DUNFORD: U.S. EDGE ‘ERODING’
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.
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.