- The Washington Times - Friday, February 12, 2021

The man tapped to lead the Pentagon’s new task force focusing on the threat posed by an increasingly bellicose China said he isn’t creating another layer of government bureaucracy.

Ely Ratner told Pentagon reporters that the Department of Defense‘s 15-member China Task Force has no more than four months to wrap up its analysis and provide a briefing to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin proposing specific priorities going forward.

“Then (the task force will) hand the baton off to various elements of the department to carry forward implementation and review of the issues,” said Mr. Ratner, a former deputy national security adviser to then-Vice President Biden.

The members of the China Task Force will come from several sections at the Pentagon, both military and civilian. 

“We’re looking for representatives from across the department,” Mr. Ratner said. “We’re not going to bring new folks in from the outside.”

Task force members will be spread throughout the Department of Defense on a listening tour to gauge what are considered top challenges and top priorities when dealing with China.

“Then it’ll be incumbent on the task force itself to distill those down to a discrete set of top priorities,” Mr. Ratner said. 

While the China Task Force is focused on the Defense Department, it will be integrated into a broader interagency endeavor, he said.

“We’re going to try to identify the most important challenges and opportunities for the secretary (and) try to identify what should serve as his and his team’s top priorities on China,” Mr. Ratner said.

• Mike Glenn can be reached at mglenn@washingtontimes.com.

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