Taiwan is to go ahead with a plan to create a cyberarmy that is to be the fourth branch of the armed forces, Minister of National Defense Feng Shih-kuan (馮世寬) said yesterday.
“This is the main difference in defense policy between the past government and this government. It is important to set up the cyberarmy as the fourth branch of the armed forces,” he told a meeting of the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee in Taipei.
“It is our responsibility to attain this goal,” he said.
In terms of military strategic planning, Feng said the cyberarmy would engage in asymmetric digital warfare and would be a deterrent against enemy forces.
In May last year, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) outlined the formation of a cyberarmy as the fourth branch of the armed forces in its Defense Policy Blue Paper.
The proposal called for the recruitment of cybersecurity experts and young computer professionals on a budget of NT$1 billion (US$30.7 million at today’s exchange rates), employing about 6,000 personnel, and to set up a “cyberarmy command headquarters” that would integrate the functions and resources from ministry-run “communications, electronics and information,” “military intelligence and surveillance,” “digital warfare command” and “communications development” offices.
In other news, Feng was asked about a retired Taiwanese military intelligence officer who went missing in China after being detained by Chinese authorities for questioning on Sunday last week.
Feng said he was not aware of the matter and could not give details.
According to a report in the Chinese-language Next Magazine, former Military Intelligence Bureau officer Teng Ping-chieh (鄧秉傑), 56, was detained by Chinese officials while on a group tour in China’s Jiangsi Province.
His Taiwanese companions on the tour had not heard from him since, the Next Magazine report said.
Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) officials yesterday said that they have been working on Teng’s case after being notified by his family and the Taiwanese travel agency that organized the tour.
The foundation has offered legal assistance, while trying to obtain more information from the Chinese government, it said.
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