The Ministry of National Defense has elaborated on the military’s countermeasures against China’s “gray-zone conflict” tactics in a comprehensive review of Taiwan’s defense strategy.
The ministry’s 2021 Quadrennial Defense Review, which was on Thursday delivered to the Legislative Yuan’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee for review, highlights the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) increasing use of gray-zone conflict methods, including cognitive warfare, disinformation, and air and sea patrols.
The methods are employed by the PLA to exhaust Taiwan’s armed forces and morale, the ministry said.
Photo provided by the Coast Guard Administration via CNA
The PLA’s cognitive warfare strategy is based on the “three forms of warfare” concept, which refers to public opinion warfare, psychological warfare and legal warfare, which are conducted to create internal contradictions in Taiwan, the ministry said.
The ministry’s answer to cognitive warfare is the creation of rapid response mechanisms that use technology to counter disinformation, provide factual rebuttals across multiple media, stop public panic, and create counter-narratives with international partners, it said.
China has reorganized its forces to augment its cyberwarfare capabilities, and PLA cyberunits are deployed for intelligence gathering and for stealing military, industrial and commercial secrets, it said.
Another part of the PLA’s effort is directed toward identifying gaps in Taiwan’s cyberinfrastructure to exploit them, including attacking these targets during a war to paralyze the nation’s government, security forces and military, the ministry said.
The armed forces are to stop these threats by implementing information security mechanisms, increasing defensive capabilities and strengthening collaboration with cybersecurity agencies, it said.
The integration of military and civilian cybersecurity systems and the training of cybersecurity experts must be emphasized, the ministry added.
The PLA’s use of air and sea patrols to harass Taiwan is countered by the rapid deployment of reaction forces, the ministry said.
The military has made and will continue to make rolling adjustments to incident management protocols and the general combat readiness of the armed forces so that the military can anticipate and effectively respond to PLA actions, it said.
The command and control systems of the armed forces have facilitated intelligence sharing between Taiwan and its allies and the surveillance of enemy forces in the Taiwan Strait, and provided the nation with an early warning capability, it said.
In addition, the navy and the coast guard are committed to developing teamwork in peace and to redeploying coast guard vessels as naval assets in wartime in joint operations, it said.
The review is mandated by Article 31 of the National Defense Act (國防法), which states that the ministry must provide a review for the president within 10 months of inauguration.
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