Blackwater Training Taiwanese
Defense News (2008-02-12) Wendell Minnick
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BY WENDELL MINNICK
TAIPEI — U.S.-based Blackwater is training members of the Taiwanese National Security Bureau’s (NSB’s) special protection service, which guards the president. The NSB is responsible for the overall security of the country and was once an instrument of terrorism during the martial law period.
Today, according to its Web site, the NSB is responsible for “national intelligence work, special protective service and unified cryptography.”
The NSB came under severe criticism in March 2004 when President Chen Shui-bian and Vice President Annette Lu were shot by an unknown assailant while riding in a motorcade in Tainan City. Both sustained minor wounds, but the assailant was never identified and the motive for the shooting remains a mystery.
An NSB source stated that training began in 2007 and was conducted at Blackwater facilities in the United States. The source stated the NSB was satisfied with the training, and further training programs are being considered.
“The key thing would be to have special operations training for Army, Marines and Reserve units in Taiwan,” a former U.S. government official said.
Over the past 10 years, Taiwan integrated its special warfare brigade with Army Aviation brigades under one central command — the Aviation and Special Forces Command (ASFC). The ASFC brings together the 601st, 602nd and 603rd Aviation brigades, the 862nd Special Warfare Brigade and the new Airborne Special Service Co. trained in counterterrorism operations.
The 603rd Brigade was formed in 2003 with the delivery of nine Boeing CH-47SD Chinook helicopters ordered in 1998.
Taiwan has several other special operations units, including the army’s 101st Amphibious Reconnaissance Battalion (the Army Frogmen), the Marine Corps’ Amphibious Reconnaissance Patrol and Special Service Co., the 47th Special Service Company (Night Hawks) of the military police, and the Coast Guard’s newly created Special Service Co. The Army has also created new sniper units.