WASHINGTON (HPD) — China remains America’s biggest security challenge despite Russia’s war in Ukraine, and the threat from Beijing will determine how the U.S. military is equipped and configured for the future, according to a new defense strategy. of the Pentagon.
While the document released Thursday says conflict with China is “neither inevitable nor desirable,” it describes an effort to prevent Beijing from “dominating key regions,” a clear reference to its aggressive military buildup in the South China Sea and increased pressure on the autonomous island of Taiwan, and warns that China is working to undermine US alliances in the Indo-Pacific and is using its growing military to coerce and threaten its neighbors.
At the same time, the 80-page declassified report highlights the war in Ukraine and says that Moscow is a serious threat to the United States and its allies, with nuclear weapons, cyber operations and long-range missiles. And it warns that as China and Russia continue to grow as partners, they “now pose more dangerous challenges to national security, even as terrorist threats persist.”
A senior defense official, who reported the report anonymously before it was released, said it reflects the first time the United States is facing two major nuclear-armed competitors, Russia and China.
The previous strategy, launched in 2018 under then-President Donald Trump, reflected the fundamental shift from a US military focused on countering extremists to one that must prepare for war against a great power.
The 2022 defense strategy increases the focus on allies as a key element of America’s defense, underscoring the Joe Biden administration’s broader effort to repair relationships with friendly nations alienated by Trump.
The document also speaks of “integrated deterrence,” meaning the United States will use a broad mix of military might, economic and diplomatic pressure, and strong alliances, including its nuclear arsenal, to deter the enemy.
The report concludes that China remains “the most important strategic competitor for decades to come”, while Russia remains an “acute” threat.