Air Force Sec’y: China Is ‘More Severe of a Competitor Than the Soviet Union Was’ — I Worry about ‘China, China, China’

On Thursday’s broadcast of “CBS Mornings,” Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall III stated that his concerns are “China, China, China.” And that China is “more severe of a competitor than the Soviet Union was.”

Co-host Gayle King asked, “What do you really worry about as you sit here today with us?”

Kendall responded, “China, China, China. I came back into government after being out for 15 years in 2010. And I observed right away that China was — from the intelligence reports — that China was trying to fuel the set of capabilities designed to defeat the United States in the vicinity of China, to deny us the ability to project power close to the vicinity of China. And, in the last dozen years, they have continued down that path. They’ve been fairly open-minded and innovative, technically reasonably sophisticated. They have identified what they think are the high-value targets for them to attack. It includes things like aircraft carriers, our forward air bases, and our satellites in space. And so, we have a formidable problem there that we have to address.”

He added, “The pacing challenge, as we call it, is China. And it’s because of their military modernization program. They have the resources, they have the strategic intent, and they have the capability and the scale to basically contest the United States’ dominance. We’ve been very comfortable with our position of dominance since the first Gulf War, too comfortable, frankly. I’m — I was a cold warrior. I spent the first 20 years of my career worrying about the Soviet Union. So, I know viscerally what it is like to have a peer competitor. We have one. And if I were to characterize China today, I’d say it is more severe of a competitor than the Soviet Union was.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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