Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall has warned that the United States may not be prepared for a potential conflict with the People’s Republic of China.
Kendall made the comments Sept. 11 during a keynote address at the Aerospace Forces Association’s 2023 Air, Space and Cyber Conference.
“The threat of attacks from violent extremist organizations remains, and we will respond to these threats as they arise,” Kendall said. “But China remains a clear challenge to keeping pace with us. ” he said.
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“Our job is to prevent war and to be ready to win if it happens,” Kendall said. “We’re all talking about the fact that the Air Force and the Space Force have to change. If we don’t, we won’t be able to prevent war, and in some cases we might lose it.”
Kendall speculated that the U.S. military has not faced an organized military force from another country since September 11, 2001, leading to a focus and alignment on asymmetric warfare against terrorist organizations. did.
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“For more than two decades, China has been reoptimizing its military forces for great power competition in the Western Pacific and for victory over the United States. “The United States has built a military force specifically designed to do so,” Kendall said.
But the Air Force chief stressed that war is not inevitable and insisted that deterrence is a priority in the coming years.
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“We are looking at all aspects of how the Department of the Air Force is organized and operated and making major changes that reflect the requirements of the National Defense Strategy to deter, and if necessary, defeat, China and Russia,” Kendall said. We need to accept it.” .
He added, “We must ensure that our Air Force and Space Forces are optimized to provide joint deterrence, support campaigns, and ensure durable superiority.”