Taiwan's military is endeavoring to upgrade its cyber warfare capabilities as China has already developed a massive cyber army that can attack Taiwan, the United States, Japan and many other countries, according to local media reports.
The reports said while Taiwan is streamlining its military units in line with its policy of building an elite deterrent force, its electronic warfare department has been expanded.
The military is developing a new mechanism that can test its cyber warfare combat and defense capabilities, the reports said, citing the Ministry of National Defense's (MND's) 2013 budget report.
The MND also said in its latest budget report that China is capable of taking over Taiwan-controlled offshore defense outposts and its outlying islands and may adopt a "shock and awe" strategy in the first step of a war against Taiwan.
In its report, the MND also outlined China's possible psychological warfare tactics against Taiwan.
The report was delivered to the legislature last week for screening in the new session that is scheduled to open Sept. 18.
The following are excerpts from local media coverage of the MND's budget report:
United Daily News:
The MND report forecasts that China may use news media to maximize the effects of its "shock and awe" strategy by invoking fear and confusion among Taiwanese people and quelling Taiwan's will to repel a military invasion.
For the first time, the report said that an invasion by China would begin with psychological warfare. In such an operation, China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) may intensify military deployment, conduct large-scale live-fire training exercises, fire warning shots and use news media to spread rumors or hype the risks of a military conflict, the report said.
All such strategies would be aimed at invoking panic in Taiwan society and harming its military morale, the MND said in the report.
In the second stage, that the PLA would implement sea and air blockades of some of Taiwan's major harbors and airports while simultaneously attacking Taiwan-controlled offshore defense outposts such as Kinmen and Matsu, both of which lie closer to the Chinese mainland than to Taiwan proper, the report said.
It said the PLA would launch missile attacks in the third phase, during which guided ballistic missiles or cruise missiles could be fired against Taiwan's military command systems and political and military nerve centers.
In this stage, the PLA would attack selected targets with increasingly intensity to thwart Taiwan's resolve to defend itself or fight against communist invasion, the report said.
The PLA would begin the final battle of landing on Taiwan proper only after it had secured supremacy in the air, sea and cyber domains, the report adds.
It also said that the PLA would try to conquer Taiwan in by "speedy, efficient and economical" means. All told, the report says, China would try to take over Taiwan before any foreign forces could intervene. (Sept. 2, 2012).
Citing data compiled by the National Security Bureau, the MND's 2013 budget report said Taiwan's military and national security agencies' cyber information systems were hacked nearly 1.04 million times in the first half of this year.
The NSB managed to catch and thwart all those attacks, the report said.
According to a U.S. study, many cyber attacks on government information systems in the United States and other countries originated in China, the report said.
The MND report said China's military and national security units have formed a large-scale cyber army to carry out cyber attacks in an attempt to steal technological and business secrets and track the movements of the military and government agencies in certain countries.
Taiwan's major military and government institutions have been major targets of China's cyber army, the report added. (Sept. 2, 2012).
(By Sofia Wu)