World, China, Hypersonic, Mark Milley

World, China

China's hypersonic tests close to 'Sputnik moment'—Gen. Mark Milley

Milley's comments mark the first public acknowledgment of China's hypersonic weapons tests by the country's most senior uniformed official.

10/27/2021 5:57:00 PM

Milley's comments mark the first public acknowledgment of China 's hypersonic weapons tests by the country's most senior uniformed official.

Milley's comments mark the first public acknowledgement of China 's hypersonic weapons tests by the country's most senior uniformed official.

China denied the event, saying only that it had tested a reusable spacecraft in July. Analysts, meanwhile, say the novel delivery system via space could evade American missile defenses and leave the U.S. vulnerable to Chinese nuclear weapons.Milley volunteered the phrase"Sputnik moment," in reference to the satellite that propelled the Soviet Union into the space race ahead of the U.S. in 1957, adding:"I don't know if it's quite a Sputnik moment, but I think it's very close to that."

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The event"has all of our attention," he told Rubenstein.Two days before America's most senior uniformed official confirmed elements of classified U.S. intelligence, thesaid China's attemptsto advance its military capabilities"are only going to increase tensions in the region and beyond."

Milley echoed the viewpoint on Wednesday, saying:"But that's just one weapon system. The Chinese military capabilities are much greater than that. They're expanding rapidly—in space, in cyber and then in the traditional domains of land, sea and air."

China's armed forces, known collectively as thePeople's Liberation Army, are now"a very capable military that covers all the domains and has global ambitions," said the general."So China is very significant on our horizon."

He declined to give specifics about the U.S.'s own hypersonic weapons program but said it was experimenting, testing and development technology"to include hypersonics, artificial intelligence, robotics and a whole wide range.""If you take a step back, what we're in, history wise, is we're in one of the most significant changes in what I call the character of war," Milley added."But today, with the introduction of precision munitions, the ability to see all over the world, artificial intelligence, robotics, hypersonics—all of these things together—this is an enormous change in the character of war. And we're going to have to adjust our military going forward."

Milley was also clear about China as posing the biggest threat to U.S. national security in the coming decades."As we go forward—over the next 10, 20, 25 years—there's no question in my mind that the biggest geostrategic challenge to the United States is going to be China. That I have no doubt at all," he said.

"I think China is clearly the most significant geostrategic threat we face," he added.Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley (L) testifies before the House Armed Services Committee on the conclusion of military operations in Afghanistan, on Capitol Hill, on September 29, 2021, in Washington, D.C.

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