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31 Jan 20. Landmine Policy. Statement attributable to Vic Mercado, Performing the Duties of Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy, Plans and Capabilities. Effective today, the Administration is rescinding the Presidential Policy concerning anti-personnel landmines (APL), in favor of a new United States landmine policy that will be overseen by the Department of Defense. The United States remains committed to working to minimize risks to civilians posed by landmines and explosive remnants of war. The United States also remains fully committed to complying with its treaty obligations regarding landmines and explosive remnants of war, as contained in Amended Protocol II and Protocol V, annexed to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons.
Landmines, including APL, remain a vital tool in conventional warfare that the United States military cannot responsibly forgo, particularly when faced with substantial and potentially overwhelming enemy forces in the early stages of combat. Withholding a capability that would give our ground forces the ability to deny terrain temporarily and therefore shape an enemy’s movement to our benefit irresponsibly risks American lives. The United States will not sacrifice American servicemembers’ safety, particularly when technologically advanced safeguards are available that allow landmines to be employed responsibly to ensure our military’s warfighting advantage, and limit the risk of unintended harm to civilians. These safeguards require landmines to self-destruct, or in the event of a self-destruct failure, to self-deactivate within a prescribed period of time.
The Department of Defense’s new policy allows planning for and use of APL in future potential conflicts, including outside the Korean Peninsula, while continuing to prohibit the operational use of any “persistent” landmines (landmines without a self-destruct/self-deactivation function). Under this policy, if combatant commanders authorize the use of landmines in a major combat situation, those landmines will include the aforementioned safeguards that will prevent them from being a threat to civilians after a conflict ends.
The United States will continue to lead in international humanitarian demining efforts that locate and remove landmines and explosive remnants of war that pose persistent threats to civilians living in current and former conflict areas around the world. The rescission of the previous policy does not reduce this national commitment, and it does not exacerbate the problems associated with unexploded munitions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why is the prior U.S. landmine policy being replaced?
A: DOD’s study determined that the U.S. military faced a critical capability gap, making it less prepared for future security challenges, due to restrictions previously imposed.
Q: Why not keep landmine policy at the Presidential level?
A: The President decided that landmine policy, like policies for all other conventional (non-nuclear) weapons, falls squarely within the Secretary of Defense’s responsibilities.
Q: Does this change the U.S. Government’s legal obligations with respect to landmines?
A: No, U.S. international legal obligations have not changed. The new landmine policy provides more protections for civilians than are required under CCW Amended Protocol II.
Q: What’s changed since the last Administration committed to pursue Ottawa Convention accession?
A: The strategic environment has changed since 2016. We face an era of strategic competition that requires our military to become more lethal, resilient, and ready for future contingencies.
Q: Does the new policy distinguish between anti-personnel and anti-vehicle landmines?
A: No. All landmines in DOD’s operational inventory have safety features to limit unintended harm to non-combatants; thus, this distinction made in the prior policy is not necessary.
Q: How reliable are current U.S. mine safety features?
A: Reliability of self-destruct and self-deactivate safety features in the current inventory is very high: there is only a 6 in 1 million chance of a U.S. landmine being active after a pre-determined period.
Q: How many landmines in the U.S. inventory are persistent? Does the new policy change this?
A: There are no persistent landmines in the U.S. operational inventory; the new policy does not change this.
Q: What’s the new policy’s impact on NATO countries that are party to the Ottawa Convention?
A: The United States would expect other countries to abide by their legal obligations, including obligations they may have assumed by becoming Party to the Ottawa Convention.
Q: Why are landmines still needed in modern war?
A: Such area-denial systems are a “force multiplier” in key operational contexts; they can obstruct, channel, and delay/stop numerically superior adversaries and prevent them from outflanking friendly forces.
Q: Is the change in policy due to the current situation with Iran?
A: No. It is the result of DOD’s policy review and the President’s imperative to equip our warfighters with the appropriate means to implement the National Defense Strategy. (Source: US DoD)
31 Jan 20. Annual assessment reveals F-35 has 873 unresolved deficiencies. Annual assessment of Lockheed Martin’s progress on the F-35 fighter jet conducted by the US Department of Defense has found that the plane has 873 unresolved deficiencies.
Most of them were identified before the completion of System Development and Demonstration (SDD) and entry into IOT&E.
All three F-35 airforce models of the Joint Strike Fighter have a 25mm gun that has ‘unacceptable’ accuracy in hitting ground targets, according to the departments’ testing office.
The assessment is expected to delay the F-35 fighter jet further, as its testing period has now been extended until at least October.
Due to these inefficiencies, along with a large amount of planned new capabilities, the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) considers the programme’s current Revision 13 master schedule to be high risk.
Bloomberg reported the department’s assessment as reading: “Although the programme office is working to fix deficiencies, new discoveries are still being made, resulting in only a minor decrease in the overall number.”
Two of the three F-35 variants have acceptable accuracy. The naval and marine corps versions have a 25mm gun that is externally mounted.
The airforce’s model has an internal mounting, which, according to Bloomberg, has been cracking, rendering the gun unreliable and practically unusable.
Due to the cracking near the gun muzzle in the latest F-35A aircraft, the US Air Force has restricted the gun to combat use only for production Lot 9 and newer aircraft.
The F-35 has been designed to operate and survive in the initial operational capability (IOC) and IOC-plus-ten-years threat environment (out to 2025) based on the first IOC declaration by the US Marine Corps. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
30 Jan 20. Military Leaders Brief Lawmakers on Budget Needs. The commanders of U.S. Africa Command and U.S. Southern Command shared the challenges their commands face with lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
Army Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, Africom’s commander, and Navy Adm. Craig S. Faller, the Southcom commander, appeared before a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing today on the fiscal year 2021 defense funding request and the Future Years Defense program. Africa is a global crossroads with strategic choke points and sea lines of commerce that are critical to U.S. operations in the world, Townsend told the Senate panel. Future U.S. security and prosperity rest on access to this strategic asset in times of crisis and ensuring these waters remain free, open and secure, he said. Africom is engaged in an ongoing, blank-slate review in concert with the Defense Department, he noted.
“We’ve developed a prioritized list of objectives and actions to protect the homeland and secure our strategic interests in Africa while ensuring the American taxpayers’ investments are in the right areas,” the Africom commander said.
Africa is key terrain for competition with China and Russia, which are aggressively using economic and military means to expand their access and influence, Townsend said. “I believe Africa offers America a competitive edge over China and Russia, and we should take advantage of it,” he added.
Townsend said Africom will grow more efficient to contribute to higher defense priorities and refocus resources to global power competition, but cannot take pressure off major terrorist groups such as al-Qaida and ISIS, adding that such groups and others remain an “inconvenient reality” in Africa.
“While we should not try to confront each one, we should remain resolute in confronting those who threaten Americans and the American homeland, like al-Shabab — the largest, most violent of al-Qaida’s branches,” Townsend said. “Today, Africa does that with a light and relatively low-cost footprint by supporting African and international partners who are leading these efforts.”
The Africom commander said a “few troops and a few bucks” can go a long way and make a real difference in Africa. Africom’s whole-of-government and partner-centric approach acts as a force multiplier to address Africa’s many complex challenges, he added.
“What Africom accomplishes with a few people and a few dollars on a continent three and a half times the size of the continental United States is a bargain for the American taxpayer and low-cost insurance for America in that region,” Townsend said. “A secure and stable Africa remains an enduring American interest. U.S. Africom stands ready to protect and advance American interests and respond to crises in Africa.”
Faller noted that for the United States and the countries in Southcom’s region, the Western Hemisphere is “our shared home.”
“It’s our neighborhood,” he told the committee. “We’re connected to the nations there in every domain — sea, air, space, land, cyber and, most importantly, culturally and with values.”
Over the last year, the admiral said, he has visited partners and seen first-hand the opportunities and challenges that directly affect Western Hemisphere security. “I’ve come to describe the challenges of as a vicious circle of threats that deliberately erodes the security and stability of this region in the United States of America,” he told the senators.
This vicious circle is framed by the systemic issues of young democracies with weak institutions and rampant corruption, he noted. Exploited by transnational criminal organizations that are often better funded than the security organizations, he said, they face external state actors that don’t share democratic values. China, Russia, Iran and violent extremist organizations are trying to advance their interests at the expense of U.S. and partner-nation security, Faller said. (Source: US DoD)
29 Jan 20. New Joint Warfighting Plan Will Help Define ‘Top Priority’ JADC2: Hyten. Developing JADC2 is one of the highest priorities of Hyten’s boss, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley: “Therefore it’s one of my highest priorities.” The Joint Staff is developing a new Joint Warfighting Concept to define the American way of war by the end of the year, says Vice Chief of Staff Gen. John Hyten. A key goal of the concept will be defining Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) as a concept, as well as its requirements.
Hyten stressed that developing JADC2 is one of the highest priorities of Hyten’s boss, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley. “Gen. Milley says Joint All-Domain Command and Control has gotta be one of his highest priorities. Therefore it’s one of my highest priorities. And Gen. Goldfein (Air Force Chief of Staff) is pushing that hard,” he said today at an Air Force Association breakfast.
On Tuesday, Goldfein told an audience at the Center for a New American Security on Tuesday that JADC2 is his top priority for 2021. “First and foremost, you gotta connect the joint team,” he said. “We have to have access to common data so that we can operate at speeds and bring all domain capabilities against an adversary.”
Hyten said that the Joint Staff have been tasked by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper to deliver the new warfighting concept by December, a process that in turn should drive what joint requirements are developed by the Joint Requirements Oversight Council (JROC) — including those for JADC2. Thus, fleshing out the new warfighting plan is one of the three priorities for this year discussed when the JROC met earlier this week. Ellen Lord, DoD undersecretary for acquisition and sustainment, and Mike Griffin, undersecretary for research & engineering were there with Hyten.
“The Joint Staff has to build right now what we’re calling a Joint Warfighting Concept, which is going to be an overarching concept for how we actually fight in the future. Underneath that Joint Warfighting Concept will be capabilities and attributes that we need to be able to fight effectively in the 2030s and 2040s and beyond,” Hyten said. “That should drive from the top what the JROC should be pushing out to services.”
Another key priority for the JROC is reinvigorating itself to ensure that capabilities the services plan to build fulfill the joint requirements of the warfighters in the various combatant commands and eliminate too much redundancy. “We actually have to empower the JROC process to do what the JROC was intended to do,” he said, which is to review the services and “make sure everything is integrated together and it works together in the joint force.” That process is not working right now, he said, with the JROC instead taking a passive role and simply passing on service-developed capabilities.
Hyten said JADC2 was also one of the topics on the agenda at the meeting.
As I reported back in November, the Joint Staff and the Office of Secretary of Defense have created a Joint Cross-Functional Team to thrash out the JADC2 concept. The team includes representatives from the office of DoD Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy, as well as those of Lord and Griffin.
The JROC sees joint C2 as one of the “lost children,” Hyten explained — joint functions that no one service is in charge of fulfilling. (The other two are joint logistics and joint access to information, he said.) Therefore, the JROC has to figure out the processes by which the requirements for those functions can be implemented.
That said, Hyten explained that in the case of JADC2, one service — the Air Force — has taken the rare step of volunteering to lead its development as a joint function. “That’s a big statement for a service to say ‘I will do a joint function.’ That’s difficult,” Hyten said, with obvious pride in his own legacy service.
The question at the heart of JADC2, he said, is simple, but answering it is going to be a serious challenge: “How do we integrate all our capabilities in all our domains, and effectively command and control across the board? It’s going to be a big challenge and it’s not fully understood.”
Hyten explained that key to resolving the challenge is working out how the services can access all the data needed. This is critical, he said, especially if the military is going to benefit from artificial intelligence and greatly speed the decision-making process to meet the speed of the threat. This is why, he noted, the Air Force is concentrating on developing data standardization, data accessibility protocols, etc. as it fleshes out JADC2.
As Breaking D readers know, the Air Force is concentrating on developing the Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) family of systems as its technology core for enabling JADC2, and is working with the Navy and the Army to develop both the architecture and the technologies required to implement it. As now envisioned by the Air Force, ABMS includes six key technology types or “product areas,” and 28 specific products it intends to develop over time. All of those products, senior Air Force officials say, are being built with open-source data standards and have a suffix of “ONE” to show that development is open to all services.
“If we get the data piece right everything will move forward. This will be most important thing we do in the joint force: to figure out how to do that,” Hyten said. “So the JROC in the not too distant future is going to weigh in, and say ‘OK, how do we actually do that, what are the requirements we need for Joint All Domain Command and Control.
“I don’t know how that process is going to end up, but I can tell you one thing. It’s not going to be a list of performance criteria that you have to do 10 years from now,” Hyten added. “It’s gonna be different. It’s gonna focus on how we do things. It’s gonna focus on innovation in the services, innovation in industry.”
And doing that, he stressed, will require DoD to allow flexibility in development and in operations and testing — and to allow failure. “That’s going to be difficult for the department, but we’re going to push that, push that really hard.”
Goldfein, for his part, said the Air Force is making real progress in developing JADC2 and ABMS, and is including its sister services in the process.
“We ain’t talking about a cloud architecture, we have actually have built one,” Goldfein said at CNAS, referring to the “cloudONE” specialized Internet for multi-domain operations (MDO) that is a critical ABMS node. “We have one. It’s up and running and all the services are connected in.”
“We’re not talking about data architecture. We have built a Unified Data Library and we’re inclusive of al the services moving forward,” he added. The Unified Data Library was first built to security integrate space situational awareness data across classification levels for the Air Force, and is now being expanded into the so-called “dataONE” library that the service hopes will eventually include data from all Air Force and other service sensors. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
29 Jan 20. Vice Chairman Says Pace Needs to Quicken on DOD Reform. While the Defense Department is modernizing and undergoing needed reform and improving readiness, adversaries are moving even more quickly in those areas, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.
Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten said if the department doesn’t speed up its efforts, a time could come when adversaries overtake the United States and erode its deterrence advantage. Hyten, who spoke today at an Air Force Association breakfast in Washington, provided some examples of areas where speed matters greatly.
Although the U.S. Space Force has officially become the sixth branch of the military, a lot of hard work still needs to be done very quickly this year, he said.
Space Force now has around 16,000 people.hat number will grow, Hyten said, though it remains to be seen which personnel from the other branches, including the National Guard, will be added.
Also needing to be identified is how DOD’s funding pie is divided and what portion will be allotted to the Space Force, he said. Lawmakers, who have been very supportive, will be especially eager to hear progress being made in those areas, the vice chairman said.
The important thing to note, he said, is that the space domain will be increasingly significant to national security and the creation of the Space Force was the right thing to do.
The other domains — cyber, air, land and sea — are also important, the general said, noting that the Air Force has spearheaded creation of the Joint All-Domain Command and Control program.
Data is critical to linking sensor to shooter in all domains across the joint force, Hyten said. Thus, a crucial part of the new all-domain program’s efforts will be integrating all of the services’ data, which requires that the data be accessible, available, standardized and optimally structured.
“If you have all of the data, then artificial intelligence is actually possible,” Hyten said. “If you don’t have the data, artificial intelligence is not possible. If we get the data piece right, then everything will move forward.”
Another topic that needs speedy reform is software development, Hyten said. “We don’t do software well in the Department of Defense,” he acknowledged, “but we have to.”
Hyten said he has visited software development companies in Silicon Valley and elsewhere over the years. “I was stunned by two things,” he said. “Stunned at the amazing talent that leads the world and that is better than anyone in the world at developing software applications and tools, and how completely different it was [from] how we build software in the Department of Defense.”
The department needs to quickly learn how to develop software like the successful civilian developers do it, he said. “That means we’re going to have to change the processes of how we do that,” he added.
A special area that needs reform is classification, the vice chairman said, noting that too many things are classified that don’t need to be.
Hyten said DOD will look at ways to make more information unclassified to enable sharing important information with industry, allies and partners. DOD is a risk-averse organization that must learn to make speedier decisions and actions where calculated risk is deemed prudent, Hyten said, and people who do take calculated risks must not be punished when failure results. (Source: US DoD)
27 Jan 20. Key Republicans seek ban on intel sharing with countries that use Huawei. Key House Republicans have introduced a bill that would bar U.S. intelligence sharing with countries that allow telecom giant Huawei in their next-generation wireless networks. The Jan. 27 bill would potentially downgrade America’s “special relationship” with the U.K., which is reportedly expected to grant Huawei some access to its nascent 5G network. Such a move by London would be a loss for the Trump administration, which has aggressively campaigned against the company, arguing Chinese governments links to the firm mean it poses an espionage threat. (Huawei denies the allegations.)
“I think that if they make that decision that they have Huawei in their 5G, then we have to recalculate and reassess whether or not they can continue to be among our closest intel partners,” Rep. Liz Cheney, one of the bill’s sponsors and the No. 3 Republican in the House, told reporters Monday.
“I would urge the administration to go through and look at that. I think it would fundamentally alter the relationship we have with the U.K.,” if the U.K. adopts Huawei in its 5G network.
As Washington works to maintain America’s technological edge against China, it has been wrestling with just how to shape the role that Huawei is playing in developing 5G networks worldwide. Several China critics on Monday ― Cheney, Jim Banks, R-Ind., and Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis. ― met with reporters to argue the lure of cheap telecom equipment, subsidized by the Chinese government, is not worth the risk of Beijing gaining access to the vast amounts of data that would travel over nations’ new networks.
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to decide as soon as this week whether to abide public and private warnings from President Donald Trump and other American officials. Johnson has, according to the Financial Times, been looking at imposing a market share cap on Huawei, which would allow it to provide non-core telecom gear, like the antennas and base stations seen on rooftops.
In Germany, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, Berlin’s top security official, was quoted Jan. 25 as saying Germany must be protected against espionage and sabotage, but estimated that shutting out Chinese providers could delay building the new network by five to 10 years.
“I don’t see that we can set up a 5G network in Germany in the short term without participation by Huawei,” Seehofer told the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
The Trump administration itself is struggling to decide how far to go with its restrictions on Huawei, which is already on a U.S. export blacklist. The Defense Department objected to a proposed change to Commerce Department regulations aimed at making it more difficult for U.S. firms to sell to Huawei from overseas facilities, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Sens. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., complained in a Jan. 24 letter to Defense Secretary March Esper, demanding a briefing and arguing the rule change would have rightfully, “effectively disrupted the supply chain of the Chinese Communist Party’s tech puppet.”
Cheney and Banks proposed their legislation as a companion to a Senate bill Cotton introduced Jan. 8. While the new House bill adds some weight to repeated public threats from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the administration would curtail intelligence and military cooperation with countries that allow in Huawei, it’s unclear how far either chamber’s bill will go.
“We’re getting a growing number of interested colleagues signing onto it just because we’re giving the administration leverage with this legislation,” Banks said, “to send a signal to our allies that they’re making a grave mistake in compromising their data and potentially our national security and related intelligence data, if they choose Huawei.”
Though Banks, the lead sponsor of the House bill, predicted Monday it would attract bipartisan support, even some key Republicans were unprepared to take such a hard line against the U.K., a member of the ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence network ― which also includes the U.S., Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
“Let’s wait until they make the decision and see what the decision is,” Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jim Risch, R-Idaho, said Monday of lead British officials. “Our intelligence sharing, not only with Great Britain, but the ‘Five Eyes,’ and a handful of others is really critical. They’re dovetailed together, and they’re really important.”
In the Senate, a separate legislative proposal would dedicate $1bn to spur the development of Western-based alternatives to Chinese telecom equipment. It’s sponsored by Rubio, as well as Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Ranking Member Mark Warner, D-Va.; Bob Menendez, D-N.J.; Michael Bennet, D-Colo.; and John Cornyn, R-Tex.
“We’ve been saying, ‘Don’t buy Huawei,’ but we haven’t been offering a broad-based Western-financed alternative,” Warner said Monday.
Warner hinted he would not favor a change in the intelligence relationship with the U.K.: “I think the British are our longest, best ally and a great, great partner. I don’t think I’m going to make those kinds of threats.” (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
27 Jan 20. U.S., France Continue to Strengthen Defense Relationship. Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper welcomed France’s Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly to the Pentagon to discuss issues of mutual interest between their nations.
After their meeting, the secretary told Parly it was a pleasure to meet with her again as they continue to strengthen the long-standing defense relationship between the United States and France and to discuss the way forward on shared priorities.
“For more than 200 years, the alliance between France and the United States has helped safeguard the values of liberty and the rule of law,” the secretary said, noting that France remains a vital partner in U.S. efforts around the world. Both nations recognize the threats posed by Russia and China in this era of great-power competition and remain committed to addressing them together, Esper said.
French support to NATO is critical to collective security, the secretary added.
“I’d like to thank the minister for her commitment to burden-sharing, as you work toward reaching the 2% of [gross domestic product] spending target,” Esper said. He added that the United States continues to encourage all NATO members to increase their contributions and invest in the readiness of the alliance. In the Middle East, both the United States and France are working to ensure the lasting defeat of ISIS and supporting Iraq on its path to becoming a more secure and prosperous and independent state,” the secretary said.
In their meeting today, Easper said, he and Parly discussed NATO’s expanded role in the region as they continue to work together through the defeat-ISIS coalition. ”Ultimately, we recognize that alliance unity is the key to our success here and across the globe,” Esper said.
Meanwhile, the United States and France both recognize the dangers of Iran’s aggression, Esper emphasized, and agree they must work together to get Iran to ”behave like a normal country.”
U.S. actions over the last several weeks were essential to restoring deterrence and making clear to the Iranian regime that threats to American forces, partners, and interests will not be tolerated, Esper said. The United States hopes to do more with France to strengthen NATO, deepen trans-Atlantic cooperation, and ensure collective security, he added.
“Our two nations share a bond that spans centuries and is rooted in a mutual respect for the values of democracy, liberty and individual rights,” the secretary said. “Our cooperation will continue in this same spirit, and will help us overcome the threats of tomorrow.”
Parly noted that NATO defense ministers will be meeting next month. “As both of us are preparing for the February defense NATO ministerial, we have agreed that the organization remains the cornerstone of our collective security,” she said.
U.S. security is a changing landscape, Parly said, “and France fully supports America’s insistence on Europeans taking a larger share of the [NATO] burden, spending more, committing more and fighting more. That’s what my country does.” (Source: US DoD)
24 Jan 20. Addressing China Threats Requires Unity of U.S., World Effort, Esper Says. The National Defense Strategy identifies China and Russia as competitors of the United States in the so-called great power competition. Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper focused attention on the threats posed by China and efforts by the Defense Department to counter those threats in a speech today at the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Global Security Forum in Washington.
“Unfortunately, the Chinese government has used its diplomatic, military and economic power to expand its bad behavior, rather than abiding by international rules and norms,” he said.
China continues to weaponize space, as demonstrated by its development of directed-energy weapons and satellite jammers, he said.
To counter that effort, DOD has created its newest service, the Space Force, he said. “Much like NASA was a breeding ground for a wide array of high-tech breakthroughs, we believe the Space Force will be an incubator for a whole new generation of technologies,” Esper said.
The department is also developing hypersonic weapons and defense against those weapons, he said. In partnership with industry, DOD is also working on artificial intelligence, long-range precision fires and a 5G network.
The secretary then touched on China’s human rights violations against their own people.
“As we speak, the Communist Party of China is using artificial intelligence to repress Muslim minority communities and pro-democracy protestors,” he said. “The party has constructed a 21st century surveillance state with unprecedented abilities to censor speech and infringe upon basic human rights. Now, it is exporting its facial recognition software and systems abroad.”
The secretary also spoke about China’s economic piracy.
Beijing is combining direct state investment, forced technology transfer, and intellectual property theft to narrow the gap between U.S. and Chinese equipment, systems and capabilities, he said.
Esper said the manner in which China has acquired much of this technology is also troubling. “Beijing is determined to exploit American intellectual property and know-how at any cost,” he said.
Since 2018, the Justice Department has filed charges against Chinese nationals and entities in at least seven separate economic espionage cases, including a conspiracy to steal trade secrets from a major U.S. semiconductor maker. Over the same time period, the department has secured convictions and guilty pleas in at least six China-related espionage cases, Esper said.
These examples just scratch the surface, he noted. In recent years, Chinese hackers have besieged the department and its industry partners. American universities and colleges have also become prime targets for Chinese exploitation.
Despite widespread world outrage, Beijing shows few signs of changing its ways, Esper said. The government recently passed new legislation that tightens its grip over any data that flows across its networks, including access to the confidential information of U.S. corporations. President Xi Jinping’s elevation of the “Military-Civil Fusion Strategy” to a national level puts our exports for peaceful, civilian use at risk of transfer to the People’s Liberation Army, he said.
“Addressing these threats requires us to unite the nation around our competition with China,” Esper said. “Our success is contingent upon a cohesive approach across public and private sectors. For the department, this means overhauling our policies and reshaping the culture within the department; between the department and industry; and among our allies and partners around the world.”
The secretary then made the case that the department is taking aggressive reform steps to free up time, money and manpower. That reform includes developing stronger relationships with industry to expand the department’s competitive edge. It also includes the elimination of a risk-averse culture within the department that’s not conducive to experimentation and new ideas. (Source: US DoD)
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