A Pentagon official warned that Beijing has been acquiring weapons five-fold faster than the US, and for a much lower price.
China is building its arsenal of new weapons five to six times faster than the US and at a small fraction of the cost, gaining a strategic advantage that Washington can’t afford to leave unchecked, a top Pentagon official has lamented.
“In purchasing power parity, they spend about $1 to our $20 to get to the same capability,”At an industry conference held in San Diego, Major General Cameron Holt of the US Air Force spoke. “We are going to lose if we can’t figure out how to drop the cost and increase the speed in our defense supply chains.”
Holt, deputy assistant secretary to the Air Force responsible for all weapons procurement, spoke at an event last month that was open only to federal contractors. The War Zone, an online magazine, reported the speech this week.
The general blamed America’s “slow, micromanaged”The US was put at disadvantage by the appropriations system during the Cold War.
“In this environment today, it is absolutely going to kill us,”Holt stated.
For example, an inflexible budgeting process requires officers to know four years in advance what kinds of technologies they’re going to need, and they are legally prohibited from making adjustments to spend the money more effectively during the allocation year unless they go through a cumbersome revision process through Congress, Holt said. It creates “perverse incentives”He said that he would spend as much money as possible, within the strict constraints of the budget.
The US spends more on defense than the world’s next nine largest military budgets combined.
Americans should feel urgent about their issues “great power competition”Holt stated that China has been warring against an international system established after World War II. Even as Beijing ramps up its military capabilities, it’s using economic leverage and fighting an information war to help achieve its long-range goals without “force-on-force”He claimed confrontation.
“They believe that if they can keep their activities short of what we would define as war, I think they can actually achieve all their objectives in flipping the international system to a system of loyalty to the Chinese Communist Party,”Holt claimed. Holt added: “They understand where our deep fractures are, and they understand how to work that.”
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s “Community of Common Destiny”Foreign policy is “extraordinarily effective”Holt suggested that this could change the geopolitical landscape in time. “Could it be possible in a day some time from now that we lose Taiwan in a signing ceremony and our own leaders explain to us why that’s a good deal? You could also imagine the possibility of reunification on the Korean Peninsula in the distant future. . . . Imagine if their sponsorship was Chinese and they were reunited under Chinese sponsorship. What would that look like?”
The general argued that China’s ambition is “an existential threat to our way of life, to the freedoms that our kids may or may not enjoy.”