Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr. expressed that the Air Force, and the United States in general, must respond to challenges from China with “speed, focus, and commitment.”
In a speech at the National Press Club last week, the general recalled how 9/11 wreaked havoc in the country. “If we wait for another cataclysmic event to drive change for our Air Force and the joint force, it will be too late, and we risk defeat,” Brown said.
Brown asserted that the “risk of losing” a future armed conflict is high, so rising challenges must be addressed now.
‘Air Force Must Change’
The general further explained that if the air force doesn’t change, it runs the risk of losing its “competitive advantage in a highly-contested environment.” Further risks include loss of credibility among allies, losing quality airmen and their families, and losing the “ability to defend our national interests.”
“To address the challenges that endanger our national security, the transition to the future of the Air Force, the future design, must start today,” Brown said.
His proposals include modernization of the air force, as China is continuously modernizing its military and technology.
One Source of US-China Tensions
The past several years have seen a rise in tensions between the United States and China.
The US recently approved its first sale of arms to Taiwan under the Biden administration. China, however, views the proposed sale as a violation of its “One-China Principle,” which states that the island of Taiwan — which it sees as a breakaway province — must eventually be reunited with the mainland.
Among other political and territorial issues, conflict over the status of Taiwan places the US in the difficult position of having to defend the island under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, should China launch an invasion.