Pentagon Ordered to Better Track Threats to Taiwan

Pentagon Ordered to Better Track Threats to Taiwan

Several members of Congress have added language to the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act aimed at better preparing the Pentagon to assess and confront Chinese military expansion and its implications for potential threats to Taiwan.

The language, incorporated into the House Armed Services Committee’s passed version of the defense bill, asks the Defense Department to better assess anti-access/area-denial threats in the Asia-Pacific region, submit a report on the cross-strait balance of forces between China and Taiwan, and better estimate China’s fast-growing Naval military power.

Proposed by Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Virginia, chairman of the HASC Seapower and Projection Forces subcommittee and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii, the new language asks the Pentagon to add additional detail regarding Chinese Naval capability to its annual report to Congress on Chinese military capability.

China’s stance on reunification with Taiwan and increasing assertiveness regarding territorial disputes in the East China Sea and South China Sea have commanded interest from Pentagon officials and concerned lawmakers for quite some time.

Perhaps with this in mind, the Congressional amendment also asks the Defense Department to submit a special report on the cross-strait balance of forces between China and Taiwan, citing a specific growing threat to Taiwan from the rapidly modernizing Chinese military.

Along these lines, a recently released Pentagon report on China specifically cites the Chinese threat to Taiwan in light of Chinas stepped-up Naval modernization and development of long-range anti-ship cruise missiles.

“They (China) are preparing for potential conflict in the Taiwan strait, which includes deterring or defeating third party intervention. That remains the focus and primary driver of much of China’s military investment,” a senior Defense official said following the release of the Pentagon report on China in June.

China’s deployment of short-range ballistic missiles across from Taiwan has continued to grow substantially over the past year, he added. China now has more than 1,000 short range missiles deployed across from Taiwan, the senior official said.

“We highlight and note in this report that those deployments continue. Not only do we see and view missile moving into those areas but they are upgrading and improving the missiles that were there,” he said. “Our policy on Taiwan is clear and consistent — we continue to remain committed to support and provide defense articles and services to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability.”

Nevertheless, the new Congressional language asks the Pentagon to go further and seek outside evaluations of the capabilities of potential adversaries in the Asia-Pacific region, such as China, with a particular mind to A2/AD threats. The Anti-Access/Area Denial term is Pentagon language used to describe the technological advances of potential adversaries in areas such as sensors, long-range guided ballistic missiles, UAS and unmanned systems.

China’s defense spending continues to grow, jumping an average of 9.4 percent per year between 2004 and 2013, according to the report. In March of 2013, China announced an annual military budget of $119.5 billion, a 5.7 percent increase.

Overall, the report details a comprehensive Chinese military modernization strategy which spans a wide range of areas including investments in advanced medium range conventional ballistic missiles, integrated air defenses, long range land attack and anti-ship cruise missile, counter-space weapons and offensive cyber capabilities.

The report also details Chinese investments in advanced aircraft, submarines and surface combatants including aircraft carriers.
The first long-range deployment of China’s lone aircraft carrier, the LIAONING, marked a significant milestone in Chinese military development and modernization during this past year, the report states.

The carrier, which entered service in September 2012, conducted operations in the East China Sea and South China Sea in November of last year, according to the report. The report also specifies that a land-based Chinese fighter jet, the J-15, successfully flew from the deck of the LIAONING in September of last year.

The Congressional language also requires the Secretary of Defense to submit a report to Congress with a 10-year outlook for munitions that will be necessary to achieve U.S. security objectives in the Asia-Pacific region.

Also, the amendment asks for the Pentagon to maintain and strengthen existing security alliances and cooperation with Japan and South Korea. Along these lines, the Congressional language also asks Secretary Hagel to submit an assessment that looks for new opportunities to collaborate with Japan and South Korea on missile defense and look for new technologies to improve short-range missile, rocket and artillery defenses.

Perhaps with a mind to the value of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, or ISR and what’s referred to as the tyranny of distance or vast geographical expanse of the Pacific, the new Congressional amendment also directs the Secretary of Defense to look into the potential benefits of forming an unmanned systems office.

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Congress needs to cancel sequestration and explain how the New Start treaty with Russia serves any purpose in face of the Chinese nuclear build-up against the United States. The unfortunate alliance of the tea party with President Obama created sequestration and is putting us at great peril. Most everything President Obama touched re National Security was wrong such as termination of the F-22, New Start, destroying all tactical USN nuclear cruise missiles, among others

I believe that the real threat to American interests lies with China and not with Russia, at least for the near term. China’s whole approach to air warfare seems to be vastly different from ours; to engage allied air support systems such as AWACS and tankers and the elimination of airbases thereby depriving allied air ‘sustainability.’ Chinese fighter tactics are to engage allied fighters using over the horizon sensors and missiles thereby dominating the air battle space while allied fighter abilities and tactics with existing radars and missiles seems to me to be to engage the enemy relatively in close.

unfortunate alliance…a touch overstated…the entire DC establishment hates the Tea Party, as a return to limited government with enumerated powers results in the establishment losing power.

my out of DC connections indicate that it is past time DC learns to live UNDER their means. growth of federal entitlements is the problem…taking from defense is the standard solution…DC needs to stop feeling guilty and pandering to the ‘give-me-a-handout’ class.

Our military has been cut back to the point that they almost spend less now than they did at the peak of the Cold War. Our military needs to learn to spend smarter, not more. And if the people in charge now can’t figure out how to do that, then we will find some people who can.

Time to lift the Military restriction on Japan. Japan has the technology and resources to build up a Military greater than what they had in WWII. The U.S can not continue to deploy and expend valuable resources and personnel like we have for the past 70yrs. We need to let Japan build a ground, air and navel force second to none in the region. Actually, I believe we are starting to see this happen, but not fast enough.

Well put Formula!, let me add that its time for Taiwan, ROK & Japan to settle their differences, & create a Northeast Asia alliance to counter the growing threat from the PLA(N), w/the US taking up their 6.

Dfens: Spot on!, if sequestration is allowed to its finish the Army will have 490K AD troops, w/40K less in the arng & 20K less in the usar. BUT DA will still have almost 200K civilian employee’s! That’s a ‘hollow force’!

Say need to not end sequestration like some want in these comments section here. But I agree we need to expand our Nuclear arsenal and expand our Navy not just ill named new carriers but new surface ships and alot more subs. Remember the sub won us the last pacific war essentially.

Mostly the troop levels will be cut because the very last thing the military would ever cut is the amount of money going to the big defense contractors. That money is even more sacred than welfare. Or to put it another way, the welfare for the rich always out prioritizes the welfare for the poor.

Earlier this year, an assistant SECDEF, asked to comment about the Obama administration’s “Pacific pivot” to refocus defense planning eastward, blurted out a truth universally and silently recognized in the Pentagon but which it is politically incorrect to actually admit in public.

To wit, she said, “Candidly, it can’t happen.”

For the simple reason that the Obama administration is not acquiring ships, subs and aircraft in sufficient numbers to actually allow it to happen. Unless and until that changes, the rest of the policy debate is just empty farcical nonsense.

I think you are right. The Russians don’t have the power to lead a severe war and are not willing to make a war against the west.

But who knows what they do when they get more isolated, and with all that trade embargos…

The Chinese, on the other hand, are very strong, having loads of money. They can buy technology everywhere.

I think only together with Russia, we can face the upcoming threads in the Pacific Region.

Beware of China!

The Russians don’t have the power to lead a severe war and are not willing to make a war against the west.

But who knows what they do when they get more isolated, and with all that trade embargos…

The Chinese, on the other hand, are very strong, having loads of money. They can buy technology everywhere.

I think only together with Russia, we can face the upcoming threads in the Pacific Region.

One of those “threats” to Taiwan is reunification. If Taiwan (and as I recall, the ethnic Taiwanese despise the mainland Chinese immigrants) is smart enough to cut a Hong Kong style business deal on their economy, maybe a German-style unifcation would occur and we’d lose all pretense for being there.

Unmanned is what we are going to be specializing in very soon.

Considering the People’s Republic is basically a money-oriented communist state, and money talks…reunification is not out of the picture.


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