Washington, D.C. – U.S. Representative Mike Rogers (R-AL), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, delivered the following opening remarks at a full committee hearing on defense cooperation with Taiwan.
Chairman Rogers' remarks as prepared for delivery:
Today we continue our examination of the threats posed by the Chinese Communist Party.
Specifically, we will review China’s growing hostility towards Taiwan, why that should concern the United States, and how we should respond.
I want to thank our witnesses for being here and for their service to our nation.
Over the last year, President Xi has sought to intimidate and coerce Taiwan.
He’s ordered his navy to surround the island with warships.
He’s repeatedly launched fighters and bombers across the centerline.
And he’s personally overseen amphibious assault exercises.
I am very concerned these escalating military exercises are a pretense for invasion.
A couple years ago, Admiral Davidson testified before our Committee that Xi would order an invasion of Taiwan before 2027.
Since then, our committee has spoken with several other Pentagon and State Department leaders who have reinforced that timeline.
The Ranking Member and I recently traveled to Taiwan to assess the situation firsthand.
We met with President Tsai.
We discussed the threats they face and the actions her government is taking to improve their defenses.
I was impressed with the progress they’re making.
And I was pleased to hear they are working on new asymmetric capabilities that are key to deterring China.
Much of Taiwan’s progress is the result of the military training and weapons they’ve received from the United States.
Last year’s NDAA further strengthened our defense partnership.
It authorized $1 billion annually in Presidential Drawdown Authority for Taiwan; $2 billion annually in Foreign Military Financing loans; and $100 million to begin stockpiling U.S. equipment on the island.
But more needs to be done.
To date, the administration has only announced $345 million in drawdown authority.
They have not budgeted, and Congress has not appropriated, the funding necessary to fully carry out the authorities we provided in the last year’s NDAA.
And Foreign Military Sales, the program that we’ve primarily relied on to provide military aid to Taiwan, is clearly broken.
Taiwan is waiting on the delivery of over $18 billion in FMS aid.
Some of it dates back to 2016.
I’m interested in hearing from our witnesses on ways to reform the FMS program.
For 40 years our relationship with Taiwan and China has been defined by the policy of strategic ambiguity.
To date, the policy has been successful in putting off an invasion.
But with a rapidly modernizing Chinese military and an increasingly despotic leader, I understand the arguments that we need to revisit the policy.
It doesn’t help that President Biden is having trouble articulating a consistent policy toward Taiwan or what would happen if Xi were to invade.
But whatever the policy is today, the use of military force has been, and will remain, our most effective deterrent against invasion.
But for that deterrent to be credible, our military must be fully prepared for this conflict.
I’m very concerned we’re not there yet.
It was clear from our recent trip that we need to invest much more in long range fires, distributed logistics, and missile defense.
We need to grow our Navy and improve our capabilities in space and cyberspace.
We also need to reinforce the capabilities of our allies in the region.
If a Chinese invasion cannot be deterred, it will be catastrophic for Taiwan and the United States.
A successful invasion will cut off vital trade routes and disrupt the supply of critical semiconductors and other technologies.
It will sink our economy, endanger our allies, and severely undermine our national security.
Finally, everyone should remember that Taiwan is free and democratic.
The people of Taiwan have a right to self-determination.
They shouldn’t have to live under the constant threat of invasion by a communist autocracy.
I look forward to hearing from our witnesses on ways we can work together to strengthen Taiwan’s defenses and improve our own capabilities in the Indo-Pacific.