U.S. Senate committee files annual defense bill with Taiwan provisions
Washington, July 11 (CNA) The U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday filed its draft of an annual defense policy bill, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), that contained provisions to strengthen defense and cybersecurity cooperation with Taiwan.
The draft legislation, which the committee approved in a bipartisan 24-1 vote on June 23, would authorize US$876.8 billion for military and national defense programs at the departments of defense and energy, and will now be advanced for debate in the full Senate.
As it relates to Taiwan, the bill directs the secretary of defense to work with counterparts in Taiwan to establish a "comprehensive training, advising, and institutional capacity-building program" for Taiwan's military forces.
The program would be aimed at enabling a "layered defense" of Taiwan by Taiwanese forces, including through the use of an asymmetric defense strategy, and would also boost interoperability between Taiwan and U.S. forces and encourage information sharing, the bill said.
The legislation would also require U.S. officials, including the secretary of defense and the heads of the U.S. Cyber Command and U.S. Indo-Pacific command to engage with Taiwan on expanding military cybersecurity cooperation.
Aside from these initiatives, the draft NDAA would instruct the Department of Defense to provide an assessment to Congress on how Taiwan has integrated the military capabilities it has received from the U.S. over the last 10 years.
It would also mandate the completion of a "comprehensive analysis of the risks and implications of a sustained military blockade of Taiwan" by China, carried out by the secretary of defense and chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, in coordination with the director of national intelligence.
Specifically, the analysis would include an assessment of how China would execute a blockade, its possible precursors or warning signs, its potential impact on Taiwan and the U.S., and military and non-military options for countering a blockade, the bill said.
In addition to the draft NDAA in the Senate, the U.S. House Armed Services Committee passed a separate version of the legislation late last month.
Typically, after the full House and Senate have passed their own versions of the NDAA, they negotiate a reconciliation of the bill to send to the president to sign into law before the end of the year.
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