Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall warned on Monday that China is strengthening its military in preparation for a potential conflict with the United States, and he stated that the United States must optimize its forces to counter the growing threat.
At the Air and Space Forces Association Warfighter Symposium in National Harbor, Maryland, Kendall stated that the United States must be prepared for a “type of war with which we have no modern experience,” but he emphasized that “war is not inevitable.”
Kendall stated, “Our mission is to prevent this war and be prepared to win if it occurs.” “Everyone agrees that the Air and Space Forces must change, or we risk failing to prevent a war and possibly losing it.”
China is rapidly developing its forces and has created two new military branches, according to Kendall: a force designed to counter aircraft carriers, airfields, and other critical assets, and a strategic support service that works to achieve information dominance in the space and cyber domains.
Air Force Secretary: China’s Two-Decade Plan to Challenge the US in the Pacific
China has been reoptimizing its forces for great power competition and to defeat the United States in the Western Pacific for over two decades, according to the Air Force secretary.
“China has been constructing a military capability designed to achieve their national objectives if the United States opposes them,” he added.
Relations between the United States and China have reached a low point due to escalating tensions over Taiwan, which Beijing views as historically part of the mainland.
The United States has warned that Chinese President Xi Jinping may acquire the island by force if necessary, and President Biden has repeatedly stated that the United States would dispatch troops to assist in defending the island in such a scenario. Washington maintains informal ties with Taiwan and has supplied the nation with advanced armament.
Kendall joins other Pentagon and U.S. military officials in expressing concern over the possibility of a conflict with China in this decade.
“The Air Force and Space Force are incredibly capable, but we need to reoptimize the department for greater power projection and greater power competition,” he said.
“The war for which we must be most prepared if we are to maximize our ability to deter or respond to the pacing challenge is not the type of conflict on which we have been concentrating for many years,” he added.
“If our power projection capability and capacity are not adequate to deter Chinese aggression against Taiwan or elsewhere, war could occur. If it does, and we cannot prevail, the results could cast a long shadow.”
Source: The Hill