Roger Yee is the Global President of Magna Imperium Consulting. Before that, he worked in the US Senate, Pentagon, and most recently led Raytheon International 雷神(台灣) in Taiwan.
A received wisdom in Taiwan is that Taiwan only gets used military hardware, EDA (Excess Defense Articles), from the US. This is a classic non sequitur. Most of the hardware, such as fighter airplanes and missiles, are brand new. More importantly, even used equipment, such as navy ships, has up-to-date software that allows the hardware to perform at its best.
Arms procurement is an internationally competitive business. Taiwan has also purchased hardware from France. Fundamentally, there are two issues for a government in any procurement decision. How much time does it take to build up a given set of (military) capabilities? And, how much does it cost to build imported vs. indigenous ecosystems?
How effective is Taiwan military? For its peace-time missions, Taiwan is a respected member in the region, cooperating with other regional powers and pulling its weight. For its war-time capabilities, the key challenge is how to mobilize appropriate resources in sufficient quantity to hold off its foe.
Unlike the US, there is limited interaction between Taiwan civilians and military. With the transition from conscription to all-volunteer military forces, the ability to retain qualified and trained personnel to ensure Taiwan's military readiness becomes ever more critical.
At a policy level, budgetary pressure and the balancing between competing demands of peace-time missions and war-time capabilities will never go away.