We are not prepared to defend Taiwan. Yet this is our stated US policy. It should concern us all.
The concept of strategic ambiguity, our longstanding policy toward China-Taiwan ended when President Biden made this news in November 2022.
China publicly declares it will be ready to act with force against Taiwan by 2025. Our 2025 defense budget is being developed today.
Our policy toward China remains seriously conflicted. While the DoD has been slowly preparing to contend militarily with this near-peer, the supply chain debacles of COVID revealed the extent of our economic reliance on China. We want to punish China economically, yet doing so affects the US economy as well.
Congress continues to pass laws restricting Chinese influence on our supply chains, yet offers no transition from a position of extreme reliance to one of independence.
Quietly, the GAO released a report in May 2023 confirming that between 2017 and 2021, DoD readiness continued its downward trend. Readiness conditions have not improved and we are not prepared to win the defense of Taiwan without heavy losses.
This year, the Center for Strategic and International Studies confirmed through serious wargaming analysis that our defense of Taiwan would entail naval losses the likes of which we have not seen since World War II.
On June 2, 2023, the Secretary of the Navy also quietly released his report to Congress of the results of Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) inspections. These Congressionally-mandated periodic materiel inspections of ships document the poor material conditions of our ships. Further, the report confirms staffing levels of the INSURV Board are preventing them from catching up on its list of overdue ship inspections.
Let’s review the geopolitical backdrop again:
- China has been buying land and companies in Africa to secure critical minerals for over a decade. Critical minerals specific to batteries, chips, and electronic technologies.
- China has persistently courted our adversaries, brokering meetings among Russia, North Korea, and Saudi Arabia.
- China has defended North Korea’s missile launches around Japan alongside Russia within the United Nations Security Council.
- China floated, and we allowed, surveillance balloons to traverse the entire west-to-east of North America in January and February.
- Chinese spies posing as tourists sought entry to a military base in Alaska in May.
- China sanctioned the use of secret police stations in New York City in April.
- China’s defense counterpart was placed on a watch list and continues to rebuff the US Secretary of Defense to open a dialogue.
- Chinese intelligence received our CIA Director in May for a secret meeting, the threadbare example of diplomacy we have with China today.
- China harasses US Navy ships and aircraft in international waters and the Taiwan Strait.
During the height of the Cold War with the then-Soviet Union, there were protocols in place such as the Incidents at Sea Agreement and the Red Phone in Moscow and Washington, DC. These protocols offered some protection against an inadvertent escalation or misinterpretation by either nation.
China is clearly striving for a pole position in the new world order.
Professionals who study these issues are concerned. We should all be concerned and be demanding funding and accountability of our leaders in support of our defense readiness.
Save the date – Wednesday, July 12th, 2023 at 11 AM EDT.
The mid-year omnibus reprogramming is making its way to Congress.
Have you kept an eye on this? Do you understand how it might affect your business? Are you noticing federal funds flowing into and out of your program line?
This fund reallocation could open up new prospects—are you ready to seize them?
In my forthcoming interactive Zoom roundtable discussion, I’ll highlight these opportunities, demystify the strategies involved, and provide examples of the communication techniques that will best amplify your capabilities.
Register for my How to Finish the Fiscal Year Strong! zoom session here. See you on July 12th.