Five Notable Items for Asia Watchers in the [US] National Defense Authorization Act

By Zack Cooper | Allison Schwartz

Zach Cooper, Senior fellow

AEIdeas

December 16, 2022

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2023 authorizes $857.9 billion in national defense spending and includes numerous important provisions related to the Indo-Pacific region. Below are five of the top items related to Asia, followed by a full list of relevant NDAA sections.

  1. Supporting Taiwan: Congress included the Taiwan Enhanced Resilience Act, which includes a number of important provisions to bolster Taiwan’s defense capabilities. If Taiwan increases its defense spending, the act authorizes up to $2 billion per year in Foreign Military Financing for the next five years. In addition, the act provides $1 billion per year in drawdown authority to provide defense articles to Taiwan. The act also requires the submission of reports assessing Taiwan’s defense capabilities, proposing a multi-year plan to address Taiwan’s capability gaps, explaining undelivered arms exports to Taiwan and other regional partners, reviewing Taiwan’s civil defense and resilience, describing a strategy to counter China’s influence operations against Taiwan, addressing Taiwan’s participation in various international organizations, and listing recent travel by officials to Taiwan. Additional provisions authorize funding for regional stockpiling, enhancing training and interoperability with Taiwan, fast-tracking Foreign Military Sales to Taiwan, and establishing a Taiwan Fellowship Program.
  2. Reporting on China: Congress has established multiple new reporting requirements on China’s ambitions, actions, and capabilities. Section 6501 mandates a public and unclassified report on the wealth and corrupt activities of Chinese leaders, including Xi Jinping. Section 5514 establishes a Countering Economic Coercion Task Force led by the National Security Council and requires submission of a report about China’s economic coercion and possible US responses. Section 5515 establishes an interagency task force known as the China Censorship Monitor and Action Group and requires reports on China’s censorship and intimidation of US persons. Section 5522 mandates a report on China’s approach to nuclear escalation dynamics. Section 5523 calls for a report analyzing the impact of Russia’s war against Ukraine on China’s approach to Taiwan. Section 1258 mandates a report on institutions of higher education in China that provide support to China’s military. Section 2854 require briefings on attempts by China to acquire land near US military installations. Sections 1259 and 6526 call for reviews of China’s investments in and financing of port-related infrastructure. Section 6524 mandates a report on China and Russia’s activities in Latin America and the Caribbean. Section 6525 requires a report describing China’s support to Russia. Section 6503 requires an annual assessment of China’s economic and technological capabilities, with a specific report on semiconductor production under Section 6505. Section 6504 extends the annual reporting of China’s “re-education” camps in Xinjiang.
  3. Resourcing the Indo-Pacific: Section 1254 extends and expands the Pacific Deterrence Initiative and adds funding for the Indo-Pacific Commander’s unfunded requirements, including on basing, space capabilities, and naval mines. Section 1087 requires the establishment of a Joint Force Headquarters in the Indo-Pacific to integrate joint domain command and control in a conflict that arises with minimal warning. Section 1252 allows the use of Indo-Pacific Maritime Security Initiative funds for the US Coast Guard. Section 1660 requires an independent review of the integrated air and missile defense architecture needed to defend Guam. Section 361 mandates quarterly updates on plans to establish fuel distribution points in the Indo-Pacific region. Section 1088 requires a national tabletop exercise to assess the resiliency of US critical infrastructure in a contingency involving Taiwan.
  4. Enhancing Regional Relationships: The Congress continues to support alliances and partnerships with a variety of countries in the Indo-Pacific. Section 1260 enhances the US defense partnership with India. Section 1261 proposes a pilot program to develop young civilian defense leaders in the Indo-Pacific. Section 1262 requires a report on the sufficiency of bilateral agreements to support US defense posture in the region. Various other sections express support for US alliances and partnership in Asia and beyond.
  5. Waiting on Appropriations: From an Indo-Pacific perspective, this is the most significant defense authorization bill in years. As noted above, it contains a variety of new initiatives that would substantially bolster Taiwan’s defense capabilities, as well as those of the United States. But many of the key provisions remain dependent on matching appropriations and these are far from assured. If key authorizing provisions are not accompanied by sufficient appropriated funds, this would undermine many of the critical Asia-related initiatives in the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act.
  • Section 360: Independent study relating to fuel distribution logistics across United States Indo-Pacific Command.
  • Section 361: Quarterly briefings on expenditures for establishment of fuel distribution points in United States Indo-Pacific Command area of responsibility.
  • Section 651: Prohibition of the sale of certain goods from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in commissaries and exchanges.
  • Section 1087: Establishment of joint force headquarters in area of operations of United States Indo-Pacific Command.
  • Section 1088: National tabletop exercise.
  • Section 1251: Modification to annual report on military and security developments involving the People’s Republic of China.
  • Section 1252: Modification of Indo-Pacific Maritime Security Initiative to authorize use of funds for the Coast Guard.
  • Section 1253: Modification of prohibition on participation of the People’s Republic of China in rim of the Pacific naval exercises to include cessation of genocide by China.
  • Section 1254: Extension and modification of Pacific Deterrence Initiative.
  • Section 1255: Extension of authority to transfer funds for Bien Hoa dioxin cleanup.
  • Section 1256: Enhanced indications and warning for deterrence and dissuasion.
  • Section 1257: Prohibition on use of funds to support entertainment projects with ties to the Government of the People’s Republic of China.
  • Section 1258: Reporting on institutions of higher education domiciled in the People’s Republic of China that provide support to the People’s Liberation Army.
  • Section 1259: Review of port and port-related infrastructure purchases and investments made by the Government of the People’s Republic of China and entities directed or backed by the Government of the People’s Republic of China.
  • Section 1260: Enhancing major defense partnership with India.
  • Section 1261: Pilot program to develop young civilian defense leaders in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Section 1262: Report on bilateral agreements supporting United States military posture in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Section 1263: Statement of policy on Taiwan.
  • Section 1264: Sense of congress on joint exercises with Taiwan.
  • Section 1265: Sense of Congress on defense alliances and partnerships in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Section 1660: Integrated air and missile defense architecture for defense of Guam.
  • Section 2854: Briefing on attempts to acquire land near United States military installations by the People’s Republic of China.
  • Section 2873: Access to mil installations for Homeland Security Investigations personnel in Guam.
  • Section 5501: Taiwan Enhanced Resilience Act.
  • Section 5502: Modernizing Taiwan’s security capabilities to deter and, if necessary, defeat aggression by the People’s Republic of China.
  • Section 5503: Increase in annual regional contingency stockpile additions and support for Taiwan.
  • Section 5504: International military education and training cooperation with Taiwan.
  • Section 5505: Additional authorities to support Taiwan.
  • Section 5506: Multi-year plan to fulfill defensive requirements of military forces of Taiwan.
  • Section 5507: Fast-tracking sales to Taiwan under Foreign Military Sales program.
  • Section 5508: Arms exports delivery solutions for Taiwan and United States allies in the Indo-Pacific.
  • Section 5509: Assessment of Taiwan’s needs for civilian defense and resilience.
  • Section 5510: Annual report on Taiwan defensive military capabilities and intelligence support.
  • Section 5511: Findings and statement of policy.
  • Section 5512: Sense of Congress on Taiwan defense relations.
  • Section 5513: Strategy to respond to influence and information operations targeting Taiwan.
  • Section 5514: Task force to counter economic coercion by the People’s Republic of China.
  • Section 5515: China censorship monitor and action group.
  • Section 5516: Inclusion of Taiwan in international organizations.
  • Section 5517: Sense of Congress on Taiwan’s meaningful participation in the international community.
  • Section 5518: Strategy to support Taiwan’s meaningful participation in international organizations.
  • Section 5519: Meaningful participation of Taiwan in the International Civil Aviation Organization.
  • Section 5520: Report on Taiwan Travel Act.
  • Section 5521: Amendments to the Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative Act of 2019.
  • Section 5522: Report on role of People’s Republic of China’s nuclear threat in escalation dynamics.
  • Section 5523: Report analyzing the impact of Russia’s war against Ukraine on the objectives of the People’s Republic of China with respect to Taiwan.
  • Section 5524: Expanding United States-Taiwan development cooperation.
  • Section 5525: Sense of congress on expanding United States economic relations with Taiwan.
  • Section 5526: Support United States Educational and Exchange Programs with Taiwan.
  • Section 5530: Taiwan Fellowship Program.
  • Section 5532: Taiwan fellows on detail from government service.
  • Section 5535: Supporting United States educational and exchange programs with Taiwan.
  • Section 6501: Report on wealth and corrupt activities of the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party.
  • Section 6502: Identification and threat assessment of companies with investments by the People’s Republic of China.
  • Section 6503: Intelligence community working group for monitoring economic and technological capabilities of the People’s Republic of China.
  • Section 6504: Annual report on concentration of reeducation camps in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China.
  • Section 6505: Assessment of production of semiconductors by the People’s Republic of China.
  • Section 6522: Report on threat from hypersonic weapons.
  • Section 6523: Report on ordnance of Russia and China.
  • Section 6524: Report on activities of China and Russia targeting Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • Section 6525: Report on support provided by China to Russia.
  • Section 6526: Report on global Chinese Communist Party financing of port infrastructure.

Learn more: 2023: A Year of Living Dangerously | The United States and France: Partners for the Pacific Islands Region? | The G20 Summit: Who Makes the World’s Rules? | The Fundamental Tension in Biden’s National Security Strategy

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