Thu, Mar 29, 2012 - Page 8 News List

Can Taiwan build a submarine?

By Wang Jyh-perng 王志鵬

Is Taiwan dependent on assistance from abroad if it wants to build its own submarines? Not necessarily. Iran and North Korea offer a case in point. In December 2007, Iran completed the Ghadir-class midget submarine, followed by a second-generation 500-tonne Nahang-class submarine in August 2010, despite the imposition of a comprehensive arms embargo.

When the 1,500-tonne South Korean corvette-class Cheonan was sunk near Baengnyeong Island in the Yellow Sea on March 26, 2010, by what is claimed to have been a CHT-O2D torpedo from a North Korean-made 130 tonne Yono-class submarine, many were surprised by the “success” of asymmetrical warfare.

One has to be very careful when individuals in the military, especially those in senior policymaking positions, employ the cunning and underhandedness usually associated with politicians.

Senior brass make the decisions, staff officers provide advice and support and are responsible for ensuring the necessary conditions are in place to ensure those decisions can be executed. High ranking officers make sure they are implemented.

There have been few studies over the past 10 years or so into whether decisions made by senior policymakers have resulted in delays or errors in national defense matters. However, if high-ranking officers are unable to make decisions or lack the courage to take responsibility for them, how then are they different to staff officers? We might just as well give up and disarm.

Wang Jyh-perng is an associate research fellow at the Association for Managing Defense and Strategies.

Translated by Paul Cooper

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