On Friday, December 23, 2016 President Obama signed into law the 2017 NDAA (which cleared the Senate in a 92-7 vote on Dec. 8 after approval in the House of Representatives by a vote of 375-34 on Dec. 2). That means these Military Exchanges with Taiwan are now part of U.S. Public Law No: 114-328.
On December 8, 2016 the U.S. Senate passed a conference report for its version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA, which provides funding for the U.S. military) for fiscal year 2017. The House of Representatives had passed its version of the conference report on December 1, 2016. The bill originally contained several measures on Taiwan, but only one – a requirement for military exchanges – made it into the final conference report/version.
SH. Rept. 114-840
Sec. 1284. Sense of Congress on military exchanges between the United States and Taiwan.
(a) Military Exchanges Between Senior Officers and Officials of the United States and Taiwan.
–The Secretary of Defense should carry out a program of exchanges of senior military officers and senior officials between the United States and Taiwan designed to improve military to military relations between the United States and Taiwan.
(b) Exchanges Described.
–For the purposes of this section, an exchange is an activity, exercise, event, or observation opportunity between members of the Armed Forces and officials of the Department of Defense, on the one hand, and armed forces personnel and officials of Taiwan, on the other hand.
(c) Focus of Exchanges.
–The exchanges under the program described in subsection (a) should include exchanges focused on the following:
(1) Threat analysis.
(2) Military doctrine.
(3) Force planning.
(4) Logistical support.
(5) Intelligence collection and analysis.
(6) Operational tactics, techniques, and procedures.
(7) Humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
(d) Civil-Military Affairs.
–The exchanges under the program described in subsection (a) should include activities and exercises focused on civil-military relations, including parliamentary relations.
(e) Location of Exchanges.
–The exchanges under the program described in subsection (a) should be conducted in both the United States and Taiwan.
–In this section: (1) The term “senior military officer”, with respect to the Armed Forces, means a general or flag officer of the Armed Forces on active duty. (2) The term “senior official”, with respect to the Department of Defense, means a civilian official of the Department of Defense at the level of Assistant Secretary of Defense or above.
If signed into law by U.S. President Barack Obama, Pentagon officials higher than the level of assistant defense secretary would be permitted to visit Taiwan.