For the US, the competition with China is mainly a competition between political systems. The US wants Europe to joint it in its efforts to prove that democracy is superior to autocracy. To be exact, for the US, the competition is mainly for world leadership, geopolitical influence, etc. However, China does not compete with the US for world leadership or geopolitical influence. It is only interested in maintaining and growing its interests both at home and abroad.
There is certainly lots of competition for interests in the world, mainly for market share.
For China such competition is sure win. For example, the competition in world airliner market.
China, Russia’s CR929 wide-body airliner will begin construction by the end of this year and mass production in 2026
That is what Hong Kong media HK01 says in its report in Chinese on June 18, 2021 “中俄合研CR929客機今年底將開建2026年量產”(translated by this blogger as “C929, the airliner jointly developed by China and Russia will begin construction at the end of this year and mass production in 2026”.
The basic model of the airliner, the CR929-600 will have 280 seats and a range of 12,000 kilometers. There will also be shrink and stretch versions with smaller and bigger capacities respectively.
According to the report, Russia is developing PD-35 engine with the huge thrust of 35 tons for C929.
On the other hand, according to WSJ’s report “The End of the Boeing-Airbus Spat Begins the Aviation Battle With China” on June 15, 2021, China is smoothly developing its single-aisle C919 narrow-body airliner scheduled to enter service by the end of this year 2021.
China’s and China-Russia’s joint development of large airliners scared America’s Boeing and Europe’s Airbus and makes them stop their fierce spat and begin serious preparations for competition with China and Russia.
However, what the two have to beat China and Russia. China has the largest market for airliners at home, enough to support local and joint development of airliners with Russia. In the world, members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Eurasian Economic Community, Iran and quite a few Islamic countries hostile to the West will provide quite a large market.
Moreover, since both Airbus and Boeing’s concerns are market share, China and Russia may share market with Airbus while contain Boeing along with Airbus in world market.
With this analysis, it is clear that there is little chance for Boeing of the US to win the competition.
Article by Chan Kai Yee
The agreement reached during the summit between President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin is “a positive first step,” according to one analyst.
JACQUELINE FELDSCHER | JUNE 16, 2021
U.S. and Russian officials agreed Wednesday to open the lines of communication regarding the two nations’ nuclear stockpiles to reduce the risk of an accident, President Joe Biden told reporters.
The bilateral strategic stability dialogue is “diplomatic-speak for getting our military experts and our diplomats together to work on a mechanism that can lead to the control of new and dangerous and sophisticated weapons that are coming on the scene now that reduce the times of response, that raise the prospects of accidental war,” Biden said at a press conference in Geneva, where he appeared relaxed after a week of foreign engagements.
Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin also addressed a number of other top defense and foreign-policy issues during the meeting, which lasted more than three hours, including cybersecurity, election interference, violence in Ukraine and the drawdown in Afghanistan.Biden said both sides will look back in three to six months on all the topics discussed to evaluate whether any progress has been made.
“I’m not sitting here saying because the president and I agreed that we would do these things that all of a sudden it’s going to work,” Biden said. “What I’m saying is I think there’s a genuine prospect to significantly improve relations between our two countries without us giving a single solitary thing.”
While Biden was quiet on his goals for the meeting ahead of time, saying he wouldn’t negotiate in public, he revealed at its conclusion that his intention was to make progress on arms control. A joint statement from Biden and Putin released by the White House says talks will begin “in the near future…to lay the groundwork for future arms control and risk reduction measures.”
The agreement to begin talks is “a positive first step,” but the talks need to be frequent, comprehensive and more than just grievance-sharing to be productive, said Kingston Reif, the director of disarmament and threat reduction policy at the Arms Control Association.
Both the U.S. and Russia enhanced their nuclear arsenal in recent years. America is building new versions of all three legs of the aging triad: a land-launched intercontinental ballistic missile to replace the Minuteman III, the first new Air Force bomber in decades, and the Columbia-class fleet of submarines to replace the Ohio-class boats.
Russia has unveiled its own new systems for delivering nuclear weapons, including a nuclear-powered torpedo that it tested in April.
The two nations recently made progress in nuclear arms control. Russia and the U.S. in February agreed to extend the New START Treaty, an agreement that first went into effect in 2011 that places verifiable limits on both nation’s nuclear stockpiles. The five-year extension means there will be limits on Russian land and sea missiles plus heavy bombers until 2026, according to the State Department.
Some of the new Russian weapons, including the torpedo, are not covered by New START, and Reif said one area where officials should focus discussions is on a follow-on arms control agreement that also puts limits on the numbers of these types of systems.
The strategic dialogue could also help each side understand the other’s position on cyber and space attacks, Reif said. It would avoid the risk of escalation, for example, if each side knew what kind of cyber or space attacks the other nation viewed as unacceptable and for which a nuclear response could be on the table.
“There should be a conversation about the risk that offensive cyber capabilities pose to nuclear command and control, and a discussion about the escalation risks each side sees with a cyber attack on nuclear command and control,” Reif said. “It’s an opportunity to have a dialogue not only related to some core weapons-specific issues, but also on issues with respect to the weaponization of emerging technologies that could impact the nuclear balance.”
Biden said the two leaders did not discuss whether the U.S. could respond to a cyber attack with conventional military force.
At the summit, Biden and Putin also discussed how to protect national assets from cyberattacks. Biden said he gave the Russian president a list of 16 critical infrastructure items, including the power grid and water system, that should be “off the table” for any cyberattack.
When Biden was asked about what consequences he threatened if Putin went after any of those protected areas, he said, “I pointed out to him that we have significant cyber capabilities and he knows it….If in fact they violate these basic norms, we will respond.”
At a separate press conference, Putin denied that Russian hackers were behind recent cyber attacks on American infrastructure, including the Colonial Pipeline and meat producer JBS.
At the wide-ranging summit, Biden said the two men also discussed Russia’s disinformation campaign and interference in the U.S. election, adding that Putin “knows there are consequences” if Moscow does it again.
Biden also said Putin agreed to “help” on Afghanistan, where America and NATO are withdrawing all their troops by Sept. 11, but declined to provide any details on what that assistance might entail.
Source: Defense One “Russia, US Will Launch Arms Control Talks To Avoid ‘Accidental War’”
Note: This is Defense One’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean whether I agree or disagree with the report’s views.
Some media says that G7 communique singles out China to accuse, but is entirely ignorant of the communique’s severe attacks of Russia as Russia not China is G7’s EU members’ major threat. Therefore Defense One says in its report “NATO Condemns Russia’s ‘Aggressive Actions’ Ahead of Biden-Putin Meeting” on June 14 begins by saying, “NATO leaders emerged from their Monday summit united in their determination to counter Russia, but American officials have yet to convince their alliance counterparts to oppose China with similar full-throatedness. The communique from the summit mentions Russia 62 times, and China just 10.”
NATO members are mostly EU members constantly under Russian threat. They certainly want the US to be harsh on Russia, but US President Joe Biden wants to meet Putin and seems will be warm with him.
That is especially true judging by Biden’s meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the sideline of NATO meeting. In spite of US tensions with Turkey, the meeting seems quite friendly.
In spite of US-Turkey tensions, Biden said at the NATO summit that he had a “positive and productive” talk with Erdogan at their meeting, while Erdogan said at a press conference following the bilateral meeting that he believes “there are no problems in Turkey-U.S. ties that don’t have a solution.”
Does Biden believe that there are no problems in US-Russia ties in spite of US-Russia tensions, European leaders wonder.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Defense One’s report, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.defenseone.com/threats/2021/06/nato-condemns-russias-aggressive-actions-ahead-biden-putin-meeting/174721/.
AP says in its report about US President Joe Biden’s Europe trip titled “Biden opens overseas trip declaring ‘United States is back’”, “The trip will be far more about messaging than specific actions or deals.”
That is quite true as the US is really unable to give any country anything by its actions or deals in Biden’s trip to Europe.
What Biden can give is but the promise that “the US is back”, but he cannot ensure the Europe that the US will be back forever as he cannot ensure his successors will continue his policies. Perhaps, like Trump, the next president will make the US not be back again.
Biden’s major aim is to rally Europe around the US to counter China, but China constitutes minimal threat to EU but provides EU with great gains in its market. True, the US is unhappy with its trade with China, but the US is Europe’s major competitor in Chinese market. Its trade and tech war with China aims at maintaining US dominance. However, the US is EU’s major competitor in Chinese market. Reduction of US dominance will greatly benefit EU in Chinese market. So will EU join the US in confronting China economically especially when China has signed an investment deal with EU that may benefit EU greatly? I doubt that as joining the US in confronting China will only benefit the US at the expense of EU. The US has to give EU something as compensation but the US simply can give EU nothing in return.
Perhaps, the US may give EU protection against Russia EU’s actual greatest threat, but there will be no actions or deals in Biden’s trip. Biden is even unwilling to meet Ukrainian president before his summit with Putin in order to avoid receiving Ukraine’s request to counter Putin in the summit.
AP’s report says, “Biden wants to privately pressure Putin to end myriad provocations, including Cybersecurity attacks on American businesses by Russian-based hackers, the jailing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny and repeated overt and covert efforts by the Kremlin to interfere in U.S. elections.” However, the pressure for such purpose has already been there publicly but in vain. How can private pressure work? Biden has to give Putin something in return in order to get something from Putin.
Putin has already said Russia will put an end to its use of US dollars as reserve currency or means of payment. That will hurt the US much greater than Russia as together with China and other friends they may reduce the dominance of US dollars. That is the pressure Putin puts on the US. Putin wants the US to lift sanctions for Putin to remove the pressure in return.
There must be some secret agreement to benefit both sides as it is common sense that leaders meet for benefit instead of quarrel.
I doubt Biden may achieve anything great in his Europe trip. Anyway for the president of a country in trouble to gather support for maintaining its dominance, a trip abroad may enable him to have some relaxation at least.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on AP’s report, full text of which can be viewed at https://apnews.com/article/biden-first-overseas-trip-putin-8b4c67c3f72a4163a7cfbecb192a93cf.
Russian media’s report “Russia does not want to give up dollar as reserve currency or means of payment — Putin” shows Putin’s intension to improve Russia-US relations. Putin says that Russia has been forced to give up dollar as reserve currency or means of payment due to US sanctions while pointing out such sanctions hurt not only Russia but also the US itself.
Putin’s speech shows his intention to improve Russia-US relations. There may be some changes in US hostility toward Russia if the US is clever to lift sactions related Russia’s use of US dollars, but can US President Joe Biden does so in spite of the grave hostility against Russia at home?
Biden certainly has difficulties to do so, but if his summit with Putin aims to drive a wedge between Russia and China, he has to give Russia something to please it.
According to Putin, Russia is forced to switch to settlements in other currencies due to the “practical nature” of the US sanctions
ST. PETERSBURG, June 5. /TASS/. Russia does not intend to completely abandon the dollar as a reserve currency or a universal means of payment, President Vladimir Putin said on Friday. He was speaking at a meeting with the heads of world news agencies, organized by TASS.
“If you heard me saying something about the dollar, and understood that we want to get rid of it as a reserve currency or as a universal means of payment, this is not the case. I was talking about something else. I was talking about the fact that the United States uses the dollar, uses its national currency for various kinds of sanctions, “the Russian leader said.
As an example, he referred to the situation when Russia cannot make dollar payments with partners as part of military-technical cooperation due to the US sanctions.
According to Putin, Russia is forced to switch to settlements in other currencies due to the “practical nature” of the US sanctions.
“They are forcing us to do this, our American partners. We do not voluntarily shy away [from the dollar], we are forced to do this. But when we do this, a certain system of our financial relations with a partner is formed. Already outside the dollar zone,” the Russian President said.
Putin added that by such actions, the American authorities primarily harm themselves.
“Why are the political authorities of the United States doing this? They are chopping the branch they are sitting on. In the end, they will fall down. Everyone in the world sees it. And the question of the reliability of dollar settlements arises. Therefore, foreign exchange reserves in dollars are being reduced. Not only here, practically all over the world, including the US itself. The volume of settlements in dollars is decreasing,” Putin said.
The Russian President also drew attention to the fact that the current situation may ultimately force energy companies to abandon the American currency in their settlements, which will seriously affect the position of the dollar in the world. Putin said that “some of our companies, for example, in the oil sector, have volatility in national currencies and do not want to leave the dollar today,” but they can be put in conditions when they have no other choice. “This will already be a serious blow to the dollar as a world reserve currency,” he stressed.
Source: Tass “Russia does not want to give up dollar as reserve currency or means of payment — Putin”
Note: This is Tass’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean whether I agree or disagree with the report’s views.
by Andrew Jones — April 26, 2021
China also reveals early outline and objectives for lunar research station.
HELSINKI — Russia and China have formally invited countries and international organizations to join the International Lunar Research Station (ILRS) project being developed by the two nations.
China National Space Administration (CNSA) and Russia’s Roscosmos said the ILRS project would be open to participation at all stages and levels. This includes planning, design, research, development, implementation and operations.
CNSA and Roscosmos will promote extensive cooperation for the development of human space science and technology and socio-economic progress, said CNSA deputy director Wu Yanhua.
The announcement was made at a sideline event of the 58th session of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of the United Nations’ Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) April 23.
Russia and China signed a memorandum of understanding on the ILRS in March.
The development also follows Russia backing away from NASA’s Gateway project. Roscosmos also recently indicated it was considering withdrawing from the International Space Station partnership in 2025.
Early ILRS outline
The China Lunar Exploration Project under the CNSA presented early details of the ILRS project—first proposed by China as an evolutionary, expanded stage of lunar exploration following the success of a series of missions launched since 2007—at the sixth annual China Space Day in Nanjing, east China, April 24, . Slides detailing the project appeared on social media.
The first phase involves using data returned by missions sent to launch by 2025. These will determine the location for a lunar surface base in the vicinity of the lunar south pole. Missions include China’s Chang’e-6 and Chang’e-7 and Russia’s Luna 25, 26 and 27 missions.
The second phase will run from 2026-2030. It will see Chang’e-8 and Luna 28 set down at the chosen site and mark the beginning of construction.
The third phase will consist of multiple missions across 2030-2035. By this time China hopes to test launch its Long March 9 super heavy-lift launcher.
Earlier Chinese visions of the ILRS outlined long-term robotic and potentially short-term crewed missions for this timeframe. A long-term human presence at the lunar south pole is the goal for 2036-2045.
The ILRS will focus on water and mineral resources, in-situ resource utilization and manufacturing on the moon, require developing wireless energy transmission and nuclear power for space, and trialing effects of low gravity on biology, according to the China Space Day presentation
Areas of particular scientific interest include lunar geology and chemistry, the lunar space environment, moon-based astronomy, biomedicine and utilization of resources.
Chang’e-6 is a 2024 former backup to Chang’e-5 which visited Oceanus Procellarum on the near side. The new mission would target the ancient and massive South Pole-Aitken basin on the far side of the moon. The spacecraft will also carry payloads from France, Sweden, Russia and Italy.
Chang’e-7 will consist of an orbiter and a lander and deploy both a rover and a mini-flying probe. It will be supported by a relay satellite and the various spacecraft will carry a total of 23 science payloads. Objectives include a detailed survey of the environment and resources in the lunar south polar region. The mini-flying probe will make in-situ observations of a permanently shadowed crater.
Luna 25 is a Russian lander targeting a launch in October this year and landing near the lunar south pole. The mission follows 45 years after the Soviet Luna-24 mission.
China has launched two lunar orbiters, a pair of lander and rover missions and, in late 2020, the complex Chang’e-5 lunar sample return mission. It is also developing spacecraft and launch vehicles to allow crewed visits to the moon.
Source: spacenews.com “China, Russia open moon base project to international partners, early details emerge”
Note: This is spacenews.com’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean whether I agree or disagree with the report’s views.
Last month, Huawei’s president of its European and Russian research institutes, Zhou Hong, visited Novosibirsk State Technical University in Siberia. At a conference table adorned with the Russian and Chinese flags, Zhou and his hosts discussed how Russian universities could help the Chinese tech giant.
“It’s now very important for Russian researchers to work with partners at this level,” rector Anatoly Bataev told Zhou, according to an account published by the school. “We’re ready to assist in organizing such a consortium.”
Huawei’s presence in the West has plummeted since a U.S. trade ban, but in Russia, it’s expanding. The company urgently needs to replace U.S. technologies in its supply chain — and it has willing research partners in Russia.
One result of the partnerships will launch June 2: a replacement for Google’s Android operating system for smartphones. Huawei’s HarmonyOS was built with help from the company’s Russia research teams, which encompass some 1,500 staffers in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Novosibirsk and Minsk, Belarus, according to Russia’s state-run Sputnik News.https://833633f7eb9fe0e41210681904ea1736.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
Huawei’s Russian push comes as Beijing and Moscow are drawing closer under U.S. pressure. U.S. officials have accused Huawei and other Chinese tech giants of posing national security threats, while charging Russia with cyberattacks. Beijing and Moscow dispute the allegations.
Speaking with China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, on Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin called Sino-Russia relations the “best in history” and said Moscow was ready to strengthen strategic coordination. Putin has previously accused the United States of attacking Huawei to hold back China’s development.
Huawei’s executives had hoped the Biden administration would lift restrictions. But this month, President Biden extended predecessor Donald Trump’s 2019 executive order barring U.S. firms from using Huawei telecom gear.
Huawei is also beginning its third year on the Commerce Department Entity List, which curbs U.S. businesses from selling it technology. The company’s founder, Ren Zhengfei, said in February he feared it would be “extremely difficult” to get off the list.
Weeks after Huawei was slapped with the ban in 2019, Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Putin in Moscow, calling him his “best friend.” The same day, Russian telecom operator MTS pledged to work with Huawei on next-generation 5G networks.
Huawei did not respond to a request for comment, nor did the Chinese and Russian foreign ministries.
“If Russian specialists didn’t have something to offer, Huawei wouldn’t have come here,” Ivan Reva, dean of Novosibirsk State Technical University’s automation and computer engineering program, said in an interview. “They’re interested in our researchers and engineers.”
The growing partnership has historical echoes. The Chinese Communist Party relied on Soviet scientists in its early years, when Western governments did not recognize Mao Zedong’s rule.https://833633f7eb9fe0e41210681904ea1736.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
“There was a huge technological transfer from 1949 to 1960,” said Joseph Torigian, a historian at American University in Washington. “The Soviet Union sent experts to help with Chinese industrial development.”
Ren, Huawei’s 76-year-old founder, lived through that golden era of Sino-Soviet camaraderie. He studied the Russian language, according to an early military newspaper profile. He later wrote that he grew up with Pavel Korchagin and Tonia Toumanova — characters in Nikolai Ostrovsky’s novel “How the Steel Was Tempered.”
In 1996, Ren chose Russia as Huawei’s first international market and visited Moscow with thousands of Huawei brochures in tow, as he recounted in Huawei’s employee magazine. Russian leader Boris Yeltsin and China’s Jiang Zemin had just forged a strategic partnership, a move that former secretary of state Henry Kissinger called a “declaration of independence” by both countries from U.S. influence.
Beijing was anxious as tensions with the United States over Taiwan escalated to the point of potential war, while Moscow was facing Western blowback for its war in Chechnya, said Alexander Gabuev, a Carnegie Moscow Center senior fellow.
Ren would say that geopolitics opened the door for Huawei in Russia.
“With the improvement of Sino-Soviet relations, the United States will feel even without it, the world will still turn,” he wrote in 1996. “China will undoubtedly grow rich, and the United States cannot suppress it.”
A quarter-century later, Huawei has reverted to old form, declaring it doesn’t need the West. Russia is one of the few countries Ren is known to have visited since his daughter’s 2018 arrest in Canada.
Call for cooperation
Huawei’s Russian Research Institute has been working on a range of technologies, including chips and operating systems (OS), two areas affected by U.S. sanctions.
In Novosibirsk, Huawei is looking for programmers to write and improve code called “math libraries” for its Kunpeng processor, according to the institute’s hiring website. The company issued a “call for cooperation” to help it migrate applications to different chips: “Due to processor design differences, software components written in high-level languages cannot be accurately executed after recompilation in the new architecture.”
The institute is also seeking help in “greatly improving the business competitiveness of Huawei-developed OSs.”
Huawei did not reply to questions on whether these projects were related to the U.S. sanctions.
The research in Russia only partially offset the sanctions’ effect. Even as Huawei improves its chip algorithms, it still lacks a factory to manufacture them. All semiconductor contract manufacturers, called foundries, are off-limits because of their use of U.S. technology.
Analysts say it’s unclear whether Huawei’s core businesses can survive another two years, let alone the decade or more it will take for China to build a foundry free of U.S. intellectual property.
“Huawei is making heroic efforts to survive,” said Dan Wang, a Gavekal Dragonomics technology analyst. “But no technology company has much room for maneuver if it lacks semiconductors.”
In recent speeches, Ren has scaled down ambitions from global expansion to servicing Chinese coal mines, from leapfrogging the United States in innovation to survival. He has dubbed Huawei’s self-sufficiency push “Nanniwan,” after a gorge where Chinese soldiers grew their own food in 1941 during a Japanese economic blockade.
Huawei’s rotating chairman Ken Hu told reporters in March that the company was relying on stockpiled chips to fulfill orders. He declined to say how long supplies would last, or what Huawei would do when the company ran out.
‘Higher salaries than Google’
In May 2019, weeks after being cut off by Google, Ren declared Huawei would vie with the U.S. giant for talent in Novosibirsk, home to international-level computer programmers.
“Starting today, we will offer them higher salaries than Google, to innovate on Russian soil,” he said in a speech.
Huawei’s Russia-based researchers have since filed for patents related to 5G and artificial intelligence.
Not everyone has been happy about Huawei’s recruiting effort.
“Not only do they undermine Russia’s sovereignty in information security, they are also completely destroying the labor market,” Ilya Sachkov, CEO of cybersecurity firm Group-IB, told Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin in a panel discussion in July 2020.
He said Huawei was offering salaries of $16,300 to $20,400 a month, five or six times prevailing rates.
Huawei’s Russia Research Institute is still seeking researchers and interns for projects such as facial recognition and video surveillance in Moscow, speech recognition in Nizhny Novgorod and 6G technology in St. Petersburg.
“The need to combine software implementations and mathematical algorithms presupposes high qualifications at the postgraduate level and above,” one job listing says. Another reads: “It is enough to be an expert in one of these topics.”
Natasha Abbakumova contributed to this report.
Source: washingtonpost.com “Huawei calls on an old friend, Russia, as U.S. sanctions bite down”
Note: This is washingonpost.com’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean whether I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
New Air Force officers should work “to set the conditions for a future that prevents great power war,” Joint Chiefs chairman says.
TARA COPP | MAY 26, 2021 01:00 PM ET
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The Air Force Academy class of 2021 is graduating into a security environment where the relative peace the United States has held with Russia and China is “fraying at the edge,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley told graduating seniors Wednesday.
That peace “is under stress,” Milley said. “We would be wise to lift our gaze from the never-ending urgency of the present to set the conditions for a future that prevents great power war.”
“You can expect to be at the edge many, many times, to make hard choices with imperfect information,” the Army general told the Air Force’s newest officers. “You will have to keep your guard up against the enduring nature of evolving security challenges.”
On Thursday, Milley will join Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Capitol Hill, where they will press the case for the vast modernization both leaders see as necessary to match China’s technological rise.
Milley’s remarks to the Air Force graduates hinted at his concern that retaining existing missions in the interest of meeting current threats will leave the U.S. more vulnerable.
China is expected to surpass U.S. capabilities in artificial intelligence by 2025, according to the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence, and is expected to have an equal number of fifth-generation fighters by then as well, Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member Jim Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican, said this week.
“The country that masters new technologies, combines them with doctrine and develops leadership to take advantage of them. The side that does that best will have a decisive advantage at the start of the next war,” Milley told the graduates.
Before Wednesday’s ceremony, some cadets told Defense One that the uncertainty of the year just past had prepared them for their next chapter.
The class of 2021 experienced the full arc of COVID, from initial infections in the U.S. in early 2020 all the way to getting vaccinated this spring.
It culminated Wednesday at Falcon Stadium, where each of the 1,019 graduates was allowed to invite eight guests, a luxury last year’s class did not get after COVID forced the Academy to close and send everyone except the seniors home.
Cadet 1st Class Greg Barry was finishing his junior year when he was sent back to his home to Albuquerque, New Mexico, after COVID broke out.
Barry returned to campus last June. As a senior and a vice cadet wing commander—the roughly 4,200 cadets at the academy are split into wings of 1,000 each—he and others were responsible for guiding the newest arrivals on the traditions there. But nothing about the year was normal.
“It was just uncertainty,” Barry said. “The rules and understandings continually changed. And for us, you know, coming back from all over the nation, I think that was really tough for people to just be thrown into a totally different environment.”
“It was harder to get these freshmen used to the place because, you know, when we have lunch, there’s 10 people that sit at a table, and you get to hear from all the upperclassmen about their life, what’s going on. And that’s kind of how you learned so much about the Academy, from that lunch. So, I think it took people to realize, you know, we need to be creative with how we engage and how we get together.”
The class was also shaped by the domestic turmoil of 2020, from the national anger over the death of George Floyd to the uncertainty created after the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
Cadet 1st Class Emily Berexa said the past year “showed me what kind of leader I want to be.”
When George Floyd was murdered, they talked about it in class. When the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol occurred, her squadron and classes were encouraged to discuss it, she said.
“It’s something I definitely carry with me moving forward, just the ability to have those conversations, whether it is national events or things that are affecting the base or the unit on a smaller scale,” she said.
After graduation, Berexa will attend Oxford University to pursue graduate studies in engineering. Then she will begin pilot training to fly “whatever they give me,” she said.
She said she feels prepared to face an uncertain security environment in her future military career too. As a cadet, she completed the Academy’s jump program, in which “your first skydive is a solo jump,” she said.
“You are learning to face your fears and knowing ‘OK, I’m responsible for making sure I get down to the ground safely,’” Berexa said.
This year’s class was the second to graduate officers directly into the Space Force; 112 are entering the newest military branch, Milley said.
“Twenty years from now, in 2041, many of you will be at the helm of our Joint Force as colonels and brigadier generals,” Milley said. “Do not wait until then to be bold. Innovate. Challenge yourselves to meet the threats that loom on the faraway horizon. Always be ready to deter great power war.”
Source: Defense One “Peace with Russia, China ‘Fraying at the Edge,’ Milley Tells Graduating Cadets”
Note: This is Defense One’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean whether I agree or disagree with the report’ views.