America must optimize forces to avoid losing a war with China, Air Force Secretary says

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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Frank Kendall arrives for confirmation hearing to become Secretary of the Air Force before the Senate Armed Services Committee in Washington, D.C. (Photo by: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

“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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Chinese military participates in training

During a military exercise in China’s Jiangxi province, soldiers quickly get out of their cars and take up positions. (CFOTO/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

“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.

Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall

Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall testifies at the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the Department of the Air Force, which will consider the fiscal year 2023 national defense authorization application and national defense plans for the coming years, at the Dirksen Building. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc, via Getty Images)


“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.”

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