By Dave DeCamp
The new House committee on China is preparing proposals on ways to rapidly arm Taiwan and boost up American stockpiles of long-range missiles, Defense News reported on Thursday.
The steps come after the committee, which is led by Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), participated in war games that simulated a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, an unusual move for members of Congress that highlights how the US government is preparing for a future war with China.
Gallagher told Defense News that his committee was looking to insert provisions into the 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). “We’re hoping to get consensus on a series of proposals that the committee can endorse that would be tailor-made for insertion into this year’s,” he said.
The 2023 NDAA included $3 billion in unprecedented military aid for Taiwan, including $2 billion in Foreign Military Financing and $1 billion in Presidential Drawdown Authority. But the $3 billion for Taiwan was not included in the 2023 appropriations bill.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has said he wants to use the $1 billion in drawdown authority to arm Taiwan but is waiting for the funds to be appropriated. The China committee is expected to work to get such funds appropriated, and Gallagher said he wants to speed up arms sales to Taiwan.
Gallagher and other China hawks complain that there’s a $19 billion backlog of unfulfilled weapons deals for Taiwan going back to 2019, but arms sales typically take years to be completed. Gallagher said Taiwan should be given priority for certain weapons, including Harpoon anti-ship missiles.
Gallagher also wants the US to invest more in its own long-range missiles as the US quickly ran out of them during the war game. “We need about 1,000 to 12,000 [long-range anti-ship missiles] if you believe the unclassified wargame. Our inventory is less than 250, and we’re just not producing them at a rapid rate. I believe we can get up to above 200 a year,” he said.
The war game was conducted with the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), a hawkish think tank that receives funding from US arms makers and the Taiwanese government through the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office, Taiwan’s de facto embassy.
Gallagher and other China hawks are rushing to arm Taiwan in the name of deterrence, but China’s actions have made clear they view increasing US support as a major provocation, and it will make a conflict more likely.
Dave DeCamp is the news editor of Antiwar.com, follow him on Twitter @decampdave. View all posts by Dave DeCamp
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