National Defense Policy White Paper

Taiwan Democratic Progressive Party

Taipei, November 1999

Executive Summary (unofficial translation)

The fundamental principle of the defense policy of the DPP and its Presidential candidate Chen Shui-bian is aimed at deterring the outbreak of war and maintaining the peace and security in the region.

The military strategy focuses on defending Taiwan's territory and population against coercive threats and invasion from China.

The primary objectives of Taiwan's armed forces are to safeguard the country's democracy and prosperity, and to preserve the regional stability.

Facing the challenges in the twenty-first century, Taiwan needs to establish a comprehensive security strategy, which may include, but not limited to, engaging China with dignity and enhancing overall national military capabilities persistently.

The defense policy is summarized as follows:

  1. Reinforce the Mechanism for National Security and Institutionalize Legislative Oversight: The National Security Council should incorporate the elements and expertise to make it the supreme institution to provide ongoing and systematic policy formulation, implementation, and coordination of national-level long-term strategies among civilian and defense policy sectors. The functions of Taiwan's Legislative Yuan should be strengthened so that both the National Security Bureau and the Ministry of National Defense will be under more appropriate congressional oversight.

  2. Solidify Beneficial/Benevolent Packages for Armed Services Personnel: High morale among armed forces, in part, is based on sensible beneficial/benevolent packages. If the DPP becomes the ruling party, the new Administration will maintain the current rights and benefits for service personnel.

  3. Promote Confidence Building Measures (CBM) Between Taiwan and China: Taiwan will actively pursue CBM with China by making Taiwan's armed forces and the country's defense policy as transparent as possible. Through mechanisms such as security dialogues and cooperation, Taiwan hopes to decrease mutual distrust and hostility and is determined to prevent military confrontation.

  4. Emphasize Air and Naval Superiority, Materialize Precision Deep Strike Capabilities: In order to maintain safe passage near and around Taiwan's waters for vital lifelines, Taiwan should develop joint air/naval operation capabilities. To deter and to pre-empt potential aggressions, Taiwan may deploy military forces to conduct naval blockades against enemy's sea ports and to carry out precision deep strikes against enemy's inland targets.

  5. Develop Early Warning and Missile Defense Systems: Taiwan should expedite the deployment of long-range early warning radar, space reconnaissance and surveillance assets, and tactical unmanned aerial vehicles in order to reinforce its early warning systems. In addition to active missile defense systems such as Patriot, Taiwan should also accentuate its passive defense infrastructure to minimize damages. Taiwan should also actively pursue substantial exchange of military intelligence with countries such as the U.S. and Japan and the establishment of direct and secure communications with their forces.

  6. Acquire C4ISR Systems to Achieve Information Warfare Superiority: Taiwan should stress the effectiveness of command, control, communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems as the "force enabler/multiplier." Such systems can enhance Taiwan's joint warfighting capabilities and will become the critical foundation of an integral national defense based on information technologies.

  7. Integrate Armed Conflicts and National Emergencies Relief Duties to Uphold Civilian Security: Taiwan should institutionalize reserve forces for emergency relief duties. In addition to preparing for war, mobilization should also be called for in the event for natural disasters and man-made catastrophes. Rapid response forces and special operations forces, in addition to their regular duties, should also be trained for counter-terrorism missions and to cope with insurgencies.

  8. Reorganize the Force Structure and Decrease the Service Periods for Conscripts: Taiwan's total military force personnel strength should not exceed 260,000. The force structure ratio for Taiwan's Army, Navy, and Air Force will be restructured to 2 : 1 : 1. Such a structure should reflect the needs to reduce organizational and procedural inefficiency and increase overall cost effectiveness and accountabilities of defense budget.

  9. Integrate the Capabilities in the Private Sectors to strengthen the Indigenous Defense Industry: Taiwan will need to reform the defense industry by introducing entrepreneurship, technology management, and incentive packages into its current inefficient operations. Taiwan should also take advantage of her world-class information industrial base to build up a more productive defense industry.

  10. Reinforce Civil Defense and Psychological Hardening: Transparency in the national defense arena is a necessary step to build up people's confidence on national security. Obsolete infrastructure for civil defense in Taiwan will need to go through a major overhaul to cope with the threats posed by modern warfare.

  11. Emphasize Training and Education: In the age of high-tech warfare, career officers and enlistees alike need to undertake systematic and rigorous combined-arms combat training and exercises. The importance of such training and exercises can never be overstressed. The armed forces should also emphasize increased training for military officers in foreign military installations to work in threat analyses, doctrine development, force planning, military operations research, and other areas. Taiwan's armed forces should also conduct meticulous measures to ensure a constant level of logistics in any military contingencies.

  12. Deploy Digital Forces and Develop Corresponding Doctrines: Taiwan should deploy a highly professional force based on proven information technologies in the new century. The primary objective of such a force is to increase the flexibility, mobility, and general readiness of standing forces. Through frequent training and exercises, operational tests and evaluation, Taiwan's armed forces should develop their own doctrines to cope with future challenges and to ensure the national security in the new millennium.