Space Force's Vice Chief of Space Operations General David Thompson said China is moving at 'twice the rate' and could surpass U.S. space capabilities by 2030

Space Force’s Vice Chief of Space Operations General David Thompson said China is moving at ‘twice the rate’ and could surpass U.S. space capabilities by 2030

General David Thompson, Vice Chief Space Operations of the Space Force stated that China’s space capabilities are developing at twice the pace of the U.S.

Thompson stated that despite their building, fielding, and updating space capability at twice the pace of us on an average, Thompson believes that they will surpass us very soon if they don’t accelerate our development and delivery abilities.

He said that 2030 was not an exaggerated estimate of the time when China might surpass the U.S. space capability.

CNN’s Kristin Fish moderated the Saturday panel. Thompson was joined by Jim Cooper (Democratic Representative of Tennessee), who is chairman of the House Armed Services Committee’s Strategic Forces Subcommittee. Chris Kubasik, President and CEO, L3Harris Technologies. His defense contractor firm develops Space and Airborne technology.

Lloyd Austin, Secretary of Defense for China warned at the forum that China might have 1000 nuclear warheads within a decade.

In referring to China’s military, he declared that ‘We’ve experienced two decades’ of fast modernization under the People’s Liberation Army. “And China’s military will soon be a competitor in Asia and eventually around the globe to the United States,” he said.

But he downplayed any possibility of a Cold War and stressed diplomacy, deterrence and the need for the US to be able to compete against the increasing economic powerhouse.

The Reagan forum saw the Pentagon chief devote much of his almost hour-long talk to China’s attempts at overthrowing US supremacy in the global order to discuss ‘an increasing assertive, autocratic’ China.


Austin stated that China has made rapid advances in cyberspace and outer space, as well as building its nuclear arsenal.

Austin stated, “Now, we never just assess capabilities, but also our intentions and actions.”

“And leaders of the Chinese Communist Party were increasingly vocal about dissatisfaction about the prevailing order, and about their goal of replacing America’s global leadership position.

Austin outlined the American plan for dealing with 'an increasingly assertive and autocratic' China on Saturday

Austin described the American approach to dealing with China, which was “an increasing assertive and autoritarian” on Saturday

Austin said Beijing was’misusing technology for its repressive agenda in China and exporting the tools to autocracy elsewhere’ 

Many global defense experts are concerned by Russia and China’s rapid military growth. This has led some to believe that the world may be in the midst of a new Cold War.

On Saturday, Austin said that the US was trying to address these challenges and avoid a conflict which could cause devastating ripple effects for millions.

“We do not want conflict nor confrontation.” As President Biden repeatedly stated, “we don’t seek a new Cold War” or a world divided in rigid blocs.

“So, yes. We face a daunting challenge. America does not fear competition. We’re going face this challenge with resolve and confidence, not fear and pessimism.

He stated that instead, the US approach will be deterrence and ‘to avoid conflict’ and ‘to establish commonsense security guardrails.  

He said, “We will always be ready to prevail over conflict” but that America’s defense was rooted in America’s resolve to avoid conflict. 

Armored assault vehicles of the People's Liberation Army fire smoke bombs to test new weaponry on November 30, 2021. Austin said China has been building up its military at a stunning pace

The People’s Liberation Army’s armored assault vehicle fires smoke bombs on November 30, 2021 to demonstrate new weaponry. Austin stated that China is rapidly building its military.

“So we’re actively searching for open lines to communication with China’s defense leaders-especially in crisis. Both between our diplomatic staff and militaries we are working together to decrease risk and avoid miscalculations.

Also, he assured Beijing that America isn’t seeking to form a NATO-style coalition against China and would not force any countries to pick sides. 

China’s ambitions are well-known. China’s President Xi Jinping has vowed to be able ‘fight and lose’ a war on the US.

Austin cited President Joe Biden’s advice that China was the only nation ‘capable’ of using its diplomatic, economic and technological powers to challenge a stable, open international system.

Chinese President Xi Jinping set a goal to be able to 'fight and win' a war against the US by 2049

Chinese President Xi Jinping wanted to achieve the goal of ‘fighting and winning’ a war against America by 2049

Recent satellite images reveal that hundreds more silos are being built in the country, which could lead to nuclear weapons. 

Beijing is already the most powerful fighting force worldwide, with over two million troops in action. It has invested money to expand its arsenal of non-nuclear weaponry including fighter jets and military equipment. 

The US allies are alarmed that the South China Sea has seen an increase in military presence. 

Austin pledged to increase the US’ commitment to these countries. He also increased military exercises with South Korea and Japan, among other things.

In an effort to boost US influence over the Indo Pacific, he also mentioned a variety of defence pacts, including the agreement between Australia and the US to share sub-marine technology. He also mentioned the Indo Pacific Quad, which is an informal alliance among Australia, India and Japan.

Austin stated, “We are building upon a lesson I have learned over forty years in uniform: We’re always stronger when our friends work together in war or peace. 

China flew 27 military aircraft over Taiwan’s airspace in the last week as part of its growing aggression against Taiwan. 

It was just days after China’s military carried out ‘combat readiness’ patrols in the direction of the Taiwan Strait as a US Congressional delegation made a surprise visit to Taipei and offered support to the Chinese-claimed, democratically governed island. 

On Saturday, Austin reacted to the idea of an invasion. 

He said, “I don’t want speculation, but it certainly… It looks a lot similar to rehearsals,”

He stressed that the US continued to act on its One China Policy, which only recognizes Beijing’s legitimacy and not Taipei.

However, he said the US would continue to support Taiwan’s ability to protect itself and maintain our capability to resist any recourse to force that might jeopardize Taiwan’s security. 

“Now, we are working towards deterrence. We don’t want to disrupt the status quo.”

Biden met Xi for a virtual summit on November 23rd, where they spoke about Taiwan’s growing problem and discussed open communication. 

Biden stated to Xi that they had a responsibility for the entire world and not just to their people at the start of the meeting.

Biden explained that this is what we believe, which you and I discussed. All countries need to follow the same rules. That’s why the United States will continue to defend our values and interests, as well as those of our allies, said Biden. 

“If the past is prologue,” I’m sure we will be talking about today’s concerns – in human rights and economics – to ensure a free Indo-Pacific.