveness. In accordance with the principles of merging organizations, lowering headcounts, and expanding portfolios, the VAC's organizational structure was adjusted and simplified and its responsibilities broadened. The VAC took over the Ministry of Defense's responsibility for distributing military pensions, meaning that it serves more people in more ways. The VAC dropped the Executive Yuan affiliation from its name on November 1, 2013, but maintained its name to show that its original spirit and mission lives on.

 The VAC operates on the legal basis of the ROC Veterans Assistance Act, signed and promulgated by the President. On the basis of that Act, numerous executive orders and administrative regulations were enacted, including the Enforcement Rules of the ROC Veterans Assistance Act, Regulations on Employment Arrangement of Veterans, Regulations on Medical Care for Veterans, VAC Regulations on Home-care Arrangement of Veterans, and Implementation Regulations on Veterans Schooling.

Ministers and Terms of the Veterans Affairs Council
Number Minister  Term
1 Mr. Yen Chia-kan    11/01/1954 – 04/24/1956
2 Mr. Chiang Ching-kuo    04/25/1956 – 06/30/1964
3 Mr. Chao Chu-yu    07/01/1964 – 06/07/1981
4 Mr. Cheng Wei-yuan    06/18/1981 – 04/28/1987
5 Mr. Chang Kuo-ying    04/29/1987 – 11/17/1987
6 Mr. Hsu Li-nung    11/18/1987 – 02/26/1993
7 Mr. Chou Shih-pin    02/27/1993 – 12/14/1994
8 Mr. Yang Ting-yun    12/15/1994 – 01/31/1999
9 Mr. Li Chen-lin    02/01/1999 – 05/19/2000
10 Mr. Yang Teh-chih    05/20/2000 – 02/05/2003
11 Mr. Cheng Tzu-lin    02/06/2003 – 05/19/2004
12 Mr. Kao Hua-chu   05/20/2004 – 02/08/2007
13 Mr. Hu Chen-pu   02/09/2007 – 05/19/2008
14 Mr. Kao Hua-chu   05/20/2008 – 09/09/2009
15 Mr. Tseng Chin-ling   09/10/2009 – 07/31/2013
16 Mr. Tung Hsiang-lung   08/01/2013 – 05/19/2016
17 Mr. Lee Hsiang-Jow   05/20/2016 –02/25/2018
18 Mr. Chiu Kuo-cheng   02/26/2018 –

When the VAC was established, its first Minister was Mr. Yen Chia-kan, who was also the governor of Taiwan Province at that time. Mr. Yen built the foundations for the organization; the late President Chiang Ching-kuo then took over as Minister, and established the systems and scale of operations that allowed the VAC to rapidly grow. His successors Mr. Chao Chu-yu, Mr. Cheng Wei-yuan, Mr. Chang Kuo-ying, Mr. Hsu Li-nung, Mr. Chou Shih-pin, Mr. Yang Ting-yun, Mr. Li Chen-lin, Mr. Yang Teh-chih, Mr. Cheng Tzu-lin, Mr. Kao Hua-chu, Mr. Hu Chen-pu, Mr. Kao Hua-chu, Mr. Tseng Chin-ling, Mr. Tung Hsiang-lung, and current Minister Mr. Lee Hsiang-Jow have continued the work with their best efforts to bring the VAC to new heights.

In 1954, the late President Chiang Kai-shek said, "Care for veterans is not a matter of laws or a matter of responsibility, it is a matter of conscience and morals." When the late President Chiang Ching-kuo was the Minister of the VAC, the late President Chiang Kai-shek repeatedly told him, "You must take care of veterans like you take care of your family!"

The late President Chiang Ching-Kuo not only treated the assistance of veterans as a matter that was crucial to the prosperity of the country, he also devoted himself to taking care of veterans down to every detail, leaving behind many stories and achievements that still touch the hearts of everyone.

When he was in office, former President Lee Teng-hui required that all related government agencies improve their services and assistance to veterans. He also publicly stated, "From here on, the government must continue its work in doing all that it can to take care of veterans and make their lives better."

Former President Chen Shui-bian said on many occasions, "We need to improve the care we provide to veterans and their families. We need to achieve five goals for a stable environment: the troops need to be safe, soldiers need to have stable homes, soldiers' families need to have faith in their safety, veterans need to be cared for, and the country must be secure." Veterans must be able to lead dignified and confident lives, and they must be cared for by the country.

On October 29, 2011, former President Ma Ying-jeou attended the festivities celebrating the 57th anniversary of the VAC's establishment and the 33rd annual Veteran's Day. In his remarks, former President Ma emphasized the contribution that veterans made to Taiwan. He also said that veterans have spent much of their lives devoted to the country, first helping return Taiwan from Japanese rule, then protecting, developing, and guarding Taiwan. Former President Ma also pointed out that while veterans devoted the first part of their lives to the country, they still have a major role to play in the next chapter of their lives. He hoped that the veterans will continue to look out for Taiwan and continue their spirit of sacrifice and contribution for the country.

All former Presidents have been united in their care and concern for the veterans and the work of assisting veterans. This shows the importance of veterans affairs in the overall work of the government.

 
II.    Mission and Responsibilities

The VAC was established with a view to honor and reward those who have fought for the country. It shoulders the emotional and moral responsibility to serve and care for the Veterans who contributed to the country. Its main areas of competence are assisting veterans with obtaining education and employment, career training, medical care and health services, home care, and other services. The VAC allows soldiers, who gave the best years of their lives to the country, to feel the care that the country can offer in return.

With the re-organization of the government, the VAC took over the Ministry of Defense's responsibilities of assisting and caring for veterans living in single veterans' dormitories, and formulating and distributing budgets for military pensions. In coordination with the government's policy to transition to an all-volunteer army, the VAC is also planning to incorporate volunteer soldiers who have served at least 4 years but less than 10 years at discharge into its services. The VAC's responsibilities are divided by level and by category. Special emphasis is placed on helping veterans obtain education and employment, and other responsibilities include medical care, home care, and other services. The aim is to allow Veterans to formulate a comprehensive career plan from the time of joining the armed forces to after their discharge, so that they can have stable families and good livings. As a solid foundation and support for the transition to an all-volunteer army, the VAC's responsibilities and functions are growing ever more important as it expands the scope and the number of people that it serves.

In the over 50 years since its founding, not only has the VAC established a comprehensive system for assisting veterans to obtain education, employment, medical care, home care, and other services. Furthermore, it has also had the following positive effects for national development:

  1. A force of support for national defense
    The Ministry of Defense and the VAC work at the two ends of the same process. The veterans assistance system provides supporting measures to help young and middle-aged veterans obtain education and employment, allowing them to work in society. This maintains the turnover of military personnel and the availability of positions, keeping channels of promotion clear and attracting outstanding young people to join the armed forces. This effectively improves the strength of the national defense.
     
  2. A force for social stability
    Veterans who are discharged for the military are properly cared for thanks to the help provided by the veterans assistance system, promoting overall social stability.
     
  3. A force for helping economic development
    Young and middle-aged veterans are given proactive and effective job training by the VAC and assisted as they seek education and employment. With their military skills, administrative and management experience, and hardworking, responsible, and rule-abiding attitudes, veterans are well-equipped to work in various positions in society, providing good human resources and promoting the country's economic development.
     
  4. A force for effectual diplomacy
    After years of effort, the VAC has established cooperative relations with 74 veterans' organizations around the world. On November 7, 1990, it officially joined the World Veterans Federation as the Republic of China Veterans Affairs Council. It is the 61st member of the Federation. 
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  • Update:2018-03-14
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