Despite some strengths, Taiwan’s armed forces face dual challenges from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), and from factors not directly related to China. The PLA’s improving capabilities comprehensively undermine Taipei’s strategy of defending the islands. In addition, the three services of Taiwan’s armed forces have a number of vulnerabilities stemming from strategy, funding and conscription, which have constrained the development of Taiwan’s armed forces. Thus, while Taipei will continue to endeavour to strengthen its military, it is less likely that structural constraints will be overcome, unless and until there is a political consensus within Taiwan on the need to defend itself against external attack.