China and American Military Procurement

Hutong West
Marvelling at American cable TV
1441 hrs

Editorial: China’s Naval Ambitions: “Beijing’s drive to extend its military and territorial reach is raising legitimate questions about American diplomacy and future military procurement.”

This is an excellent article, but it only scratches the surface. The U.S. military’s procurement system, which has been broken for at least four decades, is now starting to crumble into a compost heap of careerism, mismanagement, wastage and bloat that is leaving the nation’s armed forces all but unarmed.

As China practices cost-effective means like missiles and gunboats to offset U.S. aircraft carrier battle groups, the Navy cannot seem to build the small warships it needs and wanted to build destroyers that were costlier than aircraft carriers; the Marines are flying one white elephant (the OV-22 Osprey) and about to buy another (the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle, which at $20 million costs as much as an overpriced jet fighter); the Army can’t seem to build a rapidly-deployable fighting vehicle or a new artillery piece, and was discouragingly slow on procurement mine-resistant vehicles; the Coast Guard is buying deep water ships that leak; and the Air Force…don’t get me started on the F-22 Raptor or the F-35.

China’s procurement system is not perfect, and I would argue that the PLA is hogtied by the politicization of the officer corps, outdated doctrine, a weak NCO corps, and a lack of experienced commanders. But China’s peaceful rise is guaranteed as much by a capable and operationally sound U.S. military as it is by the benign intentions of the leaders in Zhongnanhai.

There are huge cracks in the Pentagon, which is being trapped by inertia, crushed under the weight of gold-plated weapons systems, and hobbled by waste. It is time to fix them before they are exploited by others.


About David Wolf

An adviser to corporations and organizations on strategy, communications, and public affairs, David Wolf has been working and living in Beijing since 1995, and now divides his time between China and California. He also serves as a policy and industry analyst focused on innovative and creative industries, a futurist, and an amateur historian.
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