Multiple top U.S. military officials are sounding the alarm about communist China’s rapid expansion of the size of their military and the advancement of their military capabilities in the domains of space, cyber, land, sea, and air.
“China’s growing military muscle and its drive to end American predominance in the Asia-Pacific is rattling the U.S. defense establishment. American officials see trouble quickly accumulating on multiple fronts — Beijing’s expanding nuclear arsenal, its advances in space, cyber and missile technologies, and threats to Taiwan,” The Associated Press reported. “For now, officials marvel at how Beijing is marshaling the resources, technology and political will to make rapid gains — so rapid that the Biden administration is attempting to reorient all aspects of U.S. foreign and defense policy.”
The report comes after reports surfaced several days ago that China had conducted two hypersonic missile tests which caught U.S. intelligence officials off guard.
Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, addressed the threat that China poses to the U.S. and the latest news about China’s hypersonic missile launch.
When asked during an interview with Bloomberg News last week who he saw as being the greatest military threat to the U.S., Milley responded, “I think it’s China.”
“And I’ve said that publicly many times,” Milley said, “I think, as we look to the future, and I think we are living in a historical epic, actually, where we’re seeing the rise of a country that is unlike something we’ve seen probably ever before. And it’s one of the great historical pivot points, I think, that we’ve ever witnessed, which is the rise of China. And from the reforms of 1979 and Deng Xiaoping, up till today, which is I guess that’s what 41-42 years or so, four decades, they’ve had an incredible economic run and with that they’ve developed a military that’s really significant. As we go forward over the next 10, 20, 25 years, there’s no question in my mind that the biggest geostrategic challenge to the United States is going to be China, that that I have no doubt at all. Russia is important, not unimportant at all. Russia has very significant military capabilities. North Korea, Iran is still there. Terrorists are going to be around for quite a while. But I think China is clearly the most significant geostrategic threat we face.”
When asked about the hypersonic missile launch, Milley said, “What we saw was a very significant event of a test of a hypersonic weapon system.”
“And it is very concerning, I think I saw in some of the newspapers, they, they use the term ‘Sputnik moment.’ I don’t know if it’s quite a Sputnik moment, but I think it’s very close to that,” Milley continued. “So it’s a very significant technological event that occurred or test that occurred by the Chinese. And it has all of our attention, and we’re paying– but that’s just one. That’s just one weapon system. The Chinese military capabilities are much greater than that. They’re expanding rapidly in space, in cyber, and then in the traditional domains of land, sea and air. And they have gone from a peasant based infantry army that was very, very large in 1979, to a very capable military that covers all the domains, and has global ambitions. So China is very significant on our horizon.”
Milley said that the rapid technology advances that China’s military has made changes what he calls “the character of war,” adding “we’re gonna have to adjust our military going forward.”
Four-star General John E. Hyten, the outgoing Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned last week that China’s military progression was “stunning” and that the U.S. must take immediate action to remain the world’s preeminent superpower.
“Calling China a pacing threat is a useful term because the pace at which China is moving is stunning,” Hyten said on Thursday. “The pace they’re moving and the trajectory they’re on will surpass Russia and the United States if we don’t do something to change it. It will happen. So I think we have to do something.”
“It’s not just the United States but the United States and our allies because that’s the thing that really changes the game,” Hyten added. “If it’s the United States only, it’s going to be problematic in five years. But if it’s the United States and our allies, I think we can be good for a while.”
Hyten warned that the U.S. is currently only making “marginal progress” in responding to the growing Chinese threat because “the Department of Defense is still unbelievably bureaucratic and slow.”