The Taiwan National Defense Report 2023 20/09/2023 | Fabio Di Felice

The Ministry of National Defense of Taiwan, led by Minister Chiu Kuo-Cheng, released its 17th edition of the National Defense Report, which includes additional civil public-focused learning materials related to defense and national security issues.

As the first National Defense Report since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the report emphasizes the lessons learned on the war in Europe, and how they are driving the country's asymmetrical warfare capabilities development and a whole-of-society approach, in preparation for a potential cross-strait war. During the presentation, the Minister reinforced these concepts underlying the defense preparations, the social resilience in the face of cyber and cognitive warfare threats, and the mitigation of any island State vulnerability, calling it "resolute defense and multi-domain deterrence."

The report is divided into 5 parts: Regional Posture, National Defense Capabilities, Policy Reform, National Defense Governance, and Heritage of Honor and Glory. The first 2 inform the public about the current security situation in the Indo-Pacific region, uncommonly going into details regarding the PLA military projects and drills in Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) and near the island. The purpose is to reach a wider audience, including those with limited external vision, providing a credible situational awareness of the threats. At the same time, they release info on the actions taken by the USA, Japan, and Australia, to contain the PRC. Then the document provides insight regarding the development of combat capabilities and the military force realignment plan. The latter, learning from the example of Ukraine, has seen a deep reform of Taiwan’s reservist and conscript system, publishing a civilian defense handbook that outlines safety precautions for civilians to take during an air raid, major fire, building collapse, major power outage, water shortage, or shortage of essential goods, while explaining basic survival skills and noting emergency hotlines people can call. All these instructions have the only aim of enhancing the nation's all-out-defense capability, and its resilience, in the face of a much stronger opponent.

In the entire NDR, it is clear that the ROC Armed Forces are determined to maintain combat readiness at all times and to carry out rigorous training activities at 360 degrees, with the assumption that fast-changing and complex security situations across the Taiwan Strait and the region may show anytime. For the second time, Chinese and English versions of the document were published simultaneously in accordance with the Government's bilingual policy, and to enable Taiwan's Armed Forces to better communicate with foreign country counterparts.

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