Tag Archive: 2018

Taiwan in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), 2018

Update, December 12, 2017

On this date, President Trump signed the 2018 NDAA into law.

Update, November 30, 2017

On this date, Congress submitted the 2018 NDAA to the President for signature. The following Taiwan-related language was included in the final version of the bill:

SEC. 1259. Strengthening the Defense Partnership between the United States and Taiwan.

(a) STATEMENT OF POLICY. — It is the policy of the United States to reinforce its commitments to Taiwan under the Taiwan Relations Act and consistent with the “Six Assurances” as both governments work to improve Taiwan’s self-defense capability.

(b) SENSE OF CONGRESS. —It is the sense of Congress that the United States should—
(1) strengthen and enhance its longstanding partnership and cooperation with Taiwan;
(2) conduct regular transfers of defense articles and defense services necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability, based solely on the needs of Taiwan;
(3) invite the military forces of Taiwan to participate in military exercises, such as the “Red Flag” exercises;
(4) carry out a program of exchanges of senior military officers and senior officials with Taiwan to improve military-to- military relations, as expressed in section 1284 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 (Public Law 114–328; 130 Stat. 2544);
(5) support expanded exchanges focused on practical training for Taiwan personnel by and with United States military units, including exchanges among services;
(6) conduct bilateral naval exercises, to include pre-sail conferences, in the western Pacific Ocean with the Taiwan navy; and
(7) consider the advisability and feasibility of reestablishing port of call exchanges between the United States navy and the Taiwan navy.

SEC. 1259A. Normalizing the Transfer of Defense Articles and Defense Services to Taiwan

(a) SENSE OF CONGRESS.—It is the sense of Congress that any requests from the Government of Taiwan for defense articles and defense services should receive a case-by-case review by the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Secretary of State, that is consistent with the standard processes and procedures in an effort to normalize the arms sales process with Taiwan.

(b) REPORT. —
(1) IN GENERAL.—Not later than 120 days after the date on which the Secretary of Defense receives a Letter of Request from Taiwan with respect to the transfer of a defense article or defense service to Taiwan, the Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary of State, shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report that includes—
(A) the status of such request;
(B) if the transfer of such article or service would require a certification or report to Congress pursuant to any applicable provision of section 36 of the Arms Export Control Act (22 U.S.C. 2776), the status of any Letter of Offer and Acceptance the Secretary of Defense intends to issue with respect to such request; and
(C) an assessment of whether the transfer of such article or service would be consistent with United States obligations under the Taiwan Relations Act (Public Law 96–8; 22 U.S.C. 3301 et seq.).
(2) ELEMENTS.—Each report required under paragraph (1) shall specify the following:
(A) The date the Secretary of Defense received the Letter of Request.
(B) The value of the sale proposed by such Letter of Request.
(C) A description of the defense article or defense service proposed to be transferred.
(D) The view of the Secretary of Defense with respect to such proposed sale and whether such sale would be consistent with United States defense initiatives with Taiwan.
(3) FORM.—Each report required under paragraph (1) shall be submitted in unclassified form but may contain a classified annex.

(c) BRIEFING.—Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, and every 180 days thereafter, the Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Secretary of State, shall provide a briefing to the appropriate congressional committees with respect to the security challenges faced by Taiwan and the military cooperation between the United States and Taiwan, including a description of any requests from Taiwan for the transfer of defense articles or defense services and the status, whether signed or unsigned, of any Letters of Offer and Acceptance with respect to such requests.

(d) DEFINITIONS. —In this section:
(1) APPROPRIATE CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEES. —The term “appropriate congressional committees” means—
(A) the Committee on Armed Services and the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives; and
(B) the Committee on Armed Services and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate.
(2) DEFENSE ARTICLE; DEFENSE SERVICE. —The terms “defense article” and “defense service” have the meanings given such terms in section 47 of the Arms Export Control Act (22 U.S.C. 2794).
(3) LETTER OF REQUEST; LETTER OF OFFER AND ACCEPTANCE. —The terms “Letter of Request” and “Letter of Offer and Acceptance” have the meanings given such terms for purposes of Chapter 5 of the Security Assistance Management Manual of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, as in effect on the date of the enactment of this Act.

Update, November 9, 2017

On this date, the conference report, reconciling the House and Senate versions of the bill, was filed.
The conference report was agreed to in the House on November 13, 2017 and in the Senate on November 16, 2017.

The conference report notes:

Strengthening the defense partnership between the United States and Taiwan (sec. 1259).
The House bill contained two provisions (secs. 1268 and 1270E) that would, respectively, express a sense of Congress to strengthen the defense of Taiwan and direct the Department to submit a report on the feasibility and advisability of naval port calls with Taiwan. The sense of Congress would encourage the Department to continue the transfer of defense articles and services, expand training and exercises with Taiwan, support practical military personnel training and exchanges between services, encourage Taiwan’s continued investment in asymmetric self-defense capabilities and support humanitarian assistance and disaster relief training.

The Senate amendment contained five similar provisions (secs. 1270, 1270A, 1270B, 1270C, and 1270D) that would respectively: express a sense of Congress encouraging strengthened bilateral relations between the United States and Taiwan through increased regular defense articles and defense services transfers, air defense training capability building, and multilateral exercises; reestablish naval port call exchanges between the U.S. and Taiwan at appropriate locations; direct the Department of Defense to enhance the undersea warfare capabilities of Taiwan; direct the Department to invite Taiwan’s military forces to participate in joint military exercises, particularly the annual ‘Red Flag’ aerial combat training military exercise; and direct the Department to submit a report on military exchanges between senior officers and officials of the United States and Taiwan, pursuant to section 1284 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 (Public Law 114–328).

The House recedes with an amendment that would combine all seven provisions into one. The new provision would make a statement of policy regarding the commitment of the United States to Taiwan and express a Sense of Congress on steps that should be taken to strengthen the defense relationship between the two countries.

Normalizing the transfer of defense articles and defense services to Taiwan (sec. 1259A).
The House bill contained a provision (sec. 1270G) that would require the Secretary of Defense, not later than 120 days after the date on which the Secretary receives a Letter of Request from Taiwan with respect to the transfer of a defense article or defense service to Taiwan, in consultation with the Secretary of State, to submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report with details of the request. The provision would also direct that, not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, and every 180 days thereafter, the Secretary, in coordination with the Secretary of State, shall provide a briefing to the appropriate congressional committees with respect to the security challenges faced by Taiwan and the military cooperation between the United States and Taiwan, including a description of any requests from Taiwan for the transfer of defense articles or defense services and the status, whether signed or unsigned, of any Letters of Offer and Acceptance with respect to such requests. The Senate amendment contained no similar provision. The Senate recedes with a technical, clarifying amendment.

Update, September 18, 2017

On this date, the U.S. Senate passed its version of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2018 by Yea-Nay Vote of 89 – 8. Sections 1268 and 1270E were not changed from the House version. However, Section 1270G – normalizing the transfer of Defense Articles and Defense Services to Taiwan – is not included in the Senate version.

The bill now awaits reconciliation and final signature.

Update, July 14, 2017

The NDAA, as H.R.2810, was introduced in the House on June 7, 2017. On July 14, the U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2018. Several Taiwan-related initiatives were included.

Section 1268 deals with a sense of Congress on strengthening Taiwan defense:

It is the sense of Congress that—

(1) the Taiwan Relations Act (Public Law 96–8; 22 U.S.C. 3301 et seq.) codified the basis for commercial, cultural, and other relations between the United States and Taiwan, and the Six Assurances are an important aspect in guiding bilateral relations;

(2) Section 3(a) of that Act states that ‘‘the United States will make available to Taiwan such defense articles and defense services in such quantity as may be necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability’’;

(3) the United States, in accordance with such section, should make available and provide timely review of requests for defense articles and defense services that may be necessary for Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability;

(4) Taiwan should significantly increase its defense budget to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability;

(5) the United States should support expanded exchanges focused on practical training for Taiwan personnel by and with United States military units, including exchanges between services, to empower senior military officers to identify and develop asymmetric and innovative capabilities that strengthen Taiwan’s ability to deter aggression;

(6) the United States should seek opportunities for expanded training and exercises with Taiwan;

(7) the United States should encourage Taiwan’s continued investments in asymmetric self-defense capabilities that are mobile, survivable against threatening forces, and able to take full advantage of Taiwan’s geography; and

(8) the United States should continue to—
     (A) support humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exercises that increase Taiwan’s resiliency and ability to respond to and recover from natural disasters; and
     (B) recognize Taiwan’s already valuable military contributions to such efforts.

Section 1270E deals with a report on Naval Port of Call Exchanges between the United States and Taiwan:

(a) Report Required.–Not later than September 1, 2018, the Secretary of Defense shall submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a report on the following:
     (1) An assessment of the feasibility and advisability regarding ports of call by the United States Navy at ports on the island of Taiwan.
     (2) An assessment of the feasibility and advisability of the United States to receiving ports of call by the Republic of China navy in Hawaii, Guam, and other appropriate locations.

(b) Form.–The report required by subsection (a) shall be submitted in unclassified form, but may include a classified annex.

(c) Appropriate Committees of Congress Defined.–In this section, the term “appropriate committees of Congress” means–
     (1) the Committee on Armed Services and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate; and
     (2) the Committee on Armed Services and the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives.

 

Section 1270G deals with a sense of Congress on normalizing the transfer of defense articles and defense services to Taiwan:

(a) Sense of Congress.–It is the sense of Congress that any requests from the Government of Taiwan for defense articles and defense services should receive a case-by-case review by the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Secretary of State, that is consistent with the standard processes and procedures in an effort to normalize the arms sales process with Taiwan.

(b) Report.–
     (1) In general.–Not later than 120 days after the date on which the Secretary of Defense receives a Letter of Request from Taiwan with respect to the transfer of a defense article or defense service to Taiwan, the Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary of State, shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report that includes–
          (A) the status of such request;
          (B) if the transfer of such article or service would require a certification or report to Congress pursuant to any applicable provision of section 36 of the Arms Export Control Act (22 U.S.C. 2776), the status of any Letter of Offer and Acceptance the Secretary of Defense intends to issue with respect to such request; and
          (C) an assessment of whether the transfer of such article or service would be consistent with United States obligations under the Taiwan Relations Act (Public Law 96-8; 22 U.S.C. 3301 et seq.).
     (2) Elements.–Each report required under paragraph (1) shall specify the following:
          (A) The date the Secretary of Defense received the Letter of Request.
          (B) The value of the sale proposed by such Letter of Request.
          (C) A description of the defense article or defense service proposed to be transferred.
          (D) The view of the Secretary of Defense with respect to such proposed sale and whether such sale would be consistent with defense plans.
     (3) Form.–Each report required under paragraph (1) shall be submitted in unclassified form but may contain a classified annex.

(c) Briefing.–Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, and every 180 days thereafter, the Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Secretary of State, shall provide a briefing to the appropriate congressional committees with respect to the security challenges faced by Taiwan and the military cooperation between the United States and Taiwan, including a description of any requests from Taiwan for the transfer of defense articles or defense services and the status, whether signed or unsigned, of any Letters of Offer and Acceptance with respect to such requests.

(d) Definitions.–In this section:
     (1) Appropriate congressional committees.–The term “appropriate congressional committees” means–
          (A) the Committee on Armed Services and the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives; and
          (B) the Committee on Armed Services and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate.
     (2) Defense article; defense service.–The terms “defense article” and “defense service” have the meanings given such terms in section 47 of the Arms Export Control Act (22 U.S.C. 2794).
     (3) Letter of request; letter of offer and acceptance.–The terms “Letter of Request” and “Letter of Offer and Acceptance” have the meanings given such terms for purposes of Chapter 5 of the Security Assistance Management Manual of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, as in effect on the date of the enactment of this Act.

June 28, 2017

On this date, the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) announced details of the committee’s markup of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2018. During the markup, 277 amendments — offered by both Republican and Democratic members — were considered and adopted. The committee voted unanimously to report the bill.

In a summary document provided following the markup, the SASC stated that the bill:

Reestablishes regular ports of call by the U.S. Navy at Kaohsiung or any other suitable ports in Taiwan and permits U.S. Pacific Command to receive ports of call by Taiwan; directs the Department to implement a program of technical assistance to support Taiwanese efforts to develop indigenous undersea warfare capabilities, including vehicles and sea mines; and expresses the sense of Congress that the United States should strengthen and enhance its long-standing partnership and strategic cooperation with Taiwan.

This post will continue to track the Taiwan-related language in the 2018 NDAA, as circumstances warrant.

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