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US Green Berets reportedly permanently based in Taiwan for 1st time

The U.S. has reportedly stationed special forces in Taiwan to conduct continuous training missions in the country.

Following the implementation of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2023 in the U.S., American military advisors have begun being permanently stationed in Army amphibious bases in Kinmen and Penghu this year, reported UDN. They are conducting periodic training sessions with various Taiwanese special forces units.


Since last year, U.S. special forces have been assisting Taiwan special forces in learning to operate the Black Hornet Nano, a military micro unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), and helping develop guidelines and instructional materials. The Aviation and Special Forces Command has submitted a proposal to purchase the drone from the U.S. through arms sales channels.


The NDAA includes plans for sending officials to Taiwan. Currently, there are no reported plans for civilian officials to be stationed in Taiwan. However, it is reported that the U.S. military’s Special Operations Forces Liaison Element (SOFLE) is expanding its training program in Taiwan.


This involves sending three-person teams from the Army Green Berets, specifically from the 1st Special Forces Group, 2nd Battalion, Alpha Company, to be stationed at bases of Taiwan’s 101st Amphibious Reconnaissance Battalion and Airborne Special Service Company for continuous joint training, serving as resident training observers.


Contrary to the past, when the U.S. military frequently visited the Army Airborne Training Center (now located at a new site in Pingtung) and the Guguan Special Forces Training Center, there were no U.S. personnel previously stationed at these locations.


Since last year, the SOFLE was stationed at Taiwan’s special operations command base in Taoyuan’s Longtan District. All U.S. special operations personnel in Taiwan are under the guidance, support, and control of the SOFLE post in Taoyuan, and it manages high-value equipment or training materials temporarily stored in Taiwan, UDN said.


Su Tzu-yun, director of the Division of Defense Strategy and Resources at the Institute for National Defense and Security Research, was cited by TVBS as saying, “The Green Berets are a defensive type of special forces, employed to counteract enemy infiltration, especially when integrated with Taiwan’s amphibious reconnaissance battalions.


They include the 1st Reconnaissance Company in Kinmen, 2nd Reconnaissance Company in Matsu, and 3rd Reconnaissance Company in Penghu, as well as at the mouth of the Tamsui River.”


In an interview with CNN in 2021, Tsai Ing-wen became the first Taiwanese president in 40 years to acknowledge that there are U.S. troops deployed in the country. This latest news about the Green Berets, marks the first report of the U.S. permanently stationing military personnel in Taiwan.


When asked by Taiwan News to comment on the report, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said the content of the NDAA is aimed at assisting Taiwan in developing comprehensive training and institutionalized capabilities. “Exchanges with foreign militaries will be carried out according to annual plans, and no comments will be made on the details of such activities,” said the ministry.


The MND added that the military will “continue to make concerted efforts to train and prepare for war to ensure national security and regional stability.”

In response to a request from Taiwan News for comment, a DOD spokesperson on March 3 issued the following statement: 

“We don’t have a comment on specific operations, engagements, or training, but I would highlight that our support for, and defense relationship with, Taiwan remains aligned against the current threat posed by the People’s Republic of China. Our commitment to Taiwan is rock-solid and contributes to the maintenance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and within the region. As you know, the United States has a longstanding one China policy, which is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, the Three Joint U.S.-PRC Communiques, and the Six Assurances. Consistent with the Taiwan Relations Act, the United States makes available to Taiwan defense articles and services necessary to enable it to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability.“
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