Reservists likely a priority of US training: academics – 台北時報
Enhancing the resilience of military reservists is likely to be a priority of a reported US military program in Taiwan, academics said this week.
The Wall Street Journal on Thursday last week reported that US special operations personnel have been deployed in Taiwan for at least a year.
Citing an anonymous official, the newspaper reported that two dozen US troops consisting of a special operations unit, marines and support troops have been conducting small-unit training for Taiwan’s ground forces.
Photo: Chiang Ying-ying, AP
Institute for National Defense and Security Research senior analyst Su Tzu-yun (蘇紫雲) said that Washington’s next priority would likely be Taiwan’s reservists.
Enhancing the capability of the nation’s reservists is key to creating resilience in Taiwan’s homeland defense and would allow professional soldiers added maneuverability, Su said.
If well-trained reservists can be entrusted with holding a line, units of active service soldiers would be able to strike instead of being tied to defensive positions, he said.
Taiwan’s international isolation has led to its military leadership becoming insular, with a military science stuck in last century, former National Defense University lecturer Holmes Liao (廖宏祥) said.
The US has the experience to assist Taiwan’s military to carry out urgently needed reform of the command structure, up to and including the general staff, Liao said.
When he taught at the university’s War College, military officers in training often told him that the US way of doing things would not work in Taiwan, he said.
This mindset is not productive when the country is expecting the US to conduct training or even garrison units in Taiwan, he said.
The tradition of the Whampoa Military Academy in Kaohsiung has persisted, Liao said.
The academy is overly concerned with abstract theory, especially Sun Zi’s (孫子) The Art of War, which has dubious practical value in modern warfare, Liao said.
US military assistance should focus on the modernization of the national defense apparatus, including by embedding US officers in the Ministry of National Defense and the general staff, he said.
Taiwan’s armed forces must improve in competence when doing threat assessment, operational planning, establishing procedures, deployment of forces, training, weapons development and logistics, he said, adding that the armed forces must prepare to fight a 21st-century war.
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