Procurement: Taiwan Cuts Defense Spending By A Third


September 17, 2007: Taiwan, despite increasing threats from China, has allowed its military strength to shrink. Fifteen years ago, Taiwan was spending $9.7 billion a year on defense. Adjusted for inflation, that's over $14 billion today. But the current defense budget is a third less than what it was in 1992. And that would be even worse had it not been for a big boost this year. The basic problem is that enough Taiwanese, and the legislators that represent them, believe that the U.S. will protect Taiwan, and refuse to spend a lot of money on training and new weapons. The result is that attempts to increase the defense budget have been blocked, delayed and just not implemented, for over a decade. The thrifty Taiwanese are not going to get alarmed until the U.S. begins making obvious moves away from defending Taiwan. Pessimists might say that has already begun, given American military planners concern about Taiwan's ability to even hang on until U.S. forces can arrive. Officially, however, the U.S. is still committed to defending Taiwan from a Chinese invasion. And as long as that attitude survives, Taiwan is committed to spending as little as possible on its own defense.


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