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China is Closing the Military Gap

china weapons

By Debbie Gregory.

China’s deployment of missiles, able to deliver nuclear warheads to U.S. bases on Guam, is among the military advancements closing the gap with Western military power, according to the Pentagon’s annual report to Congress on China’s military, released on June 6th.

The report came just days after U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis warned China against actions that “impinge on the interests of the international community, undermining the rules-based order that has benefited all countries” at a security forum in Singapore.

After two decades of budget increases, including last year’s 7 percent increase in military spending to $144.3 billion, China claimed its position as the second largest military spender, after the U.S

China’s expertise in building both commercial and military aircraft has improved with work on the C919 commercial airliner and Xian Y-20 military transport.

Their Dongfeng-26 intermediate-range rockets could also be used for conventional strikes against ships in the Western Pacific. The DF-26 joins an arsenal that includes DF-21 “carrier killer” missiles. Boosting its sea power, China’s Jin-class submarines are now equipped with JL-2 submarine launched ballistic missiles.

At a regularly schedule press briefing, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that the Pentagon report had made “irresponsible remarks about China’s defense and development which disregard the facts.” She said China was a force for stability in Asia and elsewhere in the world.

From 2011 to 2015, China ranked as the world’s fourth largest arms exporter, with more than $20 billion in sales. This included $9 billion in sales to Pakistan and other Asian countries. China also sold armed drones to several countries in the Middle East, including Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE.

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One China Policy to Stand

one china

By Debbie Gregory.

It took nearly three weeks for President Trump to contact Chinese President Xi Jinping, but in the call Trump affirmed the “One China” policy that Beijing insists upon with regard to Taiwan, but which Trump in December was threatening to ignore.

In a statement, the White House said Mr. Trump and Mr. Xi “discussed numerous topics, and President Trump agreed, at the request of President Xi, to honor our One China policy.” It described the call as “extremely cordial” and said the leaders had invited each other to visit.

Trump’s December phone call with Tsai Ing-wen, the president of Taiwan, hinted that the United States might no longer abide by the One China policy.

The Chinese state news media said that Mr. Trump had “stressed that he fully understood the great importance for the U.S. government to respect the One China policy,” and that “the U.S. government adheres to the One China policy.”

It also said the two leaders had agreed on the “necessity and urgency of strengthening cooperation between China and the United States.”

On February 14th, the government of China awarded Trump the valuable rights to his own name in the form of a 10-year trademark for construction services.

After a decade spent trying to gain the rights to his name back from a man named Dong Wei, the move has raised questions about the extent to which his political status may be helping his family business.

Over the past decade, Trump has lodged 126 trademark applications in China for the TRUMP name, on everything from pet-care products to computer software to lingerie to golf clubs, according to records at the Trademark Office. Some 77 have been registered, while 49 remain pending.

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Is America Losing The Cyber War?

cyberwar

By Debbie Gregory.

According to U.S. intelligence officials, the Obama administration is contemplating an unprecedented cyber covert action against Russia in retaliation for alleged Russian interference in the American presidential election

Russia, as well as China, Iran and North Korea routinely launch cyberattacks.

Russia has demonstrated its ability to integrate full-scale cyberwar into its military maneuvers, further threatening U.S. allies along its border.

President Obama will ultimately have to decide whether he will authorize a CIA operation.

Complicating the ability to hit back are strict policies on how the U.S. is willing to conduct digital warfare. There are hard-line barriers between cyber operators cleared to carry out the government’s business and those who aren’t.

Too many U.S. combat commanders believe developing cyber tools is as clear-cut a process as making and employing conventional weapons.

America’s cyber shortcomings were at the center of a congressional hearing earlier this month during which Sen. John McCain, the chairman of the powerful Armed Services Committee, pressed the nation’s two top officials for digital combat to appraise the military’s ability to respond to cyber aggression.

“The cyber threat is one of the greatest challenges we face,” offered Marcel Lettre, undersecretary of defense for intelligence.

The Arizona Republican prodded, citing former Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey’s troubling acknowledgement in January 2015 that cyber is the only major field of warfare in which the U.S. doesn’t have an advantage over its foes.

“It’s a level playing field,” the Army general said at the time, “and that makes this chairman very uncomfortable.”

The CIA’s cyber operation is being prepared by a team within the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence, documents indicate. According to officials, the team has a staff of hundreds and a budget in the hundreds of millions, they say.

The covert action plan is designed to protect the U.S. election system and insure that Russian hackers can’t interfere with the November vote, officials say. Another goal is to send a message to Russia that it has crossed a line, officials say.

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Experts Say Russia, China Closing Weapons Gap with U.S.

flyby

By Debbie Gregory.

The U.S. is worried that its military advantage is getting smaller.

Russia and China are improving their ability to target U.S. aircraft and ships, closing the advanced weapons gap and challenging the US military presence in their regions.

Experts say the two countries are pushing the U.S. military farther away, in the air, on the sea, and under the sea.

China has become a big threat in the South China Sea, able to deploy numerous military assists to the disputed waters in no time. Russia has also warned that the Baltic Sea has become unsafe for the American military forces there.

China and Russia have test-fired intercontinental ballistic missiles that have the ability to evade the most complex of missile defense systems.

In terms of undersea technology, Beijing and Moscow have shown advancements.

“Chinese nuclear attack submarines are just in absolute overdrive, how quick they’re building and how fast the technology is developing,” said Chris Harmer, senior naval analyst at the US Institute for the Study of War. He added, “And we’ve seen a significant increase in Russian naval activity, Russian long-range naval activity, Russian ships conducting port calls to Bandar Abbas in Iran.”

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Navy Officer Facing Espionage and Prostitution Charges

lin

By Debbie Gregory.

The Navy is weighing charges of espionage against a Taiwan-born navy officer who became a naturalized U.S. citizen, in a highly secretive case in which he is accused of providing classified information to China and Taiwan, according to U.S. officials.

Lt. Cmdr. Edward C. Lin, a U.S. naval flight officer with an extensive signals intelligence background, was assigned to the headquarters for the Patrol and Reconnaissance Group, which oversees maritime patrol aircraft such as the P-8A Poseidon and P-3C Orion spy planes and the MQ-4C Triton surveillance drone.

Lin is accused of communicating secret information “with intent or reason to believe it would be used to the advantage of a foreign nation,” and of violating military law by patronizing prostitutes and committing adultery.

Lin, who moved to the United States when he was 14 years old, was once a poster boy for the heights that immigrants can achieve in the United States and in the military.

He enlisted in 1999, and three years later he attended Officer Candidate School, receiving his commission in May 2002, according to his Navy biography.

He went on to serve in a variety of roles as a flight officer, and attended the United States Naval War College in Newport, R.I., from December 2010 to February 2012.

The redacted charging documents say Lin allegedly transported secret information out of the country without permission and then lied about his whereabouts when he returned to duty. The charging documents allege he successfully committed espionage twice and attempted espionage on three other occasions.

Overseeing Lin’s case as convening authority is Adm. Philip S. Davidson, the commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command in Norfolk.

Lin was arrested about eight months ago and is being held at the Naval Consolidated Brig in Chesapeake, Virginia.

The case remains under investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the FBI.

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