Now that China is officially the Pentagon’s top priority, US military officials are busy hyping the threat of the Asian country to justify more spending. On Thursday, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley told Congress that China is increasing its military capability at a “sustained rate.”
“We are bearing witness to a fundamental change in the character of war,” Milley told the Senate Armed Service Committee. “In particular, China is increasing its military capability at a very serious and sustained rate. We must ensure we maintain our competitive and technological edge against this pacing threat.”
The idea to compete with China technologically is reflected in the Pentagon’s $715 billion budget request for 2022. The budget requests $112 billion for research, development, testing, and evaluation, known as RDT&E. It is about a 5 percent increase from the 2021 budget and is the highest-ever request for RDT&E from the Pentagon.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin also spoke at Thursday’s hearing and justified the massive budget by pointing to China’s advancements. “The request is driven by our recognition that our competitors — especially China — continue to advance their capabilities,” Austin, a former Raytheon employee, said.
The Pentagon wants to invest in advanced technologies like artificial intelligence, robotics, space capabilities, and hypersonic missiles. Space Force’s top scientists recently said human augmentation to create super-soldiers should be embraced by the US.