U.S. Air Force Chief Of Staff Gen. C.Q. Brown Jr. warns that the military must adapt if it wants China and Russia to be ahead. He states that the “threat” we faced is not the threat we will face in the future.
Brown spoke with Voice of America (VOA) and stated that “our adversaries continue to advance their capabilities while we’ve continued to use some of the same capabilities that we’ve used for the past thirty years.”
Brown stated that this is because “we have to change.”
On Dec. 2, the Air Force will unveil a major change. The branch will reveal its new stealth bomber, the B-21 stealth bomber. This will replace the B-1 bombers and B-2 bombers which have been in service since the 1980s.
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Brown stated that he couldn’t provide availability rates for new aircraft due to classification concerns. However, he stated that modernizing ensures that “we have a force ready to go.”
Brown stated, “One thing that I will say is this: This is why I’m planning to modernize because we have some airplanes that, from a maintenance perspective, are a bit harder, more difficult maintain [with] diminishing resource for parts.”
The Biden administration published its national defense strategy last month. It listed Russia as an “acute danger” and China, as a “pacing threat” and the greatest threat for national security.
The document states that China has more active military personnel than the U.S. It has spent decades developing its weapons and even added new fighter jets and massive missile arsenals in the last few years.
VOA was told by Melanie Sisson, a Brookings Institution defense analyst, that despite China’s advances, the U.S. remains “very, very capable” of maintaining its military superiority.
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Brown explained to VOA that the U.S. has moved its attention to Russia and China, but maintaining strong relationships with allies in the region, and leveraging the growing U.S. capabilities like space-based systems will be crucial moving forward.
Brown met with partners in Ecuador, Peru, and Colombia last month to discuss their modernization efforts in their militaries. He is also scheduled to travel to Jordan and Qatar this month for the same purpose.
China and Russia want to increase influence within the Western Hemisphere, as non-NATO ally Argentina expresses an interest in new fighter aircraft. According to reports, officials in China are interested in Pakistan’s JF-17 fighter jets, the F-16s of the United States, India’s Tejas and the Russian-made MiG-35.
VOA reported that a former military officer learned Argentina wanted American-made fighter planes. However, a 1982 arms embargo imposed by Great Britain could prevent the deal from happening since only a few parts of the F-16 are made by the British.
According to reports, the official is concerned that Argentina could turn to China to meet its defense needs.
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Brown answered questions about the concern and said that the U.S. would pay attention.
He stated, “My main focus is to ensure we remain interoperable to our best with our partners and have these understand that the United States Air Force and the United States Air Force are committed to working very closely together with him.”