The Changing Military Balance
Australia's intelligence agencies believe China is hiding the extent of a massive military build-up that goes beyond national defence and threatens regional stability, the latest WikiLeaks cables show.A strategic assessment by the agencies found that China's military spending for 2006 was $90 billion - double the $45 billion budget publicly announced by Beijing, Fairfax newspapers report."China's longer-term agenda is to develop 'comprehensive national power', including a strong military, that is in keeping with its view of itself as a great power," a copy of the secret assessment provided by Foreign Affairs officials to the US embassy in Canberra said.
And we read in Bloomberg News that China has a few surprises in store for the US Navy.
Advances in Chinese military technology, including a new anti-ship ballistic missile and possibly a radar-evading fighter plane, are drawing scrutiny from Pentagon officials days before Defense Secretary Robert Gates is due to meet with his counterpart in Beijing.Vice Admiral Jack Dorsett said yesterday that the Pentagon had underestimated the speed at which China has developed and fielded a ballistic missile that may be capable of hitting a maneuvering U.S. aircraft carrier. Dorsett said it was too early to tell whether the U.S. also has misjudged China's capability to build a stealth fighter jet.U.S. intelligence in particular misjudged China's progress developing the technology necessary to sense and attack a maneuvering vessel, [and in addition] the Chinese have tested the DF-21D missile over land a sufficient number of times to conclude that "the missile system itself is truly competent and capable," Dorsett said. Dorsett heads the Navy's Office of Naval Operations for Information Dominance, which includes Navy intelligence.
Under direction from the White House, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates on Thursday announced that the Pentagon will cut projected spending by $78 billion over the next five years and shrink the size of the Army and Marine Corps. The changes mean that the military would see annual budget increases that barely exceed inflation in coming years and that its budget will effectively remain frozen in 2015 and 2016.Even as he has told military officers to brace for hard times, Gates has sought to spare the Pentagon from the budget ax by taking preemptive measures. Over the past two years, he has eliminated dozens of expensive weapons programs, and he more recently sought to persuade lawmakers that the military had adopted a newfound thriftiness that would justify modest but steady annual budget increases.Defense officials had hoped those savings would be enough to fend off challenges to their total spending levels. But in recent weeks, the White House privately told Gates to come up with the ADDITIONAL [emphasis added] $78 billion in budget cuts over the next five years.Gates said the armed forces would have to start cutting where military leaders say it really hurts -- troop strength. Starting in 2015, the Army must trim the number of soldiers on active duty by 27,000 and the Marines by 15,000 to 20,000. The reductions will save a projected $6 billion over two years and are timed to coincide with planned troop withdrawals from the war in Afghanistan.