China poses ‘the most comprehensive and serious challenge’ to the United States

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The Pentagon identifies China as the No. 1 national security threat to the United States in the latest version of the National Defense Strategyreleased just days after the leader of the communist regime won a third five-year term.

“The key theme…is the need to maintain and strengthen American deterrence with the People’s Republic of China as the stimulus challenge,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Thursday at a press conference on the new document.

Austin noted that President Joe Biden’s National Security Strategypublished earlier this month, describes China as, in the words of the Defense Secretary, “the only competitor that is both intent on reshaping the international order and growing in power to do so. “.

Last Saturday in Beijing, the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of China ended its week-long, twice-a-decade meeting. President Xi Jinping has further tightened his grip by securing an unprecedented third term on Sunday as general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party.

“The third term was not a surprise at all, [but] the extent to which he consolidated his power,” Michael Cunningham, China researcher at the Heritage Foundation’s Center for Asian Studies, said from Xi’s leadership of the Chinese Communist Party. (The Daily Signal is Heritage’s multimedia news agency.)

Xi “succeeded in forcing people to retire early, who weren’t his proteges, and replacing them with proteges, his own hand-picked people,” Cunningham said. “So now he controls, essentially, the entire Politburo Standing Committee.”

The National Defense Strategy, revised every four years, outlines the challenges the United States is expected to face in the years to come, as well as a plan for meeting those challenges.

The first national defense strategy under the Biden administration also calls on the Department of Defense to “act urgently to maintain and strengthen American deterrence” of China.

The strategy says:

The most comprehensive and serious challenge to the national security of the United States is [China’s] coercive and increasingly aggressive effort to reshape the Indo-Pacific region and the international system according to its authoritarian interests and preferences.

[China] seeks to undermine U.S. security alliances and partnerships in the Indo-Pacific region, and to leverage its growing capabilities, including its economic influence and the growing strength and military footprint of the People’s Liberation Army, to coerce its neighbors and threaten their interests.

Tom Spoehr, a retired Army lieutenant general who directs the Heritage Foundation’s National Defense Center, criticized the new National Defense Strategy for “lacking detail on how the United States will deter Chinese aggression. , especially an invasion of Taiwan”.

“While calling for additional ‘asymmetric’ weapons, the strategy says nothing about the urgent need to increase the size of the U.S. Navy and Air Force to counter China’s growing ability to conduct military operations,” it said. Spoehr told the Daily Signal. “The strategy is also silent on the subject of increasing our stockpiles of precision weapons, a need that the conflict in Ukraine has highlighted.”

The new strategy notes that China’s aggressive activity and rhetoric towards Taiwan “are destabilizing, are likely to be miscalculated and threaten the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait”, which are part of the “model of [destabilization and coercion]in the South and East China Seas and along the Line of Effective Control.

The actual control line, as CNN reportedis an “inhospitable piece of land where the disputed border between India and China is roughly delineated”.

The People’s Liberation Army, China’s main military force and the armed wing of the Communist Party of China, has been “expanded and modernized” in an effort to undermine US military advantages, the report said.

The Pentagon strategy also notes that the Chinese military has rapidly advanced and integrated its “space, anti-space, cyber, electronic and information warfare capabilities to support its holistic approach to joint warfare.”

In addressing threats to the American homeland, the National Defense Strategy points out that China and Russia “now pose more dangerous challenges to homeland safety and security, even as terrorist threats persist.” The strategy says:

Both states are already employing non-kinetic means against our defense industrial base and mobilization systems, as well as deploying anti-space capabilities that can target our global positioning system and other space-based capabilities that support military power and everyday civilian life.

[China] or Russia could use a wide range of tools to attempt to impede US military preparedness and response to conflict, including actions aimed at undermining the will of the American public and targeting our critical infrastructure and other systems .

The National Defense Strategy also cites additional threats against the United States, including North Korea, Iran, and violent extremist organizations, or VEOs.

“North Korea continues to expand its nuclear and missile capability to threaten the American homeland, deployed American forces and [South Korea] and Japan, while seeking to create gaps between [U.S.-South Korea] and U.S.-Japan alliances,” the strategy warns.

Iran, according to the strategy, “is taking steps that would enhance its ability to produce a nuclear weapon if it were to decide to do so, even as it builds and exports extensive missile forces, aircraft systems without crew and advanced maritime capabilities that threaten choke points”. for the free movement of energy resources and international trade.

In the same vein, Iran is undermining stability in the Middle East with its support for “terrorist groups and military proxies, employing its own paramilitary forces, engaging in military provocations and conducting operations malicious computer and information,” the policy reads.

He adds: “Global terrorist groups, including [al-Qaeda]Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and their affiliates – have seen their capabilities degraded, but some may be able to rebuild them in the short term, which will require monitoring indications and warnings against the [violent extremist organizations’] threatens.”

Priorities for the Ministry of Defence, according to the strategy, include:

  • Defend the homeland, keeping pace with the growing multi-domain threat posed by [China].
  • To deter strategic attacks against the United States, Allies and partners.
  • Deterring aggression, while being prepared to prevail in conflict if necessary – prioritizing [China] challenge in the Indo-Pacific region, then the challenge of Russia in Europe.
  • Build a resilient joint force and defense ecosystem.

Spoehr of Heritage also said the national defense strategy fails to address “the biggest recruiting crisis” since the start of the all-volunteer national force, in which the military must “reduce its final strength below of what is necessary”.

Spoehr argued that the Pentagon’s strategy “says nothing about how it will bring new thinking to the challenge of attracting young volunteers.”

“What’s even more disappointing,” he said, “is that even though [China] embarked on what is called a “breathtaking” expansion of its stockpile of nuclear weapons, nothing in the national defense strategy or the accompanying nuclear posture review describes how the administration plans to deal with these new developments, except to maintain the status quo.

The Department of Defense did not immediately respond to The Daily Signal’s request for comment.

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