As tensions continue to rise between China and Taiwan, the role of the United States in the region has become increasingly important. With the potential for conflict on the horizon, many are wondering just how many U.S. troops are currently deployed in Taiwan.
According to the Defense Manpower Data Center, as of fall 2022, only 23 U.S. troops were deployed in Taiwan. However, this number does not reflect the full extent of the U.S. military presence in the region. In fact, recent reports suggest that the U.S. plans to send over 200 troops to Taiwan to provide military training to Taiwan’s armed forces. The majority of these instructors, approximately 80%, are from the US Army, and they will be stationed at new training centers and reserve brigades of Taiwan’s Army.
The role of these trainers is to evaluate the current training programs and suggest areas of improvement. Next year, Taiwan has resumed its one-year compulsory service period and will adopt the combat training programs proposed by the US military to prepare for potential conflict with China’s People’s Liberation Army.
While Taiwan has a long-standing relationship with the US military, the current crop of trainers is mainly focused on enhancing the combat effectiveness of the country’s grassroots units. To this end, more than 160 non-commissioned officers with combat experience were deployed to Taiwan.
Their assessments found a gap between the training of the Taiwan Army’s grassroots units and combat tactics instruction, leading to proposals for improved training methods. These instructors are stationed in the main combat units of Taiwan’s Army and the majority go to army recruiting centers and reserve brigades to provide their evaluations and suggestions.
In early April, U.S. military instructors reportedly entered Chiashan Air Force Base in Hualien County to evaluate the safety of the bunkers, particularly those storing fighter planes and ammunition. They then suggested methods to strengthen bunker security facilities to reduce the damage caused by weapons.
Taiwan-US military exchanges are carried out in accordance with the National Defense Authorization Act. The US military has identified flaws in Taiwan’s Army defense plan and proposed starting with the most basic recruit training and reserve brigade training. Thus, the majority of US Army trainers are stationed in Taiwan’s new training center and the reserve brigades, providing suggestions to improve the training of recruits and the teaching and training of reserve soldiers.