DUN­FORD: U.S. EDGE ‘EROD­ING’

The Washington Times Daily - - WORLD - Con­tact Bill Gertz on Twit­ter via @Bil­lGertz.

ex­ten­sive global net­work of Chi­nese com­mer­cial over­seas ports fa­cil­i­ties to sup­port mil­i­tary power pro­jec­tion.

The mil­i­tary lo­gis­tics net­works for Chi­nese forces will use a com­bi­na­tion of ded­i­cated Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army bases and com­mer­cial ports.

The re­port ap­pears to play down the threat posed by the emerg­ing Chi­nese global mil­i­tary power pro­jec­tion. It states that the Chi­nese will use the fa­cil­i­ties for in­creas­ing par­tic­i­pa­tion in civil­ian evac­u­a­tion oper­a­tions, search and res­cue, hu­man­i­tar­ian and disas­ter re­lief — rel­a­tively be­nign ac­tiv­i­ties.

At the end of the sec­tion, the re­port warns that the net­work of over­seas lo­gis­tics and bas­ing sites “would also be essen­tial to en­able China to project and sus­tain mil­i­tary power at greater dis­tances from China.”

And on pro­ject­ing power, Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dun­ford, chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is­sued a dire warn­ing to Con­gress this week about the de­cline of Amer­i­can mil­i­tary ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

In pre­pared tes­ti­mony be­fore the House Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee on Mon­day night, and again be­fore the Se­nate on Tues­day, Gen. Dun­ford stated that the mil­i­tary’s com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage against ad­ver­saries is “erod­ing.”

“Over the last decade, sus­tained op­er­a­tional com­mit­ments, bud­getary in­sta­bil­ity, and ad­vances by our ad­ver­saries have threat­ened our abil­ity to project power and we have lost our ad­van­tage in key war-fight­ing ar­eas,” he said.

The $603 bil­lion bud­get re­quest for fis­cal 2018 will help the mil­i­tary ful­fill its op­er­a­tional goals, re­build some war-fight­ing readi­ness and move the mil­i­tary to­ward “a path to bal­anc­ing the de­fense pro­gram,” the chair­man noted.

But, the gen­eral warned, “with­out sus­tained, suf­fi­cient and pre­dictable fund­ing, I as­sess that within five years we will lose our abil­ity to project power; the ba­sis of how we de­fend the home­land, ad­vance U.S. in­ter­ests and meet our al­liance com­mit­ments.”

The com­ments are an in­di­rect slap at the poli­cies of the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion that cut de­fense spend­ing by hun­dreds of bil­lions of dol­lars and went along with Con­gress’ Bud­get Con­trol Act that lim­ited the Pen­tagon’s bud­get.

China is de­vel­op­ing an un­der­sea nu­clear strike ca­pa­bil­ity through its new bal­lis­tic mis­sile sub­marines, four of which have been de­ployed so far. The boomers, as mis­sile subs are called, will op­er­ate far from China’s coasts into the east­ern Pa­cific and In­dian Oceans.

The sub­ma­rine op­er­at­ing bas­tions are as­sessed by nu­clear spe­cial­ists as meant for China to have a first-strike nu­clear ca­pa­bil­ity — not the re­tal­ia­tory strike ca­pa­bil­ity that China claims is its lim­ited strate­gic ob­jec­tive.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

North Kore­ans, who honor late lead­ers Kim Il-sung, and Kim Jong-il, are thought to be plot­ting Hid­den Co­bra, an op­er­a­tion in­tended to hi­jack com­puter de­vices for large-scale cy­ber­at­tacks on crit­i­cal in­fra­struc­ture.

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