Jake Smith on September 12, 2023
Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall gave a stark warning that China is preparing for a war that the United States has “no modern experience with” during a speech at Air and Space Forces Association’s 2023 Air, Space and Cyber Conference on Monday, according to an Air Force press release.
Kendall said that the catalyst for a war with China would likely be Taiwan and evoked Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as an example of an international war with no easy solution, according to the press release. Kendall warned in a memo penned last week that, as quickly as China’s military has advanced, the United States is “not optimized for great power competition.”
“Today, the intelligence couldn’t be clearer,” Kendall said at the event on Monday, according to CNN reporter Haley Britzky. “Whatever its actual intentions may be, I could not say, but China is preparing for a war and specifically for a war with the United States.”
While North Korea and Russia still pose a threat on the global stage, China is “by far pacing our challenge,” as the country’s military continues to rapidly advance, Kendall said, according to the press release. China has created two new military branches – the Rocket Force and Strategic Support Force – the former of which is intended “to attack America’s high-value assets, aircraft carriers, forward airfields and key C2 and logistics nodes,” and the latter “to achieve information dominance in the space and cyber domains.”
@usairforce Secretary Frank Kendall to Congress: “Please give us the authorizations, appropriations and confirmations to do our job…” #AFASeptember #USAF #AirForce #Airman #Guardianpic.twitter.com/Z9vJlRLqMW
— Air & Space Forces Association (@AFA_Air_Space) September 11, 2023
“If our power projection capability and capacity are not adequate to deter Chinese aggression against Taiwan or elsewhere, war could occur. If it does, and we cannot prevail, the results could cast a long shadow,” Kendall said, according to the press release.
Addressing the ongoing hold over the Pentagon’s military nominees, Kendall implored “one senator” to lift his blockade on confirmations, an apparent reference to Republican Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville, according to Britsky. Tuberville has successfully stonewalled over 300 nominations in protest of the Pentagon’s policy that funds female service members’ out-of-state travel to seek an abortion.
“My message today for that one senator causing all this disruption..is that all these men & women & their units & their families are having their readiness and their lives negatively impacted by your unprecedented actions,” Kendall said, according to Britzky. “On behalf of all the men and women serving our country…who cannot speak for themselves, I am asking you to lift the blanket hold you have on over 300 general officers awaiting Senate approval of their well-earned promotions.”
The Air Force did not immediately respond to a request for comment.