Beijing Sprints While America Slumbers

Gen. John Hyten, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was asked in an interview published last week whether the Chinese hypersonic weapons test this summer should be compared to Sputnik—referring to the 1957 satellite launch by the Soviet Union that shocked Americans regarding the Kremlin’s military-technology prowess. Hyten suggested the comparison was not a good one. “Sputnik created a sense of urgency in the United States,” Hyten said. “The [Chinese] test on July 27 did not create that sense of urgency.”

Hyten’s concerns about a lack of American urgency in responding to a growing threat from Beijing are reinforced by a Department of Defense report released on November 3 that makes clear Beijing is sprinting to field modern forces that can defeat the U.S. military. Instead of responding to this alarming news with urgent action, Washington seems to be slumbering.

Exhibit A: The Pentagon once again started the new federal government fiscal year on October 1 without the annual defense authorization and appropriation that helps America’s service members defend our country.

If the United States hopes to field the modern and capable military forces urgently needed to deter and defeat aggression from the rapidly improving People’s Liberation Army (PLA), there is no time to waste. Unfortunately, wasting valuable time is exactly the effect of tardy defense authorizations and appropriations.

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