[Defense in Brief] Pacific forces ‘wielding a butter knife’ against rising China

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The commander of U.S. Pacific Command said that regional forces are “wielding a butter knife” against rising Chinese forces and as such they need more support and better weapons. “If we have to fight tonight, I don’t want it to be a fair fight. If it’s a knife fight, I want to bring a gun. If it’s a gun fight, I want to bring in the artillery, and the artillery of all of our allies,” said Adm. Harry Harris. But as I said during Congressional testimony last year, sequestration could reduce us to wielding a butter knife in this fight. We must not let that happen. In order to deter potential adversaries in the Indo-Asia-Pacific, we must invest in critical capabilities, build a force posture that decreases our vulnerabilities and increases our resiliency, and reassure our allies and partners while encouraging them to be full and cooperative partners in their own defense and the defense of the rules-based international order.” The solution, he says, lies in passing an actual defense budget — which the House has done — which increases funding for joint training exercises with our Pacific allies, makes up critical munitions shortfalls that Admiral Harris identified as his “top warfighting concern,” accelerates the procurement of new VIRGINIA class submarines to counter Chinese naval advances, and allows the Air Force to add additional F-35s to the Pacific Theater to counter Russia and China’s 5th generation fighters.

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