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200 US military trainers now in Taiwan

80% of instructors are from US army to train Taiwan Army on how to counter PLA tactics

(U.S. Department of Defense photo)

(U.S. Department of Defense photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The U.S. has reportedly sent more than 200 troops to Taiwan to provide military training to Taiwan's armed forces.

In February, the Wall Street Journal cited U.S. officials as saying that 100 to 200 soldiers will be dispatched to Taiwan in the coming months. On Sunday, Up Media quoted military sources as saying the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command has dispatched more than 200 military trainers to Taiwan to assist local forces in training and propose improvements.

Among the more than 200 instructors, 80% are from the U.S. army. Most of the American instructors are stationed at new training centers and reserve brigades of Taiwan's Army.

The U.S. army instructors are to provide on-the-spot evaluations of training and will propose improvements. Next year, Taiwan will resume the one-year compulsory service period, and recruit training will adopt the combat training programs proposed by the U.S. military to cope with the People's Liberation Army.

The report pointed out that Taiwan Air Force pilots and other personnel have undergone training at Luke Air Force Base in Maricopa County, Arizona for many years. When the Taiwan Navy's Dunmu "Goodwill Fleet" embarks on its multi-week voyage, it often conducts joint training and other exchanges with U.S. Navy ships.

Given this background of already existing exchanges, only 20% of the current crop of U.S. trainers are from the USN or U.S. Air Force, and are mainly "specialized instructors." However, although the Taiwan Army has special operations troops who receive training from American instructors, the U.S. military has determined there is a gap between the training of the Taiwan Army's grassroots units and combat tactics instruction.

Therefore, more than 160 of the instructors sent by the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command are non-commissioned officers with combat experience. In addition to being stationed in the main combat units of Taiwan's Army, most of these instructors go to army recruiting centers and reserve brigades to check on basic training and propose improved training methods to enhance the overall combat effectiveness of Taiwan's Army.

In early April, U.S. military instructors reportedly entered Chiashan Air Force Base in Hualien County to re-evaluate the safety of the bunkers, such as explosion-proof and protective facilities, especially the safety of areas where fighter planes and ammunition are stored. In addition, they assessed whether it is difficult for satellites to detect ammunition stored in the open air and the area where fighter jets are housed. They then proposed methods to strengthen bunker security facilities to reduce the damage caused by weapons.

Taiwan-U.S. military exchanges are reportedly being carried out in accordance within the framework of the National Defense Authorization Act. The assessment of the U.S. military found the defense plan of Taiwan's Army has many flaws and may not be able to effectively respond to the PLA’s modernized and rapid attacks.

To improve the Taiwan Army’s combat power, the U.S. proposed that it start with the most basic recruit training and reserve brigade training. Therefore, at this stage, most of the U.S. Army trainers are stationed in the Taiwan Army's new training center and the reserve brigades, to check whether the training of recruits and the teaching and training of reserve soldiers meet the needs of defensive operations.

In terms of the Taiwan Armed Forces Reserve, when the first civil defense mobilization and disaster prevention and rescue exercise (Min'an No. 8) was held in Taichung City a year ago, there were U.S. Army personnel present. When the 117th Brigade of the Army’s Eighth Corps conducted its new, 14-day training and training session on March 23, two suspected U.S. military members observed the drill and took pictures.

In the second half of this year, U.S. army instructors will submit a complete report on the improvements of the reserve brigade and the new training center. After approval by the Ministry of National Defense, after the one-year compulsory service resumes next year, the training received by recruits will be based on the new U.S. military proposals.