President Biden Announces Pentagon China Task Force to ‘Charge a Strong Path Forward’

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 10: President Joe Biden speaks as Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, left, and Vice President Kamala Harris accompany him at the Pentagon February 10, 2021 in Washington, DC. Biden and Harris made their first trip to the Pentagon to deliver remarks and meet the nation's first …
Alex Brandon - Pool/Getty Images

President Joe Biden announced on Wednesday that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin had briefed him on the creation of a Pentagon task force on China to assess the U.S. military’s policies, programs, and processes on China-related matters.

“Today I was briefed on a new DOD China task force that Secretary Austin is standing up to look at our strategy and operational concepts, technology, and force posture, and so much more,” Biden said at the Pentagon briefing room podium.

He said the task force will work quickly “so that we can charge a strong path forward on China-related matters, and require a whole of government effort of bipartisan cooperation in Congress and strong alliances and partnerships,” he said.

“That’s how we’ll meet the China challenge and ensure the American people win the competition of the future,” he added.

According to a Pentagon fact sheet, the task force will be led by the department’s top official on China, Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense Dr. Ely Ratner, and will consist of up to 15 dozen civilians and military officers from across the department, including policy officials and members of the Joint Staff.

The task force is expected to issue final findings and recommendations to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin by early summer.

It is considered a “sprint” effort, and will examine strategy, operational concepts, technology and force structure, force posture and force management, intelligence, U.S. alliances and partnerships, and defense relations with China, according to the fact sheet.

“The task force will align its recommendations with interagency partners to ensure DoD continues to support the whole-of-government approach toward China,” it said.

“No final public report is anticipated, although the Department will discuss recommendations with Congress and other stakeholders as appropriate,” it said.

Biden announced the task force during his first visit to the Pentagon as president.

He took no questions at the podium, and did not respond to reporters who shouted out two questions about China and recent World Health Organization investigation findings that the coronavirus likely did not originate from a lab in Wuhan, China.


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