House China Panel Calls for US to Surge Missiles, Troops to Taiwan

House China Panel Calls for US to Surge Missiles, Troops to Taiwan
Chairman Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) presides over the first hearing of the U.S. House Select Committee on Strategic Competition between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party, in Washington on Feb. 28, 2023. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
Andrew Thornebrooke

WASHINGTON—A congressional committee tasked with overseeing U.S.-China competition is recommending that the United States surge weapons to Taiwan and provide the island with military-to-military training to help prevent an invasion by China’s communist regime.

The Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) on May 24 approved a report including a tranche of 10 policy recommendations that it says will help deter the CCP from invading Taiwan, if adopted by Congress.

Select Committee Chair Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) said the results of a committee wargame last month demonstrated the urgent need to better fortify Taiwan against Chinese communist predation.

“80,000 [Chinese] troops on Taiwan. U.S. warplanes vaporized. Global trade frozen. At the Select Committee’s wargame, members saw the terrifying result of what happens when deterrence fails,” Gallagher said in a statement shortly after the vote.

“To ensure this scenario remains fictional, today Select Committee members voted to overwhelmingly adopt 10 policy recommendations that can pass in this Congress, which will surge hard power across the international dateline and strengthen deterrence in the Taiwan Strait.”

US Must Provide Missiles, Troops to Taiwan

The Select Committee report, titled “Ten for Taiwan,” includes 10 policy recommendations to strengthen U.S. efforts to deter a CCP invasion of Taiwan.
The CCP claims that Taiwan is part of its territory, though the regime has never actually controlled the island. CCP leadership has likewise vowed to unite Taiwan with the mainland, by force if necessary, and its frequent acts of military intimidation against the democratic island have drawn international condemnation.

The report most notably recommends sending U.S. troops to Taiwan to train local forces and implement wide-ranging mechanisms for defense coordination and cooperation between the two powers.

The United States has historically refrained from sending troops to Taiwan as part the Sino-American arrangement to avoid unilaterally seeking to promote or terminate Taiwan independence from China.

In 2021, however, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen acknowledged that there were a limited number of U.S. troops on the island to train Taiwanese forces.

Likewise, the FY23 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) called on the State Department to create or expand training programs for Taiwan’s defense.

The Select Committee report notes that U.S. training of Ukrainian troops since 2014 helped to prepare the eastern European nation for its ongoing defense against Russia’s attempted conquest. The lack of similar arrangements for Taiwan, it says, “severely limits’ the combat effectiveness of the United States and Taiwan in the Indo-Pacific.

As such, the Select Committee recommends that Congress move to vastly expand the NDAA’s mandate to create training programs for the Taiwanese military, as well as to integrate military planning across both nations’ forces.

“This expanded training should build towards shared tactics, techniques, and procedures, as well as improved communications and data sharing,” the document says.

“A combined planning group would improve the ability of the United States to understand Taiwan’s defense needs and build familiarity between the two militaries. Standing up this type of liaison group prior to any crisis would allow U.S. and Taiwanese planners to build trust and develop procedures for working together.”

The report also recommends that Congress move to streamline the process for approving and delivering extant weapons systems to Taiwan, given the fact that some $14-19 billion in missiles and other weapons bought by Taiwan in 2019 have yet to be delivered.

Gallagher described the backlog as an ‘embarrassment,’ and said it would need to be cleared as quickly as possible to prevent a global conflict.

“If we want to have a hope of stopping World War III, we need to arm Taiwan to the teeth right now,” Gallagher said.

Proposals Criticized for Overemphasizing Military Issues

Rep. Andy Kim (D-N.J.) was the sole member of the bipartisan Select Committee to vote against passing the 10 policy recommendations.

The report was solid in its recommendations, Kim said, but failed to adequately take into account the committee’s wide-ranging mandate to consider all aspects of the U.S.-China competition and how that competition affects Taiwan.

“I support a number of the issues and recommendations in this report but I don’t think it takes into account the kind of comprehensive approach we can be doing on this front,” Kim said.

“There’s so much more to unpack, and presenting something that has nine out of ten of the recommendations being security focused and not diving in deeper… gives the impression that these are sort of the top recommendations and doesn’t go into enough of what we can be doing in terms of economic deterrence, diplomatic deterrence, and other capacities that we know are so important in building that global coalition [to defend Taiwan].”

To that end, both Kim and Gallagher said that they would have liked to have more meaningful discussions with the State Department on how to best leverage diplomatic and economic power to defend Taiwan.

The State Department refused invitations by the Select Committee to contribute its expertise to the policy proposals, however, Gallagher said.

Still, Kim expressed some optimism for the Select Committee, and said that he hoped the bipartisan group would continue to “knit together a strategic approach” to the China challenge, and look beyond strictly security-focused policy recommendations.

In that way, Kim’s comments echoed similar sentiments made earlier in the year by former acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller, who said the United States needed to do much more to leverage the non-military elements of national power to deter a conflict with China.

“I believe with the Chinese threat, the way to approach that is a very subtle and indirect approach … irregular warfare,” Miller said at an April 4 talk with the Cato Institute, a Libertarian think tank.

“Let’s go ahead and use a little more … diplomacy, information, and economics, and let’s go ahead and back off on the military for a little while, because we have time. If we’re wrong, we can spin things up.”

Andrew Thornebrooke is a national security correspondent for The Epoch Times covering China-related issues with a focus on defense, military affairs, and national security. He holds a master's in military history from Norwich University.
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