Thursday, January 13, 2022

On the Navy, China, and Taiwan Words Matter - and This Week is a Good Week


A few quick items of good news where we have some strong messaging coming out.

China’s increasingly muscular efforts to isolate Taiwan internationally have paid off in Washington after a foreign naval association caved in to Chinese pressure and reversed course on letting Taiwanese officers join the group.

Several people familiar with the dispute said the Washington-based Naval Attach├ęs Association rescinded an invitation for Taiwan to join the group, which includes officers from American allies, after China strongly objected.
What did SECNAV Del Toro do?
The US navy has banned officers from attending NAA events. Carlos Del Toro, navy secretary, last month said it did not support China’s “coercive tactics” and opposed efforts to “manipulate independent organisations”.

China often leans on governments, NGOs, companies, and the media to deny Taiwan’s sovereignty. But the NAA case is a rare example of it forcing a group in the US to sever ties with the island.

It highlights the difficulty Washington faces in trying to expand exchanges with Taiwan and normalise contacts with Taiwanese officials while the US and most powerful nations deny Taipei diplomatic recognition.
BZ SECNAV. People and organization either get it, or don't get it. Sometimes they need to pick a team and publicly put their cards out. If that is where NAA stands, then so be it. We don't have to stand with them if they show such NBA-like cowardice in the face of the PRC.

Next over to the uniformed side of the house. As you would expect with this week's Surface Navy Association’s 34th Annual National Symposium in Washington, D.C., we have an opportunity to set the tone for the new year and Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, Admiral Daryl Caudle, USN did not disappoint. Dare I say ... he decided to go full Salamander;
“We need to be angry at not having the right manning. We need to be angry at not having the ships out at the right time,” Admiral Daryl Caudle said at the Surface Navy Association annual convention on January 12. can kick.”

Caudle, who said in his opening remarks that he wanted more ships and a bigger budget, said the Navy does not have the “luxury of doing more with less”.

“We can’t just build a bunch of ships and fill them with the right equipment, the right number of people,” Caudle said.
Keep it up. Call it out. Be the squeaky wheel. Yes, I know there was some rah, rah fluff in his speech, but this bit of direct talk gives me hope.  More of this Admiral. More of this, please. I'll take the "W."

What about the Legislative Branch of government? Also from SNA-22 we have strong - and correct - thinking from of another leader on The Hill on naval and national security issues who will speak clearly, Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI).
The only short war for Taiwan would be a quick Chinese victory. If we’re going to win, we’ll have to buy time to amass assets in the region while denying the Chinese invasion. I’m concerned that our planning has not caught up to this reality, and our wargames don’t even integrate financial and economic warfare into their scenarios. However many munitions, logistics nodes, and fleet enablers we think we will need, we will need more. This goes for Taiwan itself, which needs enormous quantities of not only anti-ship and anti-air missiles and mines, but also enough food, water, and other essential supplies to enable the island’s defenders to weather a blockade that could last months or even years.

Some of these defenders on the ground should be American. We should expand training missions in Taiwan, particularly when it comes to pairing National Guard units with Taiwan’s reserve forces, and regularly send senior military leaders to Taiwan to engage with counterparts and see the relevant wartime terrain with their own eyes. CyberCom should send Defend Forward cyber teams to Taiwan. We also need to be building the operational planning structures we will need ahead of time while incorporating allies like Japan and Australia. This includes re-establishing Joint Task Force Five One Nine under INDO-PACOM to run point on contingency planning in the region and re-establishing the U.S.-Taiwan Defense Command to fully integrate wartime planning with Taiwan.
Keeping with the SNA-22 wins and from the other side of the aisle, Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA) is thinking 3-4 steps down the road and has clearly done some wargaming of her own.

You want something actionable now for the porcupine? Here you go;
The vice chairwoman of the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday said new legislation is needed to allow the U.S. to respond faster should China invade Taiwan.

President Joe Biden “doesn’t have the authority [under the law] to actually respond” should China attack the island, Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va., said, noting a U.S. response would be needed to maintain stability in the region.

“If China were to invade Taiwan today, the president would have to come to Congress for authorization to respond,” the 20-year Navy veteran said while speaking at the Surface Navy Association symposium in Arlington, Va. “We can’t lose [the] months that it would take in order for us to provide a response.”
Let not your heart be troubled. There are smart people out there who are thinking right and - if given the opportunity - will speak and hopefully act in line with their thinking.

We have good people ... we just need to get them closer to the levers of power to get us where we need to be. 

Time is short. Faster please.

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