In late June 2021, satellite images revealed that China was building 120 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) silos on the edge of the Gobi Desert. This was followed by the revelation a few weeks later that another 110 missile silos were under construction in Hami, in Xinjiang Province. Together with other planned expansions, these sites amount to a dramatic shift in the country’s approach to nuclear weapons. For decades, China maintained a relatively small nuclear force, but according to current U.S. intelligence estimates, that arsenal is now on track to nearly quadruple, to 1,000 weapons, by 2030, a number that will put China far above any other nuclear power save Russia and the United States.… Seguir leyendo »
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Leon Panetta has begun his tenure as secretary of defense with big challenges to manage — conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, and looming cuts in defense spending — and two clouds on the national security horizon he knows he cannot ignore.
These threatening developments are in regions long considered to be of vital interest to the United States: the Western Pacific and the Persian Gulf. They will be difficult, if not impossible, to reverse.
One concerns the U.S. military’s loss of its near-monopoly in precision-guided munitions, or “smart bombs.” China is fielding precision-guided ballistic and cruise missiles in increasing numbers.… Seguir leyendo »