In News: As the long-range, live-fire drills began with China’s Eastern Theatre Command firing several ballistic missiles, Taiwan said that it was “preparing for war without seeking war”.
The “porcupine doctrine”
- The “porcupine doctrine”, which was proposed in 2008 by US Naval War College research professor William S Murray, is a strategy of asymmetric warfare focused on fortifying a weak state’s defences to exploit the enemy’s weaknesses rather than taking on its strengths.
- It is about building defences that would ensure that Taiwan “could be attacked and damaged but not defeated, at least without unacceptably high costs and risks.
- Dr Zeno Leoni, identifies three defensive layers in the porcupine approach
- The outer layer is about intelligence and reconnaissance to ensure defence forces are fully prepared.
- Behind this come plans for guerrilla warfare at sea with aerial support from sophisticated aircraft provided by the US.
- The innermost layer relies on the geography and demography of the island.
- The ultimate objective of this doctrine is that of surviving and assimilating an aerial offensive well enough to organise a wall of fire that will prevent the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) from successfully invading.
Asymmetric systems of defence
- In its 2021 Quadrennial Defence Review, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defence defined asymmetric systems as ones that are “small, numerous, smart, stealthy, mobile and hard to be detected and countered”, and “associated with innovative tactics and employments”.
- According to Taiwan’s former Chief of the General Staff Admiral Lee Hsi-ming, these systems are “a large number of small things”.
- These asymmetric capabilities will be aimed at striking the “operational centre of gravity and key nodes of the enemy”, it said.
- The geographic advantages of the Taiwan Strait shall be tapped to shape favourable conditions for us to disrupt the operational tempo of the enemy, frustrate its attempts and moves of invasion at decisive points to strike a dispersed enemy with a united blow.
While it remains committed to the asymmetric warfare policy on paper, Taiwan’s defence spending has not evolved swiftly enough to arm itself as per the porcupine strategy.
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Source: Indian Express
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