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China Committee Chair Gallagher proposes Taiwan deterrence strategy, demands Pentagon classified briefing

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EXCLUSIVE: House China Committee Chairman Mike Gallagher is requesting a classified briefing from the Pentagon to discuss ways the United States can work to aid Taiwan in deterrence efforts amid heightened aggression in the region.

Gallagher, R-Wis., penned a letter to Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks, obtained exclusively by Fox News Digital, in which he says the United States needs to build an ‘arsenal of deterrence.’

‘In December 1940, while we were still at peace, President Franklin D. Roosevelt famously called on the United States to be the ‘great arsenal of democracy,’’ he writes. ‘He said it was the ‘purpose of the nation’ to build ‘with all possible speed, every machine, every arsenal, every factory that we need to manufacture our defense material.’’ 

Gallagher said Roosevelt’s call to provide a ‘lifeline’ to allies also helped to ‘arm our own military in advance of and through the years of heavy conflict and ultimately win the war.’ 

‘Today, the United States finds itself needing to rebuild a different kind of arsenal – an arsenal of deterrence,’ he wrote.

Gallagher warns that Chinese President Xi Jinping has ‘ordered the Chinese military to be ready to invade Taiwan by 2027.’

Now, Gallagher is warning that in order to ‘prevent war,’ the United States must ‘quickly remake an arsenal of deterrence that can arm Taiwan as well as our own forces to allow us to prevail in any conflict in the Indo-Pacific.’

Gallagher, however, said the United States’ current ‘struggles’ to meet the significant demand for U.S. munitions in Ukraine, and now even in Israel, have revealed ‘the fragility of our munitions industrial base.’ 

The committee has engaged in war games simulating a conflict with China over Taiwan, which revealed that the United States ‘would run out of long-range, precision-guided munitions in less than one week.’ 

Gallagher warned that the simulation also revealed that the United States would need to fight closer to Chinese defensive fire, and would increase the risk to air and naval assets – as well as the service members who would operate them.

‘With no guarantees that a war in the Indo-Pacific would be limited to weeks or even months, the possibility that we may have to fight for an extended period without the most effective assets in our arsenal is deeply alarming,’ he writes. ‘In addition, significant delays in the deliveries of critical missiles to Taiwan, including anti-ship Harpoon missiles, make it unclear whether Taiwan itself will have sufficient weapons to defend itself and repel a Chinese invasion.’

Gallagher added that ‘rearming Taiwan after hostilities have commenced, as we did with Ukraine, would be significantly more difficult, if not infeasible.’

‘Today’s challenges must force us to adapt and think outside the box. If delays are preventing vital weapons from being delivered to Taiwan, we must be creative in putting together capabilities – using weapons and assets already in our inventory – that we can promptly deliver to Taiwan,’ he said.

Gallagher said if cost and production times are limiting U.S. supplies, he would propose cheaper alternatives that could, instead, be produced quickly, and would complement the more expensive missiles.

‘Two innovative ideas – the ‘MacGyver’ Harpoons and Powered JDAMs – may offer potential solutions to our problems and help strengthen the arsenal of deterrence at this urgent moment,’ Gallagher proposed.

The Harpoon missiles, which Gallagher calls ‘inventive,’ have been used in Ukraine’s fight against Russia.

Gallagher said a ‘MacGyver’ solution, which is using existing components and older Harpoon missiles already in our inventory, may help get much-needed weapons to Taiwan at a ‘significantly lower cost per round.’

‘The United States currently has hundreds of Harpoon missiles that are being considered for demilitarization, destruction, or long-term stowage. Taiwan may be able to use these missiles with a land-based launch system with only minor modifications,’ Gallagher proposed.

‘Missile launch support structures and Harpoon Ship Command-Launch Control Systems could be taken off decommissioned Navy ships. Communications systems and data links could come from existing Taiwanese systems. Power generators and ground platforms, such as steel plates or Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Trucks, could come from either American or Taiwanese stocks,’ he explained.

Gallagher also pointed to Joint Direct Attack Munitions, or JDAMs, which he said were used extensively by the United States in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

‘The ‘Powered’ JDAM – an innovative concept that would allow a standard 500-pound bomb to travel several hundred miles as a cruise missile – could provide a cheaper, near-term solution to complement the more expensive PGMs that take years to build,’ he said, adding that they may be able to attack targets at both land and sea.

Gallagher stressed that ‘reviving and rebuilding an arsenal of deterrence will require a generational investment and mobilization.’

‘At the same time, we must be realistic about how quickly the munitions industrial base will be able to produce our most essential weapons. We must be creative and think outside the box to come up with solutions,’ he said. ‘The urgency of the moment requires nothing less.’

Gallagher requested a classified briefing from the Pentagon next month regarding the agency’s plans it has to pursue the weapons systems he has proposed.

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