Fri, Oct 27, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Defense Committee convener says the budget is skewed

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

An opposition lawmaker yesterday expressed concern over the Ministry of National Defense' budget for next year, saying that it was skewed in favor of the air force.

"Of course, we need to shore-up our defense capability. Thus it makes sense to buy more weapons," Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁芳) said at the legislature's National Defense Committee.

Lin is one of the conveners of the committee.

"However, I am concerned that -- in terms of its budget -- the military seems focused solely on air defense for next year," he said.

Lin's comments added weight to media reports that the military plans to purchase a number of F-16C/D fighters and 30 attack helicopters, including MH-60M Blackhawks and AH-1Ws, from the US.

While the Ministry of National Defense has not confirmed the purchases, reports on the subject appeared in Defense News this summer.

Lin also criticized the military's warfare department.

"During previous major military exercises, all the [warfare department] did was organize seminar after seminar on simulations and damage estimates for our own forces. If a real combat situation arises, I am concerned that the warfare department will not be able to cope," Lin said.

In response, a high-ranking military general who wished to remain anonymous said that Lin's concerns were groundless as the military's simulations had been carefully and accurately carried out.

"We cannot expect everyone to have actual combat experience since there has been no war for decades," he said. "You have to believe that soldiers take military exercises very seriously. We always treat exercises as though they are real combat situations. There is no question about that."

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