War is a curious thing to the West. It’s something we watch on the News, talk about with our friends and family, but not many of us actually know what it’s like to have a bloody war in our own backyards.
While Russia deployed 100,000 troops into Ukraine, in a lot of people’s minds, it’s a far off place and people usually have the mindset that such things couldn’t happen in America.
According to Admiral Charles Richard, the head of U.S Strategic Command (STRATCOM), which is responsible for America’s nuclear deterrence and response, said it is important for America to develop the capabilities to defend itself not only from Russia should it choose to attack, but China too.
The Epoch Times reported, that during address to the House Armed Services Committee that:
“Today, we face two nuclear-capable near-peers who have the capability to unilaterally escalate a conflict to any level of violence in any domain worldwide, with any instrument of national power, and that is historically significant,” adding that both countries became a major concern last year in April, but now it “has now become a reality.”
“That need is now an imperative,” Richard said in a dire tone.
The outlet reported further:
In April 2021, he told lawmakers at another congressional hearing that the United States for the first time in history was “on a trajectory to face two nuclear-capable, strategic peer adversaries at the same time.”
Months later, he said the United States was “witnessing a strategic breakout by China,” adding that the Chinese regime’s “explosive growth and modernization of its nuclear and conventional forces” was “breathtaking.”
“Last fall, I formally reported to the secretary of defense, the PRC’s [People’s Republic of China] strategic breakout,” Richard said. “Their expansion and modernization in 2021 alone is breathtaking.”
“Make no mistake; China’s strategic breakout is cause for action,” he said during a speech at the Space and Missile Defense Symposium in Alabama in August.
“What matters is they are building the capability to execute any plausible nuclear employment strategy, the last brick in the wall of a military capable of coercion,” Richard said, going on to reference China’s rapidly advancing hypersonic capability, which is developing to a point where current U.S. missile defenses “may not be sufficient to detect and track them.”
“In 2019, the PRC [People’s Republic of China] test-launched more ballistic missiles than the rest of the world combined,” he said.
Richard went on to note that China is building a new tunnel for their nuclear testing facility – Lop Nur – “China has an active nuclear weapons testing program,”
“You add all this up and what you get is something that is inconsistent with a minimum deterrence posture,” said Richard.
China has only up until recently, had a strategy of stockpiling nuclear weapons to ward off attack and Richard noted that the denial by Chinese officials that they are working hard on their nuclear programs, are meaningless.
“You’ve got to look at what they do, not what they say,” he said. “The breathtaking growth in strategic nuclear capability enables China to change their posture and their strategy.”
The Pentagon has already warned that China has the capabilities to launch as many as 1000 nuclear missiles and according to Gen. Glen VanHerck, head of the U.S Northern Command, said China has not slowed down on pursuing hypersonic weapons.
In November, the Pentagon warned that China could deploy as many as 1,000 deliverable nuclear missiles by 2030.
“They’re aggressively pursuing hypersonic capability, tenfold to what we have done as far as testing within the last year or so, significantly outpacing us with their capabilities,” VanHerck said at the hearing this week.
As for current U.S. military capabilities, Richard expressed optimism.
“I am satisfied with the posture of my forces. I have made no recommendations to make any changes,” he said. “The nation’s nuclear command and control is in its most defended, most resilient lineup that it’s ever been in its history.”