AP

Pentagon chief: US faces pivotal years in countering China

Dec 3, 2022, 1:02 PM | Updated: 1:15 pm

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. (AP) — The U.S. is at a pivotal point with China and will need military strength to ensure that American values, not Beijing’s, set global norms in the 21st century, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Saturday.

Austin’s speech at the Reagan National Defense Forum capped a week in which the Pentagon was squarely focused on China’s rise and what that might mean for America’s position in the world.

On Monday it released an annual China security report that warned Beijing would likely have 1,500 nuclear warheads by 2035, with no clarity on how China would seek to use them.

On Friday in a dramatic nighttime rollout, Austin was on hand as the public got its first glimpse of the military’s newest, highly classified nuclear stealth bomber, the B-21 Raider, which is being designed to best the quickly growing cyber, space and nuclear capabilities of Beijing.

China “is the only country with both the will and, increasingly, the power to reshape its region and the international order to suit its authoritarian preferences,” Austin said Saturday. “So let me be clear: We will not let that happen.”

The Pentagon is also concerned about Russia and remains committed to arming Ukraine while avoiding escalating that conflict into a U.S. war with Moscow, he said at the forum, held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

“We will not be dragged into Putin’s war,” Austin said.

“These next few years will set the terms of our competition with the People’s Republic of China. They will shape the future of security in Europe,” Austin said. “And they will determine whether our children and grandchildren inherit an open world of rules and rights — or whether they face emboldened autocrats who seek to dominate by force and fear.”

Still, between the two nuclear power threats, China remains the greater risk, Austin said.

To meet that rise, “we’re aligning our budget as never before to the China challenge,” Austin said. “In our imperfect world, deterrence does come through strength.”

The bomber is part of a major nuclear triad overhaul underway that the Congressional Budget Office has estimated will cost $1.2 trillion through 2046.

It includes the Raider serving as the backbone of the future air leg of the triad, but it also requires modernizing the nation’s silo-launched nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles and its nuclear submarine fleet.

The Defense Department has the largest discretionary budget of all the federal agencies, and it may receive up to $847 billion in the 2023 budget if Congress passes the current funding bill before this legislative session ends.

However, defense advocates argue it is still not enough to modernize and keep up with China because much of that spending goes to military personnel. The CBO estimates that about one-quarter of the defense budget is spent on personnel costs such as salaries, health care and retirement accounts.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A woman pauses while shopping at a Kohl's store in Clifton, N.J., Jan. 26, 2024. On Thursday, Feb. ...

Associated Press

Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge picked up last month in sign of still-elevated prices

An inflation gauge favored by the Federal Reserve increased in January, the latest sign that the slowdown in U.S. consumer price increases is occurring unevenly from month to month.

12 hours ago

This undated image provided by Mikel Desmond shows his brother Marcus Tessier, who turned up in Dem...

Associated Press

Missing teen with autism found in New Mexico, about 200 miles away from his Arizona home

A missing teen with autism has been found in New Mexico — about 200 miles away from his home in southern Arizona.

13 hours ago

A newly released report on last year’s fatal crash involving a pickup truck and a group of bicycl...

Associated Press

Report suggests steering of vehicle that caused fatal Goodyear bicycle crash worked fine

A new report on last year’s fatal Goodyear bicycle crash has cast doubts about the driver’s claim the vehicle’s steering locked up.

2 days ago

Israeli Embassy...

Associated Press

US airman dies after setting himself ablaze outside Israeli Embassy in Israel-Hamas war protest

An active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force has died after he set himself ablaze outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C.

4 days ago

Biden and Trump to visit Mexico border Thursday immigration...

Associated Press

Biden and Trump both plan trips to the Mexico border Thursday, dueling for advantage on immigration

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump will make dueling trips to the U.S-Mexico border on Thursday.

4 days ago

Arizona and New York attorneys feud over extraditing suspect...

Associated Press

Why Alvin Bragg and Rachel Mitchell are fighting over extraditing suspect in New York hotel killing

Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell says she isn't into extraditing a suspect due to her lack of faith in Manhattan’s top prosecutor.

8 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

...

Sanderson Ford

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.

Pentagon chief: US faces pivotal years in countering China