Study urges US-Taiwan intelligence cooperation

By William Lowther  /  Staff reporter in WASHINGTON

Fri, Dec 19, 2014 - Page 3

A new study urges the White House to improve US intelligence ties to Taiwan and to support the nation’s indigenous submarine program.

Published this week by the Project 2049 Institute, the study calls for a massive intelligence-sharing system that would include the exchange of everything from radar and sonar data to secret information from signals, human agents and imagery.

Written by former deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asia Randall Schriver and research fellow Ian Easton, the study is titled Standing Watch – Taiwan and Maritime Domain Awareness in the Western Pacific.

“It is in the American interest to integrate Taiwan’s maritime domain awareness capabilities into a joint infrastructure for shared indications and warning and regional situational awareness,” the study concludes.

“The US and Taiwan should continue to work toward the ability to better share a common operational picture that would allow them to seamlessly work together as coalition partners during a crisis or conflict,” it says.

Washington must stop isolating Taiwan from bilateral and multilateral exercises and security events in order to appease or “reassure” Beijing’s leadership, the study argues.

US Navy ships should conduct port visits to Taiwan and the Pentagon should invite Taipei to the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise and other maritime and air warfare events.

“The stakes are too high for Washington to continue policy behavior that undermines its long-term strategy,” the study says .

It says the US should strengthen its relationship with Taiwan in the area of integrated undersea surveillance systems to monitor earthquakes, tsunamis, illegal-trafficking and enemy surface ships and submarines.

“Washington should clearly signal to Taiwan and the US defense industry its intention to approve licensing for American industrial participation in Taiwan’s indigenous defense submarine program,” the study says. “Submarines are a critical part of an integrated intelligence architecture.”

Schriver and Easton claim that if knowledge is power, then no country in the world is better positioned to influence the course of political and security affairs in the Asia-Pacific region than Taiwan.

They said Taiwan has invested heavily in capabilities to continuously track Chinese activities above, on and under the surface of its surrounding seas.

These capabilities include a large number of maritime surveillance and reconnaissance assets, radar and sonar networks, listening posts, satellites and unmanned aircraft.

The study also points out that Taiwan has long-used its close cultural, linguistic and economic ties with China to collect traditional human intelligence.

“Western analysts understandably focus on the Chinese intelligence threat to Taiwan, but often overlook Taipei’s successes in penetrating targets in China,” the study says. “Some Chinese sources suggest that Taiwan’s human intelligence capabilities in China are the most effective in the world.”

According to the study, Taiwan stations special operations teams, including amphibious reconnaissance frogmen, on its offshore islands close to the Chinese mainland.

“These units have a tradition of clandestine insertion operations into China to collect intelligence,”