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Taiwan to Create DARPA-Inspired Innovation Unit for Asymmetric Warfare

Taiwan’s new defense minister has unveiled plans to create the country’s own Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) to boost its asymmetrical warfare capabilities.

Wellington Koo, who assumed office late last month, told reporters the unit will facilitate better integration of research on the development of military and civilian defense technologies.

It will combine the resources and capabilities of the state-run National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) with private defense technology companies.

The DIU will operate under the Department of Integrated Assessment within Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense.

Inspired by DARPA

The US has its own DIU, founded in 2015 to help the military make faster use of emerging commercial technologies.

But a report by Liberty Times revealed that Taipei’s innovation unit is actually inspired by America’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

According to its website, DARPA facilitates the development of emerging technologies by working within an “innovation ecosystem” that includes academic, corporate, and governmental partners.

Koo said unlike the US, the small island nation will not have a big budget to achieve these goals.

It will instead focus on investing in relatively mature defense technologies, including unmanned aircraft and ships.

Enhancing Asymmetric Warfare Capabilities

Taipei’s planned creation of its own DIU aims to boost its asymmetrical warfare capabilities in the face of increasing military threats from China.

China, the “third most powerful” military in the world for 2024, views Taiwan as its renegade province with which it must be reunited — “by force, if necessary.”

With the new innovation unit, the island nation is expected to adopt new military technologies “in the shortest time and most efficient way possible” to counter China’s heavy weaponry.

Koo did not include additional details about the DIU, such as when it will be launched or how much money will be allocated for it.

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