US Green Berets who've trained Taiwanese troops explain how they could fight China and why the US keeps their mission secret

During the National Day Celebration in Taipei (October 10, 2021), Taiwanese soldiers were mounted on an armored vehicle. Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Getty Images
It was reported that US troops were being used to support Taiwanese forces amid increased Chinese pressure on Taiwan.

For decades, US special-operations forces have been deployed overseas to help partners defend themselves better.

Although the US has not had an official military presence on Taiwan since 1979, it has been supporting them.

The Chinese military sent over 150 aircraft into Taiwan's air defense identification zone in the first days of Oct., including bombers capable carrying nuclear weapons. Although not considered to be a territorial airspace, it is seen as provocative.

Despite the Chinese aggression, it was reported that US Army Special Forces soldiers as well as Marine Raiders were deployed to Taiwan. They have been working with their Taiwanese counterparts at least since last year.

Since 1979, when the US recognized Beijing as a country, the US has not had an official military presence on Taiwan. However, this doesn't mean that commandos from the US have stopped working with Taiwanese troops. This training has been in line with US policy towards Taiwan.

While training rotations are not usually disclosed, American commandos have been deployed to the region previously to conduct foreign defense or to train allied or partner special-operations and conventional forces, including Taiwanese.

The secret weapon of US special operations

Taiwanese soldiers in a shore-defense exercise as part of a military exercise on September 16, 2021. Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

People think of special-operations troops as door-kickers that can handle the most difficult operations in the most challenging conditions. These units can do this, but they also have the ability to master many other missions that are useful in wartime, competition and peacetime.

The Army's Special Forces Regiment is an exceptional resource for foreign internal defense.

Green Berets' foreign internal defense is their bread and butter. Green Berets work in partnership with local counterparts to train them. They use their language skills and cultural knowledge to establish rapport and provide a more enjoyable training experience.

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Green Berets can build strong professional and personal relationships with foreign units by training them. They could then capitalize on these relationships in the future.

"FID is one part of US efforts in helping our partners prevent lawlessness and insurgency in their own countries." FID is conducted by building the capabilities of military and paramilitary partner," Lino Miani (a former officer in the Army Special Forces and president of Combat Diver Foundation) told Insider.

Some foreign defense capabilities are also available to other units in the US Special Operations Command such as Marine Raiders and Navy SEALs, Air Commandos and Navy Special Warfare Combatant Craft Crewmen.

In Tainan (Taiwan), September 16, 2021, Taiwanese soldiers set up machine guns and grenade launchers for a drill to simulate a Chinese invasion. Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

"We are flexible and can use FID many different ways. Insider can tell you that dive teams can literally set up new units with combat divers. The next team that rotates in-country can also continue that relationship," an ex-Green Beret said.

Other infiltration methods are also possible. The former Green Beret said that free-fall teams could train their men in HALO [High Altitude Lower Opening] and HAHO[High Altitude High Opening] ops. Mobility teams can also work with their vehicle guys.

The Indo-Pacific region of operations has the 1st Special Forces Group, one of seven Green Beret group. This is responsible for working closely with Taiwanese as well as other regional partners and allies. The unit's Green Berets learn the regional cultural and linguistic nuances to help them be more successful. Many have ties to the region that give them another way of relating to the troops they train.

These partners will make it more difficult for China's governments and societies to be subverted. This is both a complicating factor and deterrent for Chinese plans. FID has more capability than the USA in many ways. It places it farther ahead, for longer periods of time, and costs less.

"We would be able do it with our own troops," Miani said. He is also the CEO of Navisio Global LLC which is an international security and business consulting firm.

Rotations such as the one in Taiwan may not be disclosed due to diplomatic fallout or international incidents.

"SOCOM is present in more than 70 countries. The majority of it is standard rotations with friendly countries with whom we have a strong relationship for decades," said the ex-special forces operator. "Other rotations take place in countries where it would be more effective not to advertise our presence for many reasons such as domestic opposition or fear of upsetting other countries that are regional 'top dog'."

War with China

A soldier launches a Javelin rocket during a military exercise, May 30, 2019, in southern Taiwan. SAM YEH/AFP via Getty Images

The US military would have an advantage if it faced a war against China if the US had the ability to use the commando units of allied and partner countries that the US special-operations forces has helped train or stand up over the years.

China's strategic geography is dependent on three rivers and a coastline. This strategic core is constrained on one side by the US 7th Fleet and on the other by ethnic minorities of varying degrees historical hostility on three sides," stated Miani, who was a member of the 1st Special Forces Group.

Miani stated that "any war between the USA & China will occur in this strategic peripheral, but will ultimately be waged for the protection of the core and to guarantee that the Chinese economy has full access to the rest the world," Insider reported.

Allies and partners are united in their desire for peace. They would still be useful allies, and prepared to deal with Chinese forces if they came to blows. This is thanks to their decades-long training with US special operations.

Green Beret units already present in the region's countries will have an advantage in fighting if necessary. This could distract or slow down Chinese forces and give the US and its allies more time to deploy their forces.

Miani stated that the SF Regiment could be America's most powerful tool to draw Chinese divisions away from this purpose. To stop Chinese conquests in certain regions and to prevent unconventional warfare in those areas already ruled by China, FID will be required.

Stavros Atlamazoglou, a defense journalist who specializes in special operations, is a Hellenic Army veteran (national duty with the 575th marine Battalion and Army Headquarters) and a Johns Hopkins University grad.

Business Insider has the original article.