US losing military edge to China, experts warn Senate
Iran Press TV
Wed Dec 2, 2015 5:43PM
The Pentagon needs an overhaul of its arms buying system before completely losing military edge to countries like China, experts have warned the US Senate.
Last week, President Barack Obama signed the 2016 "defense policy bill" which is laden with reform measures aimed at establishing a revamped weapons acquisition system, but lawmakers have said they want more radical changes.
Testifying before members of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, experts said that under the current regulations, the Pentagon is struggling to keep talented workers and is falling behind other nations.
As an example, the committee was warned that in night vision technology, the US has lost its reign to France. The experts said that strict export controls have driven countries away from the US, turning them to competitors like China.
The comments echo the former director of the US Missile Defense Agency, who said in August that China is developing a missile program that would allow the country to destroy "nearly all of our space assets."
Senator John McCain, the chairman of the committee, lamented the testimony, saying that despite several major defense reform bills over the past decades, the system is still prone to risks and less open to commercial solutions than it was 30 years ago.
Military technology gaps in several fields including robotics, communications and data analytics are "emboldening" the US adversaries, McCain said.
Senator Jack Reed, a ranking member of the committee, echoed McCain's concerns, and hinted to the dire need to do more in order to fill the gaps.
"We have begun to make an impact, but we cannot sit back on our laurels, we have to do more," he said.
Ben FitzGerald, director of the Center for a New American Security's Technology and National Security Program, told the Senate panel that the Pentagon is clinging to a Cold War acquisitions model, characterized by an alignment of the Defense Department and the private sector.
Retired US Air Force Lt. Col. Dan Ward said long-term, sophisticated and expensive programs have become the norm for the Pentagon, but are not doing it any favors.
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