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Inside the Ring
Question of the Day
“The lesson China has learned when it uses a major warning strike is that it works,” Mr. Pillsbury said, noting that in the four earlier cases there was little or no response from those attacked.
Mr. Pillsbury said a “consistent” U.S. military exchange program with China is needed to help reduce the chances of China launching such military strikes by mistake.
While the risk of a future military miscalculation by China is low, the danger is compounded by excessive Chinese secrecy about its strategic goals, he said.
Areas where China could carry out surprise pre-emptive deterrent strikes include an attack on Japan over disrupted undersea oil drilling, or against India over another border dispute. Burma and South Korea also could be targets of Chinese deterrent strikes, if China’s unknown strategic red lines are crossed by its perceived enemies.
WMD THREAT OFFICE
A blue-ribbon panel that conducted a review of the Pentagon’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency, or DTRA, found that the office set up to counter weapons of mass destruction needs more money and a strategic plan.
The review panel was headed by former Assistant Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter, now at Harvard University, and former Undersecretary of State for International Security Robert Joseph, now with the National Institute for Public Policy.
“DTRA has done much to advance national and international combating WMD missions, with the resources available,” the report concluded. “However, it requires substantially more budgetary resources and senior-level support to realize its full potential in helping [the Defense Department] and the U.S. government to confront the WMD threats of today and tomorrow.”
The report called for the Pentagon to provide more senior-level backing for the agency and the formulation of a “detailed strategic plan for combating WMD.”
“The plan without the commitment would be hollow,” the report said. “The plan combined with the commitment would allow the recommendations for [Defense Department] combating WMD activities - including those in this report - to be operationalized in an ambitious, but realistic fashion.”
Rep. Thaddeus McCotter of Michigan, chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee, wrote to President Bush last week expressing Congress’ concerns about U.S. exports of sensitive technology to China for Olympic Games security.
Mr. McCotter stated that although the protection of Olympic athletes is important, “the transfer of sensitive equipment and technology to communist China has raised concerns on Capitol Hill.”
U.S. transfers of explosive detection equipment, X-ray equipment and other embargoed goods was first disclosed by The Washington Times.
“Given communist China’s massive military buildup, lack of military transparency, continued espionage to acquire U.S. defense intelligence, and history of proliferating weapons and weapons-related technology, it is important that this recent transaction receive congressional oversight,” Mr. McCotter stated in the June 12 letter.
About the Author
Bill Gertz is a national security columnist for The Washington Times and senior editor at The Washington Free Beacon (www.freebeacon.com). He has been with The Times since 1985.
He is the author of six books, four of them national best-sellers. His latest book, “The Failure Factory,” on government bureaucracy and national security, was published in September 2008.
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