The Department of Defense estimates that communist China will increase their stockpile of nuclear weapons by at least 500% over the next 10 years, which is just one area of concern for America’s top military minds.
“A new Pentagon estimate says China will likely have ‘at least’ 1,000 deliverable nuclear warheads by 2030 … the U.S. estimated that the country’s atomic arsenal consisted of about 200 warheads just last year,” Politico reported. “For Pentagon planners and the Biden administration, China’s maritime expansion is likewise of concern. The breakneck military buildup has produced a 360-ship navy, pushing well past the 297 hulls that the U.S. Navy operates. The Office of Naval Intelligence estimates that by 2030, China will have 425 ships in the water.”
The report comes after U.S. intelligence officials were caught off guard last month over two hypersonic missile launches from China. U.S. Military officials are concerned about the speed at which China is expanding their abilities in nuclear, cyber, space, land, sea, and air domains.
Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, addressed the threat that China poses to the U.S. during an interview last week, saying that China posed the greatest military threat to the U.S.
“I think, as we look to the future, and I think we are living in a historical epoch, actually, where we’re seeing the rise of a country that is unlike something we’ve seen probably ever before,” Milley said. “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 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.”
Commercial satellite images taken over the summer depict new nuclear missile silo fields being built in western China, which along with new nuclear-capable bombers and submarines, demonstrate the country’s ability to launch nuclear weapons from a variety of platforms, a capability quickly approaching the nuclear triads operated by the United States and Russia. That rapid expansion of Chinese nuclear capabilities comes with a growing uncertainty over Beijing’s strategic policy governing how it might use nuclear weapons in a conflict. …
China has long held a no-first-use policy for its nuclear forces, but the Pentagon report says some recent military writings by Chinese officers suggest the country’s leaders are rethinking that approach. Part of the strategic shift involves keeping nuclear forces on high alert and instituting a “launch on warning” posture. That means nuclear missiles can be launched as soon as Chinese sensors detect an incoming missile, therefore getting them into the air before detonation.
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.”