A top U.S. military commander fears that the Chinese regime is accelerating its plans to supplant the United States on the world stage.
Adm. Philip Davidson, head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, told a Senate Armed Services hearing on March 9 that the Chinese military has been making “vast advances” in both its size and capabilities, threatening the United States in the Indo-Pacific, an area he described as the “most consequential region for America’s future.”
“The military balance in the Indo-Pacific is becoming more unfavorable for the United States and our allies,” Davidson said.
He said the “greatest danger” facing the United States in the region is the “erosion of conventional deterrence vis-à-vis China,” without which Beijing would be “emboldened” to continue its various aggressions in the area, including against Taiwan, Hong Kong, in the South China Sea, and East China Sea.
“Our deterrence posture in the Indo-Pacific must demonstrate the capability, the capacity, and the will to convince Beijing unequivocally the costs of achieving their objectives by the use of military force are simply too high,” Davidson said.
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy is now larger than the U.S. Navy. By 2025, the PLA is projected to have three aircraft carriers in the Western Pacific to the United States’ one, 12 amphibious assault ships to the United States’ four, and 108 modern multi-warfare combatant ships to the United States’ 12, according to INDOPACOM estimates submitted to Congress.
The PLA has the stated goal of becoming a “world class” military by the end of 2049.
Davidson said in light of the Chinese regime’s military advancements and its growing assertiveness in the region, “I worry that they’re accelerating their ambitions supplant the United States and our leadership in the rules-based international order.”
“They’ve long said they want to be that by 2050. I’m worried about them moving that target closer,” he added.
The admiral said the threat of Beijing invading self-ruled Taiwan will manifest “in the next six years.”
Against the backdrop of the PLA’s expansion, the Chinese regime is also engaging in a “whole-of-Party effort to coerce, corrupt, and co-opt governments, businesses, organizations, and the people in the Indo-Pacific,” Davidson said.
To counter China, INDOPACOM is seeking around $27 billion in additional spending from 2022 to 2027, including $4.6 billion in the next fiscal year alone. The proposal includes new weapons and enhanced military collaboration with allies in the region.
Davidson said building a missile defense system in Guam was his “number one priority.” Such a system “would enable 360-degree defense of Guam, from any military attacks from China, whether they come by sea by air or by ballistic missile in the future,” he said.
“Guam is a target today,” the admiral said, citing a propaganda video by the PLA Air Force last year that showed Chinese bombers simulating an attack on U.S. Anderson Air Force Base in Guam. “It needs to be defended, and it needs to be prepared for the threats that will come in the future.”