Pentagon Pushes for More Funding, Claiming Chinese Air Force Improvements

Deputy Defense Secretary Sees Laser Weapons as Next Big Step

Speaking today at the conference for the China Aerospace Studies Initiative, Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work pushed for more US military spending on weapons research, saying that the Chinese Air Force is rapidly catching up with its American counterpart in capabilities.

Work described China as a rising power, and insisted that interaction with the US, an established power, would likely eventually result in war, saying the US has historically relied on its technological superiority and massive nuclear arsenal as a “hedge” against China.

With the technological gap getting narrower, the huge nuclear arsenal apparently isn’t enough to cut it anymore, and Work urged the US to spend up ways to get that technological superiority back in place, putting particular emphasis on laser weaponry.

Work noted that directed energy weapons could theoretically knock expensive missiles out of the sky for a fraction of what the missiles themselves cost. That’s all true, of course, but exactly how much the Pentagon will spend on getting such weapons working in the first place is unclear, and the Pentagon, as ever, simply wants to fund everything in the hopes that some of that stuff will work out.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.