May 27, 2022

Duckworth Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Strengthen Taiwan’s Security in Light of China’s Provocation


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] — Combat Veteran and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Chair of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Airland, is introducing the bipartisan Strengthen Taiwan’s Security Act to better support an important strategic partner in the Indo-Pacific region. Her bill would assess opportunities to deliver lethal aid to Taiwan, enhance Taiwan’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets and increase needed prepositioned stocks in the region. This legislation comes as Taiwan faces increasing threats of a possible invasion from China. U.S. Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) are cosponsors of this legislation.

“Taiwan is an important strategic partner for the U.S. in the Indo-Pacific region, and, as China continues its destabilizing policies, I am strongly committed to helping Taiwan develop its military defenses,” said Duckworth. “That’s one of the reasons I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation that would strengthen our support for Taiwan and provide it with the tools it needs to protect itself from any unwarranted attack.”

Over the past three months, Putin’s unprovoked war in Ukraine has demonstrated the importance of working with our allies to build an inclusive, proactive defense strategy and associated implementation plan before a conflict occurs. With indicators suggesting the People’s Republic of China (PRC) could choose to invade Taiwan within a matter of years, it is imperative that the U.S. take an urgent and proactive approach to enhancing Taiwan’s security. By identifying opportunities and building an accompanying action plan now, the U.S. can help Taiwan not only reinforce its defenses to be a considerable deterrent, but also prepare Taiwan to be ready in the face of a potential military invasion. Given the dynamic nature of the current situation in the Taiwan Strait, regular evaluation and reporting on such strategic considerations is necessary. Reporting ensures appropriate Congressional support and is an important tool for strengthening our cooperation with Taiwan.

Specifically, the Strengthen Taiwan’s Security Act would:

  • Improve Taiwan’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities to provide better detection of PRC activities indicating a direct threat;
  • Explore the potential for pre-positioning stock on or near the island to aid Taiwan’s ability to endure conflict; and
  • Identify weapons systems and other lethal aid that could be delivered to Taiwan using existing authorities, like the Presidential Drawdown Authority, as well as potential barriers to delivering aid once a military invasion or blockade has started to ensure appropriate speed of action in providing such lethal aid.

Bill text can be found here.

Last June, Duckworth traveled to Taiwan with a bipartisan delegation to underscore U.S. support for Taiwan, including on combatting the COVID-19 pandemic. During the trip, the Senators announced a U.S. donation of 750,000 COVID-19 vaccines to Taiwan as part of President Biden’s plan to provide vaccines to our global partners in need. Last year’s NDAA included a bipartisan, Duckworth-authored provision to encourage a partnership between Taiwan and the National Guard and require an annual briefing by the U.S. Secretary of Defense on this cooperation.

Duckworth was one of the first handful of Army women to fly combat missions during Operation Iraqi Freedom. She served in the Reserve Forces for 23 years before retiring from military service in 2014 at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. She served on the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) during her four years serving in the U.S. House of Representatives.