Sunday, November 22, 2009

Miiltary, Congress & F-16s

Truth in advertising.

FAPA says that another bill on F-16s has been introduced in the US Congress:
One day after President Obama concluded his China trip and after the introduction of H.R.4102 in Congress of legislation highlighting the stalled U.S. arms sale to Taiwan, Texas Congressman Joe Barton (Republican) introduced H.Res. 927 to boost the expeditious delivery of F-16s to Taiwan yesterday afternoon. Congress introduced two resolutions in 24 hours on U.S. arms sales to Taiwan and Taiwan’s security right after President Obama issued a joint statement in China earlier this week.

The resolution concludes that “(1) it shall continue to be the policy of the United States, consistent with the Taiwan Relations Act, to make available to Taiwan such defense articles and services as may be necessary for Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability; and (2) the United States should determine the nature and quantity of such defense articles and services ‘based solely’ upon the legitimate defense needs of Taiwan.”

The bill references that “Taiwanese Defense Ministry has requested and the Executive Yuan approved in August 2007 a 2008 defense budget that includes approximately $764,000,000 for the second year's budget for F–16C/D fighters.”

On October 9, at a Washington press conference, Senator John McCain what his own views are on providing Taiwan with F-16s. The Senator stated: “My position on F-16s for Taiwan is that I believe that we should provide Taiwan with the equipment that they feel is necessary to defend themselves. We know that there's a significant military buildup on the other side of the Strait. So, I personally favor the sale of F-16s to Taiwan.”
US lawmakers are also seeking to put pressure on the Obama Administration about Taiwan arms sales.

Another key piece of news came out of Kyodo News service last week:
The U.S. military has required Taiwan to bear the costs of a major, unexpected security upgrade to a key U.S.-made radar on the island, a move signaling Washington's growing distrust of Taipei's ability to safeguard against security breaches as the island woos China, a local government official said.

The request came as Washington demanded what sources said are exorbitant prices on a range of arms that Taiwan seeks to purchase -- from U.S.-made missiles to helicopters -- and dithers over the island's longstanding request to kick-start the procurement process for F-16 fighter jets.

Amid the ''price-gouging,'' the U.S. military -- without prior consultation with Taiwan -- recently asked the island to pay for the addition of costly ''anti-tampering'' technology in an US$800 million early-warning radar system, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

''The Taiwanese military is really frustrated with the U.S. [over radar issues],'' the official told Kyodo News, adding that the price tag for the unscheduled security measures was nearly NT$2 billion (US$61 million).

''Implementing security measures is standard. But why has the U.S. sprung this on Taiwan some three years after the project started and as it’s nearing completion?'' the official said.

For Taipei, the last-minute request points to Washington's apparent concern over the security of U.S.-made military platforms on the island amid warming relations across the Taiwan Strait, the official said.

''The U.S. is worried about its Taiwan-based technology becoming compromised as cross-strait ties warm…and the island becomes more vulnerable to Chinese espionage,'' the official said.

Asked for comment, a media liaison officer in Taiwan's defense ministry confirmed the extra security costs, saying the ministry was ''looking into the matter.'' The official declined further comment and requested anonymity.

In 2006, Washington hired U.S. defense contractor Raytheon to build the radar facility, reportedly on Leshan Mountain in central Taiwan. Scheduled to begin operations this year, the radar's capabilities include detecting and tracking incoming missiles from China, according to a recent report by the U.S. Congressional Research Service (CRS).

But mudslide-induced delays have abounded, according to Defense News, a U.S. newsweekly covering military affairs. Indeed, a recent job advertisement on Raytheon's website seeks an engineer to supervise ''the surveillance radar program at the Taiwan field site…and work in a remote and hazardous environment.''

Since construction began, Washington has ''on many occasions requested more funds'' from Taipei beyond the radar's sticker price, citing washouts of mountain roads and loose soil, the China Times, a local Chinese-language daily, reported last week.

But Washington's latest radar-related request fits with a more recent pattern of overcharging Taipei -- often for political or security-related reasons -- the official said, citing separate deals over U.S.-made missiles and helicopters.

Taiwan's latest bid to procure U.S.-made Javelin anti-tank missiles and launchers hit a brick wall after Washington raised the price of each missile from US$80,000 to US$240,000 without explanation, the official said.
Lots of things happening -- is it bad luck, company policy, or is the Obama Administration throwing up roadblocks to arms deals? Hard to say. Kyodo noted in another article that the military is moving to all-volunteer:
''The Ministry of National Defense, which used to isolate itself from the outside world, has now found it necessary to connect with society,'' said Lin Chung-Pin, a former deputy defense minister. The commercial, Lin added, is part of the military's bid ''to connect with youth and meet the goal of an all-volunteer force.''

By 2015, Taiwan will slash its 275,000-strong military to 210,500 service people and phase out conscripts -- a force structure transformation whose scope is unprecedented for the island.

''Implementing voluntarism is the most essential and complicated military (task) for the Republic of China at present,'' Taiwan's 2009 National Defense Report states, referring to Taiwan's official title. ''Voluntarism is also key to determining personnel and warfighting capabilities.''

For now, conscription remains the bedrock of the island's defense, with young men required to serve roughly one year of military service before or after college. The duration of conscripts' service has steadily lessened in recent years as the island's relations with rival China have improved and tensions ease.
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Anonymous said...

I cannot agree with your opinion on Taiwan Today's National Land Planning Act story. The piece offers no new insights and seems to state, and then restate, obvious points that even blind Freddy can see. "In Taiwan, where the private sector has been more flexible and active than the public one, 'policies, rather than guidelines, will be better tools for managing growth and forestalling the consequences of rampant development,' he said." Well, duh! Where is the value in this article?

Dwayne Elizondo said...

1. If the USA sells F-16s to Taiwan at this stage of the game, they may as well paint a red star on the tail fin. It's too late.

Perhaps the real reason Taiwan (or in KMTspeak the ROC) wants to purchase the jets is to dump their dollar holdings before its too late. (before everyone else panics)

By the way, WTF is up with that anti-tampering upgrade on the radar? It sounds like the DOD is already worried that it may fall into the wrong hands?

2. Add to the mix last month's news about Obama and his lackey Gary Locke allowing the Chicoms to purchase advanced missile technology. You probably posted on this, but if not here are two links here and here. What on earth are they thinking??

At first I thought it was a bone the Obama puppetmasters were throwing the Chicoms so the F-16 deal could go through (the M-I-C can't resist that $760B), but I think there is more to it. Perhaps they are begging the Chicoms not to demand gold deliveries from the Comex in Dec thereby catching JPM (the FED) short? Just a guess.

3. Also some interesting news I read coming up soon, A Sino-USA Financial MOU:

[i]A Sino-U.S. Memorandum of Understanding to encourage Chinese banks to invest in US lenders is being formulated by the Obama administration, which has found it needs more capital to take over troubled lenders.[/i]

I've seen this coming since its obvious the FDIC(and FED) are bankrupt. I think something big is going down soon (Japan? Citi? DB?...) that is going to throw a monkeywrench into the world order. Here is a short 10 min Nov 19,2009 US market overview that is worth a lookie. (youtube)

Anonymous said...

I think the sad truth about arms from the US is that Taiwan cannot rely on them being available.

That being said Taiwan has a whole range of domestically produced weapons systems, most of which are based on technology licensed from the US that it can produce in any quantity it wants and improve domestically.

If I were responsible for this sort of thing I'd aim to license more technology from the US, Europe and Japan and build a factory for it in a bunker somewhere. Basically build a domestic arms industry and license what you can. In a nightmarish Battle of Britain scenario you could image fighters rolling off a production line as they get shot down. Mind you it's safe to assume that Taiwan has pretty formidable SAM systems and, like the Battle of Britain, attacking fighters would be at a serious disadvantage.

Also I think a move to a volunteer military is a force multiplier against the PRC's huge but primitive armed forces.

Finally I'd get key allies like the US and Japan to commit themselves to a program of screwing China economically should they attack or threaten to attack rather than relying on them fighting an all out war to defend the island. Of course it would be nice if they did, but once again this is not something Taiwan can rely on.

Last but not least I'd have a program that allowed nuclear weapons to be assembled quickly in a desperate situation. E.g. I'd license a tested warhead design from Israel or somewhere (Japan?) and make sure I had the fissile material stored away somewhere. Of course this requires a bit of subtlety - declaring Taiwan a nuclear power would probably provoke an immediate invasion.

Still if you have the technology you could use nukes against an invasion fleet and still maintain the moral high ground - the Taiwan straights are wide enough that civilians on both sides would be relatively safe from fallout from a small device. It would be psychologically devastating to the the PRC though. Of course there's a game theory argument that if you're going to use nukes you should escalate faster than you expect the other guy to.

Mind you if you had a enough supersonic cruise missiles you wouldn't need to. Taiwan, from what I can tell, does.

Of course the best way to handle this situation is to stop it happening - any conceivable conflict would kill thousands or millions of people. Therefore I'd try to get the PRC to sign some sort of peace treaty that formalises the status quo. Of course this is not risk free.

Anonymous said...

It's disappointing to see the US being so arrogant towards an ally. The KMT has helped things, but this isn't even negative feedback for bad behavior. It's just outright highway robbery.

There is no reason for the kind of pessimism that is being tossed around. Remember, other than Iraq or maybe Grozny, no country has won a war of aggression since the beginning of the 20th century (this does not include civil wars where one side may have been helped by an outside force which may also be the principle force).

And even in the case of Iraq, there was help from within from the Kurds.

Despite China's size, an invasion of Taiwan would be a very, very costly endeavor. It wouldn't be easy for the US to commit any kind of ground forces, at least not quickly, but it is hard to believe that Japan and the US would not swarm in to counter sea and air movements by China during an invasion. Taiwan, at least for now, also has the capability of striking back at any concentration of troops prior to an invasion. If China wants to do scorched earth, sure, they can reduce Taipei and Kaohsiung to the plains they once were, but it's not much of a prize to claim if they do that; and you will have created 10 generations of overseas Taiwanese that will work against your every move and desire.

Anonymous said...

@ both anon´s
any attempt to fight against an invasion needs a roc-army, who will fight for the taiwanese citizens. do you really think, that the roc army will fight against their masters in china? the old kmt-guard still holds control of the army, they will be the first to sell out the island. the only reason, that the kmt and their private army did not surrender is simple: they can not reach an agreement with china, how much money and what kind of monument in the great chinese empire they will get.
sad story.

Anonymous said...

@anon -

Blockade not invade.

That's all they need to do and its game over. No oil, no components for re-export, no wheat for noodles, no medicine, etc. Throw in some cyber-warfare to block planes from landing and Voila! - in 2 weeks it will be: Welcome to the 23rd province of China.

Please thank your friendly sellout KMT by voting for them again in the next election.