Andrew Krepinevich

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An early precursor to China's nuclear ICBMs, at the Chinese Military Museum, Beijing, January 2009. David Gray / Reuters

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 »

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 »