Amid New Cold War, Congressmen Bet Big on Beating China at Science


Endless Frontiers Act would put $100 billion toward U.S. innovation dominance

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New legislation circulating in Congress would pour tens of billions of dollars into American research and development, in a move that one Republican sponsor characterized as critical to a new “Cold War” against China.

The Endless Frontiers Act would radically overhaul the National Science Foundation, giving it $100 billion over five years to fund innovation in high-tech fields including artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and cutting-edge engineering. That would undo decades of declining federal R&D spending which has been dropping since the fall of the Soviet Union.

Doing so, bill cosponsor Rep. Mike Gallagher (R., Wis.) told the Washington Free Beacon in an interview, is not just about increasing domestic investment—it’s about ensuring that the next generation of world-shaping technology is made in America, not China.

“In my view, playing defense is not enough to ensure that America remains the world’s preeminent leader in science and technology, and that the U.S. and not the CCP invents the critical technology standards of the future,” Gallagher said. “So just as we did at the beginning of the Cold War, in this new Cold War we have to substantially increase the federal investment that’s critical for our strategic competition and national survival.”

The bill—introduced by Gallagher, Sen. Todd Young (R., Ind.), and Democratic counterparts Sen. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (Calif.)—has attracted excitement among former NSF officials and university administrators. Schumer’s support may help move the idea from proposal to the floor of Congress, although some are likely to blanch at the price tag amid a soaring budget deficit.

The bill’s bipartisan basis does, however, signal the growing resolve on both sides of the aisle to not only counter China, but take aggressive steps to curb its bid for global hegemony—a stance for which voters are increasingly agitating.

Endless Frontiers would see the National Science Foundation transformed into the National Science and Technology Foundation, adding a new directorate specifically tasked with spending $100 billion over five years on “fundamental research related to specific recognized global technology challenges with geostrategic implications for the United States.” The bill suggests 10 key areas for targeting, including AI, “advanced communications technologies,” and robotics.

A further $10 billion would go toward the Department of Commerce to fund regional technology hubs, helping to spread the benefits outside of the major centers of private R&D like California and New York.

That money would represent a boost to federal research and development spending, which has declined on and off for decades. Just 9.7 percent of discretionary dollars were earmarked for R&D in FY 2020, according to the American Association for the Advancement of Science. That’s down substantially from the peak of almost 18 percent in 1965, the height of the space race.

Samuel Hammond, a policy expert at the Niskanen Center who has worked extensively on innovation, told the Free Beacon that R&D spending began waning as the Soviet Union imploded.

“The threat of being overtaken by a geopolitical adversary is a great motivator for investments in science and technology,” Hammond said. “While the CCP does not have the same imperial ambitions as the Soviet Union, they do see China becoming a global superpower, and are intent on reshaping the world order. That has reawakened lawmakers to the importance of innovation policy.”

While U.S. investment has flagged, China has moved aggressively, spending big to move from simple manufacturing to complex technological innovation. The CCP’s “Made in China 2025” plan aims to make China a “global powerhouse” in high-tech industries such as robotics, aviation, and information technology.

There is an “almost total overlap,” Gallagher said, between the 10 investment targets in Endless Frontiers and the focuses that appear in “Made in China 2025.” He and his fellow sponsors are concerned about the prospect of America losing the technological upper hand.

“We don’t realize the power it would give them to be able to flip the export control script on its head and use it against us,” Gallagher said. “Imagine a world in which there are no Huawei competitors come 2025 when it comes to 5G, 6G, or wherever we are at that point.”

Although Gallagher seems particularly gung-ho about a standoff with China, the bill’s bipartisan support sends a signal about the broader attitude in Congress. Particularly of note is the backing of Schumer, the Senate minority leader, who is often hostile to Republican initiatives but whom GOP colleagues have called strong on China.

That makes Endless Frontiers part of the broader thirst for anti-China moves in Congress at large. Both chambers, for example, were nearly unanimous in their support for the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020, which compels the president to sanction Chinese leaders for the abuse and detention of China’s Uyghur Muslim population. That legislative push in turn reflects the growing hostility toward China among both Democratic and Republican voters.

Americans, Gallagher argued, need to move from seeing China as a bad actor to seeing it as a new Soviet Union, to be countered in the same manner.

“We could do a lot worse than following Reagan’s strategy for how the Cold War ended, which is: We win, they lose,” Gallagher said. “And if we don’t think that way, we are far more likely to bumble our way into the Chinese end state, which is: They win and we die.”

Source: Washington Free Beacon “Amid New Cold War, Congressmen Bet Big on Beating China at Science”

Note: This is Washington Free Beacon’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


Chinese Naval Shipbuilding: Full Steam Ahead


By Andrew S. Erickson 01-18-2019 03:52:48

In recent years, China has been building ships rapidly across the waterfront. Chinese sources liken this to “dumping dumplings into soup broth.” Now, Beijing is really getting its ships together in both quantity and quality. The world’s largest commercial shipbuilder, it also constructs increasingly sophisticated models of all types of naval ships and weapons systems. What made this possible, and what does it mean?

History and Drivers

China’s shipbuilding industry enjoyed early and inherent advantages that its aircraft industry, for example, notably lacked. Unlike most other sectors, its infrastructure could not be physically relocated far inland as part of Mao’s disastrously inefficient Third Front campaign. When Deng began reforms at the end of the 1970s, he prioritized shipbuilding to support the shipping industry, which helped carry foreign trade, underwriting several decades of rapid growth that has changed China, the United States, and the world significantly.

In 1982, China State Shipbuilding Corporation was formed from the Sixth Ministry of Machine Building. That same year, the Middle Kingdom made its first delivery to the international ship market. Abundant cheap labor and domestic demand buoyed Chinese shipwrights despite a ruthlessly competitive international market.

Shipbuilding’s commercial dual-use nature has long facilitated transfer and absorption of much foreign technology, standards, and design and production techniques. China’s shipbuilding industry has leapfrogged key steps, focusing less on research and more on development, thereby saving time and resources and enjoying the most rapid growth in modern history.

China’s current naval buildout dates to the mid-1990s, catalyzed and accelerated in part by a series of events that impressed its leaders with their inability to counter American military dominance. These include Operation Desert Storm in 1991, the Third Taiwan Strait Crisis in 1995-96, and the Belgrade Embassy Bombing in 1999.

Fleet Modernization

Ships are the physical embodiment of naval strategy—the most essential element through which a nation pursues its goals at sea. China has parlayed the world’s second-largest economy and second-largest defense budget into the world’s largest ongoing comprehensive naval buildup, which has already yielded the world’s largest navy by number of ships. It is making big waves, ever-farther from its shores.

After shrinking to replace many obsolescent vessels with fewer but more modern vessels in the 1990s and 2000s, the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) is now improving in both numbers and sophistication. As China’s maritime strategy has evolved, so have PLAN requirements. In response to this major growth in perceived needs, the PLAN has taken on more warfare areas, with significant improvements across the board. In the 1990s, the PLAN did not have significant strike or air defense capabilities; now it does. To meet high-end, multirole requirements—such as area and point defense in layers—with more missions and greater capabilities, PLAN vessels have grown more sophisticated, and generally expanded. The larger vessels of China’s navy increasingly resemble those of its American counterpart.

Shipbuilding Strengths

Regarding Chinese shipbuilding advantages, it is difficult to obtain specific data. Numbers related to budgeting and process efficiency in China’s relatively opaque defense industry unfortunately remain very difficult to investigate precisely using open sources. The official statistics Beijing releases still do not even include a reliable breakdown for China’s service budgets—such as that of the PLAN—within the overall official PLA budget (itself highly controversial). Because of the lack of precise information available, estimating Chinese ship production expenses logically involves making assumptions about relative costs in comparison to those known for other countries—not an exact science.

Still, the larger dynamics are clear. China has the world’s largest shipbuilding infrastructure, and its development enjoys top-level leadership support, starting with Xi Jinping himself. Commercial production is price-capped in part by China’s relatively stable business and vendor base. It helps subsidize military production, an option closed to the United States given its paucity of commercial shipbuilding. Chinese shipbuilding is greatly facilitated by an unparalleled organizational structure for collecting and disseminating technology, and integrating it into development and production processes at an industrial scale. Moving forward, an important variable is the extent to which China can use its familiar approach of moving up the value chain and parlaying exceptional cost-competitiveness into exceptional quantity at sufficient quality.

China’s effort to exploit civil-military synergies offers both opportunities and challenges. This was vigorously debated by the contributors to the Naval War College China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI)’s Naval Institute Press volume on Chinese Naval Shipbuilding. “Not a good mix operationally—colocation and coproduction are challenging if not counterproductive” was one of the more pointed critiques. Potential civil-military incompatibilities cited include culture, security, standards, design, engineering, propulsion, construction, and timescales.

Nevertheless, dual-use construction is undeniably emphasized in many authoritative Chinese industry policies and publications, and also in the form of a central commission for integrated military and civilian development headed by none other than Xi himself. There is certainly some intermingling in practice, with the greatest manifestation visible in shipyard infrastructure. High-tech, high-value-added, and high reliability commercial shipbuilding—for example, of liquid natural gas (LNG) and liquid propane gas (LPG) tankers, very large crude carriers (VLCCs), high-capacity container ships carrying more than 10,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU), and even cruise ships—can be directly relevant to warship production in a way that building simple ships like bulk carriers is not.

Beijing’s prioritized military sector generally enjoys better funding, infrastructure, and human capital in the form of advanced personnel—such as engineers with long-term experience, as opposed to rapid turnover. The proof is in the pudding: the PLAN is “not receiving junk” from China’s shipbuilding industry but rather increasingly sophisticated, capable vessels. Its growing satisfaction with them is indicated in part by longer production runs of fewer classes.

A more specific question remains: what limitations on high-end capabilities plague Chinese-produced warships? For now, China faces substantial difficulties in fielding the largest, most sophisticated surface combatants and submarines, as well as remaining weaknesses in propulsion and electronics. These all involve complex systems-of-systems in which China’s preferred second-mover piecemeal integration of foreign and domestic technologies cannot offer a “good enough” result. China’s aircraft carrier program offers a prime example.

Deck Aviation Challenges

With regard to aircraft carrier development, China has come a long way but has still has further to go. The appeal is clear: these apex predators of the sea are also the most modularized naval system, one of the few ships that are relatively easy to upgrade over a considerable lifespan. But given difficulties inherent in improving marine and aviation propulsion, power, and launch technologies, an evolutionary “crawl, walk, run” trajectory seems likely for China’s aircraft carrier program.

This remains very much a work in progress: the PLAN is still “crawling” and not even “walking” yet. China has already shown that it can build decent carrier hulls. But deck aviation platforms are primarily a conveyance for aircraft-delivered payloads. And there is “no such thing as a free launch.” Payload delivery is essential to a fleet’s performance; so too is having infrastructure sufficient to support and sustain it. China’s first carrier, Liaoning, is designed for air defense, not strike. It offers a very modest extension of air defense: getting a Flanker-type aircraft like the J-15 beyond its unrefueled range from a land-based airfield.

The PLAN faces formidable challenges in such areas as electronics, maritime monitoring, and command; control; communications; computers; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR). All are often underappreciated due to their subtlety and ubiquity of employment, but are nonetheless essential for robust deck aviation operations. They may be less amenable to China’s preferred approach of copying and emulation than are simpler structural systems. Chinese personnel are improving markedly in their training, but need to become still more proficient in the hard-to-steal “tribal knowledge” of coordinating operations and using equipment, including shipboard electronics.

With far greater launching power than Liaoning’s ski jump, catapults will enable larger aircraft and payloads, delivering the PLAN to deck aviation’s “walking” stage. Deploying heavier airborne early warning aircraft will improve situational awareness. “Running,” as China perceives it, would require a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier with an electromagnetic launch system—the latter of which the United States is still struggling to perfect.

Carrier Group Assembly

China is gradually strengthening its ability to project significant power into distant waters by increasingly fielding the components of an aircraft carrier group. Sustaining a carrier group at sea requires replenishment vessels. Protecting a carrier group requires surface combatants with robust air defenses and offensive missiles as well as nuclear-powered submarines with potent anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCMs).

To improve at-sea replenishment, China is currently building theType 901 integrated supply ship, which can furnish fuel, food, and some spare parts. It remains limited in ability to transfer ordnance, its biggest difference from the U.S. Supply class. It is already more than adequate for furnishing air-to-air missiles for Liaoning. It could be refitted with more dry transfer stations to increase ordnance transfer capability—a useful indicator to watch for, which would suggest intent to emulate the United States in long-distance power projection.

As for protection and coordination, the Type 055 cruiser, if it has the command and control facilities described in open sources, will be the centerpiece of future Chinese carrier groups —able to organize other ships somewhat like a U.S. Aegis cruiser does. With 112 vertical launch cells (VLS), this large multi-mission vessel has more than double the missile capacity of any previous PLAN surface combatant. Its VLS loadouts of HHQ-9 surface-to-air missiles suggest great capacity for area air defense, its loadouts of YJ-18 ASCMs offer a significant anti-surface warfare capability, its loadouts of CJ-10 land-attack cruise missiles suggest a nascent potential for projecting power ashore, and its Yu-8 rocket-assisted torpedoes offer an antisubmarine warfare (ASW) capability.

Most navies with aircraft carriers do not protect them with robust submarines, but if China is to approach the American gold standard that it so clearly admires, and to which it apparently aspires, it will have to improve its nuclear-powered submarines, which are needed to allow for a full range of long-distance undersea operations. Even with a towed sonar array, China’s 093A nuclear-powered attack submarine remains at a significant disadvantage in being able to detect, and if necessary, attack enemy submarines while remaining undetected itself. It is still primarily an anti-surface ship platform with torpedo-tube-fireable YJ-18 ASCMs and a relatively noisy reactor, particularly in the secondary loop. Major work remains for China to project distant undersea power.

Near Seas Operational Scenarios

Closer to China’s shores, there is limited value for Chinese carrier operations, given their relative vulnerability and the potential for a highly-contested environment. But China’s shipbuilding industry has already produced a fleet of several hundred increasingly advanced warships capable of “flooding the zone” along the contested East Asian littoral, including increasingly large amphibious vessels well-suited to landing on disputed features, if they can be protected sufficiently. This is also where China’s large, conventionally-powered submarine fleet can be particularly deadly. When several hundred easy-and-cheap-to-build ships from China’s coast guard and its most advanced maritime militia units are factored in, Beijing’s numerical preponderance becomes formidable for the “home game” scenarios it cares about most. And that does not even include the land-based “anti-navy” of aircraft and missiles that backstops them. In this way, Beijing is already able to pose aformidable military-maritime challenge to the regional interests and security of the United States and its East Asian allies and partners.

Trends and Implications

China’s naval buildup is only part of an extraordinary maritime transformation—modern history’s sole example of a land power becoming a hybrid land-sea power and sustaining such an exceptional status. Underwriting this transition are a vast network of ports, shipping lines and financial systems, and—of course—increasingly advanced ships. All told, this raises the rare prospect of a top-tier non-Western sea power in peacetime, one of the few instances to occur since the Ming Dynasty developed cutting-edge nautical technologies and briefly projected unrivaled maritime power across the Indian Ocean. Now, for the first time in six centuries, commercial sea power development has flowed away from the Euro-Atlantic shipyards of the West, back toward an Asian land power that is going seaward to stay. Military sea power may be poised to follow.

Beijing is pursuing a requirements-based approach:

developing a strategy

applying that strategy

and building and deploying a fleet accordingly

The PLAN’s transition from a “Near Seas” to a “Near and Far Seas” navy is dispersing its fleet over greater distances, making it more difficult to protect and support, as well as requiring enhanced logistics and facilities access.

Some of the most important and challenging requirements include:

– long endurance propulsion—especially nuclear power, the ultimate “gold standard”

– area air defenses for surface combatants and emerging carrier groups

– land-attack and strike warfare, including from deck aviation assets

– ASW

– acoustic quieting for submarines, to help them both survive being targeted in deeper blue-water environments, and search more effectively without limitation by self-generated noise

– and, finally, broad-coverage C4ISR

China has started to pursue all these objectives, but it will take years before it fully accomplishes them.

Already, however, Chinese ship-design and shipbuilding advances are increasing the PLAN’s ability to contest sea control in a widening arc of the Western Pacific. China is producing two to three surface combatants for every one the United States produces. If current trends continue, China will be able to deploy a combat fleet that in overall order of battle (meaning, hardware-specific terms) is quantitatively larger and qualitatively on par with that of the U.S. Navy by 2030.

Whether China can stay on this trajectory, given looming maintenance costs and downside risks to its economy as it faces an S-curved growth slowdown, is another question. It is a question that is linked to many other uncertainties about China’s future. China under Xi is becoming increasingly statist and militarized, thereby suggesting that naval shipbuilding will not suffer for lack of resources even as debt continues to spiral upward in state-owned enterprises. China’s very capable shipbuilding industry is closing remaining gaps with its Japanese and Korean rivals, even as Korean shipbuilders suffer unprofitability and rapidly-declining order books. However, China faces continued challenges in overcapacity and an aging workforce.

Moreover, a major mid-life maintenance bill for the overhauls of all new PLAN vessels will start coming due in the next 5-10 years. This will demand considerable resources—in money and shipyard space, with production and maintenance in potential competition. By then, China’s aging society may reorient resource allocation by stimulating “guns vs. butter,” and even “guns vs. canes” debates. The true long-term cost of sustaining top-tier sea power tends to eventually outpace economic growth by a substantial margin. For all its rapid rise at sea thus far, China is unlikely to avoid such challenging currents.

Dr. Andrew S. Erickson is a Professor of Strategy in the China Maritime Studies Institute and the recipient of the inaugural Civilian Faculty Research Excellence Award at the Naval War College. He serves on the Naval War College Review’s Editorial Board and is an Associate in Research at Harvard University’s John King Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies. Erickson blogs at http://www.andrewerickson.com.

The views expressed here are his alone and do not represent the policies or estimates of the U.S. Navy or any other organization of the U.S. government.

This editorial appears courtesy of CIMSEC and may be found in its original form here.

The opinions expressed herein are the author’s and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.

Source; Maritime Executive “Chinese Naval Shipbuilding: Full Steam Ahead”

Note: This is Maritime Executive’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


US Ban Unable to Kill Huawei


Asia Times’ article “South Korea is the pivot in the Huawei wars” says that as South Korea’s chip supplies to Huawei double that of US ones and as South Korea uses Dutch Extreme Ultra-Violet (EUV) lithography machines to produce 5- and 7-nanometer chips for Huawei, US ban simply cannot cut Huawei’s chip supplies from South Korea.

The US does not produce such highly advanced machines. Its ban can only stop Taiwan TSMC’s supplies of chips to Huawei as TSMC uses US equipment to produce chips for Huawei. Such ban will only cause TSMC to lose its business to South Korea.

The article says “A missing element in Washington’s campaign to stave off Chinese dominance in Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies is research and development at home”. “During the Reagan years, federal subsidies for basic R&D amounted to 1.4% of GDP, nearly double today’s level. Washington wants to throw its weight around without spending the money required to bulk up. That could end badly.”

According to the article due to the lack of R&D, though the US has succeeded in making TSMC set up a $12 billion chip plant in the US, by 2024 when the plant has been put into operation its 7-nanometer technology will be outdated as 3- and 5-nanometer technology will prevail by that time.

Moreover, according to the article, China’s SMIC ha claimed that it will have 7-nanometer capability by year-end. If so Huawei will be able to get chip supplies at home.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Asian Times’ article, full text of which can be viewed at https://asiatimes.com/2020/05/south-korea-is-the-pivot-in-the-huawei-wars/


The F-22 imperative


By: David A. Deptula and Douglas Birkey, Mitchell Institute

The loss of an F-22 Raptor during a training flight on May 15 serves as a wake-up call regarding the size of the Raptor inventory.

Tunnel vision over a decade ago related to counterinsurgency operations in Afghanistan and Iraq saw the nation buy too few F-22s, with just 187 purchased versus the 381 official military requirement. Now, with those wars largely in the rear-view mirror and a new National Defense Strategy, the capability attributes afforded by the F-22 are more important than ever.

These 5th generation stealth aircraft are the crown jewels in the nation’s military arsenal. The recent crash reinforces the need to double down on the F-22 force by fully funding necessary upgrades. No other capability — U.S. or foreign — will come close to the F-22 for years into the future. It is important that budget and inventory management decisions mirror that reality.

The F-22’s primary mission is to secure air superiority — a condition vital for any successful military operation. While the aircraft can also strike targets on the ground with great precision, and conduct intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance inside contested airspace, at its heart the Raptor will remain an air-to-air champion. Because of its vast array of capabilities — not all known — the F-22 is our nation’s greatest conventional deterrent. While the current force size is small relative to other fighter forces, the F-22 has — at a minimum — an order of magnitude greater effect than any other fighter in the world.

The F-22 is a fundamentally unique airplane due to the unparalleled integration of stealth, sensor technology, processing power, and unrivaled flight performance. While many fighters have some elements of this mix, none possess the total package afforded by the F-22. Stealth makes it exceedingly difficult for an enemy to close the kill chain. Sensors and processing power allow it to understand the battlespace with tremendous acumen — allowing F-22s to be at the right place and time to achieve desired effects while minimizing vulnerabilities. Its flight characteristics of speed and maneuverability are simply unequaled by any other aircraft. Anyone questioning the value of the F-22 should consider why friends and foes alike are all pursuing options to develop like-capabilities — they are game-changing.

The fact that the nation needs more F-22s is not rocket science. However, since the F-22 production line closed years ago, this is not a feasible option. Ensuring the F-35 — a plane designed to complement the F-22 with a greater focus on ground attack — does not repeat this same mistake is certainly an important lesson. That aircraft is also an essential investment in our aerial arsenal. In fact, a greater F-35 annual buy-rate becomes more important given the small F-22 force. Future next generation air dominance concepts must also proceed. However, COVID-19-related budget pressures are likely going to delay meaningful advancement in this regard. Plans that exist at the PowerPoint level and theoretical operational concepts must not be confused with concrete capabilities that are able to meet current and future challenges. Further investments in aging designs like the F-16 and F-15, originally designed a half a century ago, simply fail to meet modern requirements. While these aircraft will remain an important part of the inventory out of necessity, their operational utility will diminish given they do not address the challenges that will increasingly dominate the security environment.

This leaves the F-22 as the nation’s keystone air superiority capability. Adversaries respect the aircraft and that is precisely why they are regularly deployed as a signal of resolve. If conflict erupts, F-22s will be at the forefront of operations. This places an extreme imperative upon funding Raptor upgrades to ensure they remain viable for years into the future. The most cost-effective way to increase the capacity of the F-22 force is to upgrade the 33 older block 20 F-22s used for training and test to full combat capability. This effects-based option would result in an additional squadron of F-22s for a minuscule fraction of the cost of attaining 5th generation fighter capacity any other way. For those who focus on cost, are they prepared to pay the price of not having the entire F-22 force at its peak potential? That bill would be measured in strategic objectives surrendered, significant force attrition, and lives lost.

Canceling the F-22’s production with half the military requirement unmet was a tragedy whose impact will be felt for years. However, that is runway behind us. What matters now is how we make the most of the F-22s we do have. Upgrading the older block 20 force of F-22s to full combat capability will deliver a very clear message to potential adversaries. It all comes down to real capability and capacity with the F-22s we possess. Let’s optimize that number. The security challenges of today and tomorrow demand nothing less.

Source: Defense News “The F-22 imperative”

Note: This is Defense News’ article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


China’s president calls for long-term perspective to deal with economic challenges


May 27, 2020

Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for a long-term perspective to deal with the current difficulties, risks and challenges facing China’s economy and to boost confidence in the country’s development.

BEIJING — Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for a long-term perspective to deal with the current difficulties, risks and challenges facing China’s economy and to boost confidence in the country’s development.

The country’s huge economic potential is unchanged despite the challenges ahead, and the government has numerous policy tools to promote economic development, China Daily quoted him as saying at a recent high-level conference.

Xi, who is also General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairperson of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks while joining political advisers from the economic sector at a panel discussion during the third session of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

He stressed that it is necessary to take active measures to enhance confidence in the whole of society, and particularly among market players, and to consolidate China’s economic stability and good long-term development.

Xi pointed out that China’s economy faces great pressure due to the new coronavirus outbreak, along with many other structural, systematic and periodic problems.

China also faces a great number of international challenges including the world economic recession, the sharp decrease in global trade and investment, global financial market turbulence, restrictions on global travel, setbacks to economic globalization, the protectionism of some countries and rising geopolitical risks, the president said.

China has to pursue its development in a more unstable and uncertain world, he added.

Xi expressed confidence in China’s economic growth, saying that the country has the largest industrial system in the world and a great productive capacity.

He stressed the importance of promoting scientific innovation, accelerating the development of strategic industries, including the digital economy, intelligent manufacturing and new materials for people’s daily life and health, and creating more engines to drive economic growth. — WAM

Source: Saudi Gazette “China’s president calls for long-term perspective to deal with economic challenges”

Note: This is Saudi Gazette’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


“Prepare For Worst-Case Scenarios”: Xi Jinping To Chinese Military


By Business League – May 27, 2020

Xi Jinping’s comments came amid a face-off between the militaries of India and China at the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

Beijing: Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday ordered the military to scale up the

battle preparedness, visualising the worst-case scenarios and asked them to resolutely defend the country’s sovereignty. Though he did no mention any specific threat, his comments came amid a face-off between soldiers of India and China at the Line of Actual Control (LAC).Xi, 66 who is also the General Secretary of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) and head of the two-million-strong military with prospects of lifelong tenure in power, made the remarks while attending a plenary meeting of the delegation of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and People’s Armed Police Force during the current parliament session being held in Beijing.

Xi ordered the military to think about worst-case scenarios, scale up training and battle preparedness, promptly and effectively deal with all sorts of complex situations and resolutely safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests, state-run Xinhua news agency reported, without mentioning any specific issues that posed a threat to the country.

Several areas along the LAC in Ladakh and North Sikkim have witnessed major military build-up by both the Indian and Chinese armies recently, in a clear signal of escalating tension and hardening of respective positions by the two sides even two weeks after they were engaged in two separate face-offs. The nearly 3,500-km-long LAC is the de-facto border between the two countries.

China’s military friction with the US has also been on the rise with the American navy stepping its patrols in the disputed South China Sea as well as the Taiwan Straits. Washington and Beijing are also engaged in a war of words over the origin of the coronavirus pandemic.

On May 22, China, the second-largest military spender after the US, hiked its defence budget by 6.6 per cent to $179 billion, nearly three times that of India, the lowest increment in recent years amidst the massive disruption caused to the communist giant’s economy by the COVID-19 pandemic.

India has said the Chinese military was hindering normal patrolling by its troops along the LAC in Ladakh and Sikkim and strongly refuted Beijing’s contention that the escalating tension between the two armies was triggered by trespassing of Indian forces across the Chinese side.

The Ministry of External Affairs said all Indian activities were carried out on its side of the border, asserting that India has always taken a very responsible approach towards border management. At the same time, it said, India was deeply committed to protect its sovereignty and security.

Any suggestion that Indian troops had undertaken activity across the LAC in the Western sector or the Sikkim sector is not accurate. Indian troops are fully familiar with the alignment of the Line of Actual Control in the India-China border areas and abide by it scrupulously,” MEA Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said at an online media briefing last week.

(With inputs from PTI)

Source: Business League ““Prepare For Worst-Case Scenarios”: Xi Jinping To Chinese Military”

Note: This is Business League’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


The US Air Force’s Next Generation Air Dominance program is key to mission success


By: Lt. Gen. David Deptula (ret.) and Doug Birkey   July 24, 2019

Air superiority — the ability to deny enemy forces access to key portions of the sky — is a bedrock mission within the U.S. Department of Defense. The viability of soldiers on the ground, ships at sea, space and cyber installations, other military aircraft, logistics lines, and command-and-control facilities are fundamentally dependent on this mission. Budget cuts enacted by the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee targeting the Air Force’s Next Generation Air Dominance, or NGAD, program are putting the future of the nation’s air superiority at risk.

As the Office of Management and Budget recently explained: “This fifty percent reduction in funding would result in a three-year slip in advanced development timelines and the cancellation of critical new production technology programs.”

America’s air-superiority capability is exceedingly fragile. The vast percentage of this mission is executed by the Air Force, which saw its fighter aircraft inventory cut by over half in the years after the Cold War — from 3,206 F-4D/Es, F-15A/Cs and F-16A/ Cs in 1990 to roughly 1,753 F-15Cs, F-15Es, F-16s, F-22s and F-35s today.

New fighter programs like the F-22 were prematurely canceled and F-35 full-rate production was delayed for far too long. The result is increasingly geriatric airframes dating from the Nixon, Carter and Reagan administrations on flight lines today, far past their intended service lives.

During this same period, the combat-demand signal for these aircraft increased — starting with Operation Desert Storm, extending through the no-fly zones over southern and northern Iraq, campaigns in Bosnia and Kosovo, and then nearly two decades’ worth of nonstop deployments to the Mideast, extending the time the Air Force has been in nonstop combat operations to 28 years. Meeting this sustained tempo with an increasingly limited supply of aging aircraft pushed pilots and support personnel to the brink. The resulting circumstances present severe risk for the nation — especially with Russia, China, Iran, North Korea and other significant threats on the rise.

The NGAD program is especially crucial for the Air Force and the Department of Defense writ large because it will allow a clean-sheet approach to merge the demands of securing air superiority with the attributes necessary to prevail in the information age. Every aircraft sitting on an Air Force ramp today was designed before the smartphone revolutionized the world through redefining the way in which people gather, process and share information. These same trends have had a profound impact on modern combat operations.

Just as a landline is of increasingly diminishing value, so too are the vast percentage of aircraft that currently comprise the Air Force’s fighter aircraft inventory. With the F-22 and F-35 standing out as exceptions, over 80 percent of the service’s fighter aircraft are based upon designs from the late 1960s and early 1970s. This is precisely why Air Force leaders in written testimony to Congress explained that “to meet emerging worldwide threats across the spectrum of conflict … the cornerstone of the Air Force [must be a] shift from 4th/5th-generation to a 5th/6th-generation fleet.”

Considering that the Air Force bought too few F-22s and circumstances have significantly delayed planned F-35 buys, the NGAD program represents a crucial need to reset the nation’s air-superiority force. Design concepts are still classified, but it is expected that stealth-enabled survivability, advanced electronic warfare capabilities, robust sensors, processing power and the ability to share data in a real-time, collaborative fashion will stand as key attributes.

It is also highly likely that NGAD will not be one specific aircraft. It will likely comprise an integrated system of manned and unmanned aircraft that will integrate networked teaming to deliver desired mission effects.

Regardless of the system specifics, it is crucial that the NGAD program move ahead as scheduled. As then-Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson and Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. David Goldfein explained at a Capitol Hill hearing: “Our military advantages and readiness [shrank] due to the longest continuous stretch of combat in our nation’s history, coupled with years of inconsistent and insufficient funding. At the same time, our strategic competitors, notably China and Russia, have closed gaps in capability and capacity. The result is an overstretched and under resourced United States Air Force.” NGAD is essential to help redress these risk-laden circumstances.

While some may question the cost of the program, it is important to consider a different question: What is the cost of not securing the sky? Victory is simply impossible without it, and countless lives would be at risk. Taken in that light, the Defense Subcommittee’s 50 percent cut to this program stands as the truly unaffordable path forward.

Source: Defense News “The US Air Force’s Next Generation Air Dominance program is key to mission success”

Note: This is Defense News’ article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


Report to Congress on Chinese Naval Modernization


May 26, 2020 8:28 AM

The following is the May 21, 2020 Congressional Research Service Report, China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities—Background and Issues for Congress.

In an era of renewed great power competition, China’s military modernization effort, including its naval modernization effort, has become the top focus of U.S. defense planning and budgeting. China’s navy, which China has been steadily modernizing for more than 25 years, since the early to mid-1990s, has become a formidable military force within China’s near-seas region, and it is conducting a growing number of operations in more-distant waters, including the broader waters of the Western Pacific, the Indian Ocean, and waters around Europe. China’s navy is viewed as posing a major challenge to the U.S. Navy’s ability to achieve and maintain wartime control of blue-water ocean areas in the Western Pacific—the first such challenge the U.S. Navy has faced since the end of the Cold War—and forms a key element of a Chinese challenge to the long-standing status of the United States as the leading military power in the Western Pacific.

China’s naval modernization effort encompasses a wide array of platform and weapon acquisition programs, including anti-ship ballistic missiles (ASBMs), anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCMs), submarines, surface ships, aircraft, unmanned vehicles (UVs), and supporting C4ISR (command and control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance) systems. China’s naval modernization effort also includes improvements in maintenance and logistics, doctrine, personnel quality, education and training, and exercises.

China’s military modernization effort, including its naval modernization effort, is assessed as being aimed at developing capabilities for addressing the situation with Taiwan militarily, if need be; for achieving a greater degree of control or domination over China’s near-seas region, particularly the South China Sea; for enforcing China’s view that it has the right to regulate foreign military activities in its 200-mile maritime exclusive economic zone (EEZ); for defending China’s commercial sea lines of communication (SLOCs), particularly those linking China to the Persian Gulf; for displacing U.S. influence in the Western Pacific; and for asserting China’s status as the leading regional power and a major world power.

Consistent with these goals, observers believe China wants its navy to be capable of acting as part of a Chinese anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) force—a force that can deter U.S. intervention in a conflict in China’s near-seas region over Taiwan or some other issue, or failing that, delay the arrival or reduce the effectiveness of intervening U.S. forces. Additional missions for China’s navy include conducting maritime security (including antipiracy) operations, evacuating Chinese nationals from foreign countries when necessary, and conducting humanitarian assistance/disaster response (HA/DR) operations.

The U.S. Navy in recent years has taken a number of actions to counter China’s naval modernization effort. Among other things, the U.S. Navy has shifted a greater percentage of its fleet to the Pacific; assigned its most-capable new ships and aircraft and its best personnel to the Pacific; maintained or increased general presence operations, training and developmental exercises, and engagement and cooperation with allied and other navies in the Indo-Pacific; increased the planned future size of the Navy; initiated, increased, or accelerated numerous programs for developing new military technologies and acquiring new ships, aircraft, unmanned vehicles, and weapons; begun development of new operational concepts (i.e., new ways to employ Navy and Marine Corps forces) for countering Chinese maritime A2/AD forces; and signaled that the Navy in coming years will shift to a more-distributed fleet architecture that will feature a smaller portion of larger ships, a larger portion of smaller ships, and a substantially greater use of unmanned vehicles. The issue for Congress is whether the U.S. Navy is responding appropriately to China’s naval modernization effort.

This is followed by full text of the report, which can be viewed along with this report at https://news.usni.org/2020/05/26/report-to-congress-on-chinese-naval-modernization-3.

Source: News USNI “Report to Congress on Chinese Naval Modernization”

Note: This is USNI’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


Russia Begins Building First Stealth Bomber – Report


By AFP

13 hours ago

Photo stealth bomber

Stealth bombers are designed to evade radar detection while carrying large amounts of weaponry.

Defense Ministry

Russia has begun manufacturing the prototype of its first strategic stealth bomber, the state-run TASS news agency reported Tuesday, as the country presses ahead with the modernization of its military.

Quoting defense industry sources, TASS said the state-controlled United Aircraft Corporation was overseeing the project.

It said material was being shipped for the project and that work had begun on the cockpit of the bomber, known as the PAK DA.

“The final assembly of the entire machine should be complete in 2021,” one of the sources told TASS.

Stealth bombers are designed to evade radar detection while carrying large amounts of weaponry.

Russian officials have revealed few details of the project, though last year Deputy Defense Minister Alexei Krivoruchko said aircraft maker Tupolev — which is part of United Aircraft Corporation — was in charge.

Reached by AFP, United Aircraft Corporation spokesman Sergei Loktionov declined to comment on the report. Tupolev also did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Reports have said the plane will feature a flying wing design similar to U.S. stealth bombers, fly at subsonic speeds and carry strategic cruise missiles and hypersonic weapons.

The U.S. Air Force’s B-2 stealth bombers are among the world’s most feared aircraft.

China is working on its own long-range stealth bomber — the Xian H-20 — with the South China Morning Post reporting this month that it could make its first public appearance at an airshow in November.

Source: The Moscow Times “Russia Begins Building First Stealth Bomber – Report”

Note: This is The Moscow Times’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


China’s FC-31 stealth fighter jet making new progress, photos show


By Liu Xuanzun Source:Global Times Published: 2020/5/25 18:18:16

Photo FC-31

A Chinese FC-31 stealth fighter has its test flight ahead of the 10th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai, South China’s Guangdong Province, Nov 10, 2014. File photo: Xinhua

New photos of a prototype FC-31, China’s second type of stealth fighter jet, have been appearing frequently on Chinese social media since May, years after disappearing from the public eye. Now painted in a silver gray coating, its development is making smooth progress, experts said on Monday.

A new set of photos of what seems to be an FC-31 fighter jet on a test flight was posted on Sina Weibo on Saturday. This is not the first time the aircraft has made an appearance recently, as some photos were also posted by another Sina Weibo user on May 18, Shanghai-based news outlet eastday.com reported.

Unlike photos taken in previous years, the FC-31 prototype in the new photos is painted with silver gray coating, eastday.com said. It seems to be an upgraded version with modifications made to its aerodynamic design just like the prototype that made its maiden flight in 2016, instead of the original version that made its public debut at Airshow China in 2014.

The authenticity of the photos, including the time and location they were taken, cannot be verified.

The photos soon sparked heated discussions among military enthusiasts, as they were reposted on forums on military affairs and overseas social media like Twitter.

Fu Qianshao, a Chinese air defense expert, told the Global Times that the new painting could be a sign that the FC-31 was testing its stealth capability and low-observability against the naked eye.

Fu said that while the photos could not show exactly how much progress had been made, the aircraft is confirmed to be conducting new test flights and making significant steps.

Based on the results of the test flights, improved prototypes could be made, Fu said.

Military observers have long speculated that the made-for-export FC-31 could be put into domestic military service. Some claimed an upgraded FC-31 could serve as China’s next-generation carrier-based fighter jet.

The Chinese Air Force, Navy and foreign clients could all be interested in this advanced stealth fighter jet, Fu said, noting that the FC-31 will likely continue its development and be equipped with new engines and devices in the future.

The FC-31 is a single-seat, twin-engine multi-role fighter jet catering to the demands of future battlefield environments. It is 17.3 meters long and has a wingspan of 11.5 meters, according to an info flyer by its maker Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) in 2018.

Source: Global Times “China’s FC-31 stealth fighter jet making new progress, photos show”

Note: This is Global Times’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.