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Here's How to Fix the Supplemental's Shortcomings on Taiwan

October 24, 2023

Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery (ret.) and Bradley Bowman

Federal Times

Soldiers participate in the annual Han Kuang military exercises that simulate an anti-landing operation near the coast in New Taipei City, Taiwan, on July 27, 2023. (Chiang Ying-ying/AP)

By Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery (ret.) and Bradley Bowman, Federal Times / October 23, 2023

The White House submitted a $105 billion supplemental spending package to Congress on Friday. The proposal seeks to help three beleaguered democracies — IsraelUkraine and Taiwan — confronting adversaries that seek to destroy or subsume them. Understandably, given the hot wars they are in, Ukraine and Israel will receive most of the attention. But deterring or at least delaying aggression in the Taiwan Strait depends largely on whether Washington devotes sufficient funds to that goal and allocates the investments wisely. By that standard, the administration’s proposal related to Taiwan falls short, and Congress should act to correct the shortcomings.

When it comes to the Indo-Pacific region, the administration is requesting $7.4 billion in roughly three areas: $3.4 billion for improving the submarine-industrial base, $2 billion in Foreign Military Financing program funds for allies and partners in the region, and $2 billion for Treasury Department actions to compete with Chinese coercive financing efforts worldwide.

While both the submarine-industrial base and Treasury Department proposals are laudable, neither will substantially strengthen deterrence in the Indo-Pacific in the next five years. This leaves only the $2 billion in FMF funding, and that is not nearly enough.

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