The U.S. defense establishment is being rattled by China’s growing military power and its desire to end American dominance in the Asia-Pacific. 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.
General John Hyten (the No. 2-ranking U.S. Military officer, who was previously in command of U.S. nuclear forces and supervised space operations for Air Force.
A potential shift in the balance of global power that has favored the United States over the past decades is at stake. While a realignment that favors China is not a threat to the United States, it could cause problems for U.S. alliances with Asia.
Biden administration policy review on nuclear weapons, global troop base and overall defense strategy could provide new indications of how the Pentagon plans to deal with China in the coming weeks.
The U.S. defense system is worried about China’s increasing military and its intent to end America’s presence there. Pictured: Medium-range ballistic missiles DF-17 Dongfeng equipped with a DFZF hypersonic glider are displayed at a military parade in Beijing.
John Hyten, Joint Chiefs of Staff General Vice Chairman, stated that the public should be concerned that China has conducted hundreds of hypersonic rocket tests while the US lags behind
General Milley said that China’s hypersonic missile was’very concerning’ for the United States, but that there are deeper problems caused by China’s military modernization.
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.
China’s latest demonstration of hypersonic weapons was able to orbit Earth partially before returning to the atmosphere and then glide on a path to its target. The weapon system is designed to evade U.S. anti-missile defenses. Although Beijing claimed it was testing a reusable vehicle, not a missile launcher, officials in the United States were surprised by the results.
General Mark Milley, chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated that the test was’very near’ being a Sputnik moment. This is similar in nature to the 1957 Soviet Union launch of the first satellite to orbit the earth. This took the world by surprise and raised concerns about America’s technological progress. The Soviet Union was eventually bankrupted by a nuclear arms race and a space race.
Milley and other U.S. officials refused to discuss details of the Chinese testing, saying they were confidential. He called it “very concerning” but noted that the problems posed to the United States by China’s military modernization are much deeper.
In a Bloomberg Television interview, he stated that “that’s only one weapon system.” “The Chinese military capabilities go beyond that. They are expanding rapidly in space, cyber, and then in the traditional domains land, sea, and air.
An artist’s conception of a hypersonic air-breathing weapon concept missile
China is believed to have conducted two tests of a hypersonic nuke, the first on July 27, and the second on Aug 13. According to observers, the weapon is an updated Soviet concept known as a ‘Fractional Orbital Bombardment System’ (or FOBS). It is designed for evade US radar systems and anti missile defences.
Private satellite imagery from the nuclear front has shown large additions to launch silos. This suggests that China might be increasing its fleet of land-based Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) in the coming months.
Hans Kristensen, a nuclear weapons expert from the Federation of American Scientists says China may have 250 ICBM Silos under construction. This is more than 10x the number currently in operation. The U.S. military is comparable with having 400 active ICBM Silos and 50 reserves.
Pentagon officials and defense hawks at Capitol Hill point out China’s modernization to be a key justification to rebuild the U.S. nuke arsenal. This project is expected to cost more that $1 billion over 30 year, plus sustainment costs.
Fiona Cunningham is an assistant professor of political sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. She is a specialist on Chinese military strategy and says that Beijing’s main driver of nuclear power is its concern about U.S. intentions.
Cunningham stated that China’s nuclear modernization does not give it the ability to strike the U.S. nuclear arsenal. This was in response to the Cold War’s important generator of competition. Cunningham spoke at an online forum sponsored Georgetown University. ‘But it does reduce the effectiveness of U.S. pre-emptive strikes on the Chinese arsenal.
The US, Russia and China are all involved in a global arms race which now includes the development hypersonic missile technology. Here, the MailOnline compares (from left) each country’s main nuclear weapon, the most recent hypersonic technologies they have tested and their most up to date aircraft carriers, main combat tanks, and cutting edge jets
The US is also concerned about China’s continued assertiveness in air- and maritime activity in the region seas. They also raised concerns about the lack transparency in the country’s military buildup, with its budget increasing by three times in the past decade
Some analysts worry that Washington will be tempted to enter an arms race against Beijing as a result of its inability to bring the Chinese into security negotiations. China is also a growing focus of Congress, who supports increased spending for space and cyber operations as well as hypersonic technologies. Trump’s administration initiated a push to increase funding for guided-missile submarines equipped with hypersonic weapons.
The United States has been closely following China’s increase in defense investment for decades and was concerned that Beijing would seek to be a global power. For at least 20 years, Washington had been more focused on countering al Qaida and other terrorist threats to Iraq and Afghanistan. The Trump administration made this change in 2018, elevating China to the top on the list of defense priorities. Along with Russia, it replaced terrorism as the No. There is no 1 threat.
Russia remains a strategic threat to the United States for now because its nuclear arsenal is far greater than China’s. Milley and others agree that Beijing is a greater threat to the United States’ long-term security because of its economic power and rapid investment in military modernization.
At the current pace of China’s military achievements and investment, Beijing will ‘overtake Russia and the United States’ as the world’s largest military power in the next few years. ‘If we don’t do anything to change it,’ Hyten, who is retiring in October after two years as vice-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It will happen.
Biden’s administration claims it is determined to compete with China. It relies on a network in Asia and beyond that can provide a source of strength that Beijing cannot match. This was the core of the Biden decision to exchange highly sensitive nuclear propulsion technology with Australia. This will enable it to acquire a fleet armed conventionally-armed submarines to combat China.
This was a good thing for Australia, but it was a blow to Washington’s oldest ally France. France saw its $66 billion submarine sale from Australia canceled.
Some military experts warn that a Chinese invasion on Taiwan is likely within the next five- to six years. This will force the US and its allies like Australia to defend it.
While the pact does nothing to change the design of Australia’s new submarines, they will be based on existing designs from the US and UK. Above is a cross-section from Britain’s Astute class nuclear attack subs. It is likely that it will mirror the new vessels.
China’s recent claims on control over the whole of the South China sea, which other nations dispute, has raised concerns from Western allies, including Australia, which previously said that war with China over the issue would be possible in the future
Another worry is Taiwan. Senior U.S. military officers warned this year about China’s potential acceleration of its timetable to capture Taiwan. This island democracy is widely believed to be the most likely trigger of a potentially disastrous U.S.–China war.
Although the United States has pledged to Taiwan for a long time, it has deliberately made it unclear what it would do in response to a Chinese attack.
This ambiguity was abandoned by President Joe Biden when he stated October 21 that America would defend Taiwan if China attacked it.
Biden stated, “We have a promise to do that.” Later, the White House said that he was not changing U.S. foreign policy. This policy does not support Taiwanese independence and is committed to providing military arms.