The National Security Bureau (NSB) is to unveil a five-year plan to counter the rising threat of Chinese espionage by enhancing its intelligence-gathering technologies, a senior national security official said on Saturday.
The Cabinet has backed the plan, which entails “large-scale revamping of hardware and software associated with intelligence-gathering operations,” the official said on condition of anonymity.
The NSB is to focus on four classes: signals intelligence, satellite imagery, cyber operations and cryptology, the official said, adding that the plan includes equipment purchases and personnel recruitment.
The official refused to confirm or deny if the plan would increase the bureau’s overall budget of NT$4 billion (US$132.2 million) to at least NT$5 billion.
“The five-year plan will maintain our superiority in technology-based intelligence gathering and increase our ability to generate results,” the official said.
The plan was made in response to a 2015 resolution by the Legislative Yuan’s Foreign and National Defense Committee to counter Chinese espionage, especially hacking and other technology-based operations, he said.
“The government’s resolve will be demonstrated clearly by the NSB’s budget for the next fiscal year,” he said.
At the time, the committee had asked the NSB to step up its capabilities in ground, air, space and Internet-based espionage.
It also advised the bureau to commit to the research and development of signals intelligence capabilities independent of foreign assistance and recruit qualified personnel.
It should also plan to strengthen its cyberwarfare, intelligence gathering and other special intelligence activities over three to five years, the committee said.
The NSB has two main sources of funding: a public budget and a black budget.
This fiscal year, the public component is NT$870 million, while the black component is listed in the classified portion of the Ministry of National Defense’s annual budget under “Ting Yuan Project.”
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