Sun, May 12, 2019 - Page 6 News List

Aligning with the US over defense

By Lu Li-shih 呂禮詩

There were news reports last month about an ROC Navy captain, who, serving as the head of the Joint Fleet Operation Center, was transferred after miscalculating the number of US vessels when the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS McCampbell and fleet replenishment oiler USNS Walter S. Diehl sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Jan. 24.

The reports said that the operation platform at the time was providing accurate information, which the captain did not accept.

The importance of having the operation platform accurately detecting and intercepting radar transmissions can never be emphasized enough.

Discussions among top-level officials and experts about the passage of US vessels through the Taiwan Strait underline a lack of understanding of AIS functions, joint ISR operations and combat capabilities with regard to monitoring electromagnetic signals. Apparently, the nation’s armed forces lack experience conducting joint military drills with the US and Japan. Relying on the small number of military officials sent to the US for training is unlikely to create a ripple effect that will improve combat capabilities. In the end, Taiwan is working on its own.

Given the nation’s unfamiliarity with the armed forces of the US, it will be impossible to build a common operating picture due to the lack of identification methods and communication channels even if the US were to come to Taiwan’s aid in a time of war. If Taiwan is unable to perform combat operations alongside the US, there will be no synergy.

In speeches and at meetings, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) often speaks about Taiwan as contributing to regional security and stability, with the nation’s army standing on the frontline protecting regional security. Given this situation, the government should make the best use of the circumstances. As the US is friendly toward Taiwan and there are constant arms sales, Taiwan should take the next step and ask the US to hold joint military exercises with Taiwan, so the nation’s military can enhance its combat capabilities, gain experience and learn military strategies. Then it would be more capable of bearing the heavy responsibility of standing on the frontline.

Lu Li-shih is a former instructor at the ROC Naval Academy and former captain of the ROCS Hsin Chiang.

Translated by Chang Ho-ming

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