• Directory of Taiwan

Taiwan sees first female combat general

Taiwan sees first female combat general

Major-general Chai Hui-jen was promoted to become the first female combat general in the military history of the Republic of China yesterday.

As a senior member of staff at the Ministry of National Defense's Office of Information and Telecommunication, Chai is a highly trained expert in computer programming and information technology.

Chai's non-military academic route is highly unique for someone with such a high military rank.

Chai began her academic career at the Taipei First Girl's High School, one of the most prestigious schools on the island. She went on to obtain a bachelor degree in horticulture from National Taiwan University.

Upon her graduation from NTU, Chai entered the National Defense Medical Center to study for a master's degree in biochemistry. Chai continued her studies at the Syracuse University in New York State where she earned a doctorate in computer science.

While serving as a supervisor at the Information System Office of the Tri-Service General Hospital, Chai received an EMBA from the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology.

Chai also held various military posts such as an assistant professor at the NDMC, director of Information Technology at the MND, deputy-director of technology service center at the National Information Security Council, and a number of other appointments at the MND.

To preempt computer warfare from China, the MND has been advancing the country's cyber security program to protect the island from any attacks via the Internet infrastructure.

The MND noted that in order to maintain the country's favorable position, the army, navy, and air force have strengthened their ability to counter cyber attacks. As an expert on computer viruses, Chai has made significant contributions in this area.

For example, during the 2000 election when the DPP came to power, several government-sponsored Web sites were attacked and paralyzed by Chinese computer hackers. Chai, acting as spokesperson for the MND, assured the public that military Web sites were amply protected against such forms of aggression.

Although Chai was deemed qualified for a promotion last year, she was passed over due to limited available positions.

During the decoration ceremony yesterday afternoon, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) personally congratulated Chai and had a lengthy exchange with the new general.

Chen noted that the Chai's promotion was an indication of the military's recognition of the capability of female soldiers. He went on to say that Chai's advancement ascertains the military's adherence to gender equality and proves that anyone with the proper qualifications and experience can rise in the chain of command.