US intelligence is following suit on US President Barack Obama’s “pivot” to Asia with the creation of a new clandestine intelligence service that is set to put greater emphasis on Asia — and China in particular.
Following a plan approved last week by US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, the new Defense Clandestine Service will cement cooperation between existing case officers from the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) already operating outside war zones and those from the CIA, the New York Times reported on Tuesday.
The new service, which is being touted as a “realignment” of human intelligence efforts, will grow “from several hundred to several more hundred” agents in the coming years as personnel and funding are redirected from current assignments, predominantly Iraq and Afghanistan, to Asia.
Its agents will be called upon to increase collection on “national intelligence” on a range of issues, from counterproliferation to new and emerging threats, reports said. The plan calls for military intelligence to focus beyond tactical theaters of operations, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, and pay more attention to “ascendant powers,” which several experts interpret as meaning China, a move that would reflect a similar realignment of military forces under Obama’s “pivot.”
A senior Pentagon official told reporters in Washington on Monday that the new service would also ensure that intelligence officers “are in the right locations to pursue those requirements.”
The announcement came one week after Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, a former head of the US Joint Special Operations Command, was picked to head the DIA, which could presage a more prominent role for special forces in clandestine operations abroad.
Like CIA agents, DIA officers traditionally work out of US embassies and missions worldwide, either as declared military attaches or undercover. A number of DIA agents are known to operate in Taiwan.
Taiwan’s geographical proximity to China, as well as its close cultural and business ties with the emerging power, have proven attractive and convenient to US operatives over the years, as has the quality of the intelligence on China collected by Taiwan’s civilian and military intelligence agencies.
In addition to the DIA, the CIA and the US Department of Homeland Security, the ultra-secretive National Security Agency (NSA) has also been cooperating with Taiwan’s National Security Bureau in sharing communications intercepts from China. The NSA is also known to have helped Taiwan build a signals intelligence base on Yangmingshan (陽明山) in Taipei.
Although US officials have refused to comment on the specific targets of the new agency or where its agents will operate, the long history of cooperation between Taiwan and the US on intelligence about China suggests that some portion of the Defense Clandestine Service could eventually operate out of Taiwan.
A survey of young Taiwanese showed that only 36.5 percent of men and 19.6 percent of women believe marriage is important, a trend that academics say is key to the nation’s low birthrate. Yang Wen-shan (楊文山), an adjunct research fellow at Academia Sinica’s Institute of Sociology, yesterday announced the 12th round of results from a longitudinal survey of attitudes among young Taiwanese toward markers of adulthood. While few of the respondents, who were aged 28 to 32 when surveyed in 2017, found marriage to be important, 95.8 percent believed that being responsible for oneself should take precedence, data showed. Economic independence came in
SHRINKING FEMALE POPULATION: Last year, 107.74 boys were born for every 100 girls in Taiwan, which is a greater gender imbalance than in Japan and South Korea The Ministry of the Interior recorded 9,601 births in January, the first time the nation has produced fewer than 10,000 newborns in a single month, while different indicators showed that Taiwan might also be facing a population with increasingly fewer births, women and marriages. It comes after the ministry reported a record low 165,249 births last year, which was lower than the 173,156 deaths recorded last year. The nation experienced negative population growth for the first time last year, ministry data found. The number of births in January also dropped from a year earlier, when there were 12,510 births. In February, there were
The Hualien District Prosecutors’ Office has listed six people as suspects in a judicial investigation into a fatal train crash on Friday last week. Fifty people were killed and more than 200 were injured when the Taroko Express No. 408 train slammed into a crane truck that had slid onto the tracks near the entrance of Cingshuei Tunnel (清水隧道) in Hualien’s Sioulin Township (秀林). The office also summoned six officials at the Taiwan Railways Administration’s (TRA) Hualien Engineering Section for questioning about alleged illegal business operations and unsafe work conditions by Yi Hsiang Industry Co and Tung Hsin Construction Co, the two
SUPPORTING DEMOCRACY IN ASIA: Twitter aims to ‘play a unique role in enabling the public conversation around important social movements,’ the US company said Twitter has thrown its support behind the “Milk Tea Alliance” of democracy movements in Taiwan, Hong Kong and elsewhere in Asia, defying China at a time when Beijing is punishing Western companies for commenting on what it considers internal matters. The social media company yesterday prominently displayed flags of Taiwan, Hong Kong, Myanmar and Thailand while unveiling an emoji to support democracy advocates in places that have in the past few years seen historic protests and share a love for the beverage. The emoji will automatically show up when users post the #MilkTeaAlliance hashtag, which was posted been 11 million times