Marine Corps commandant says China, Russia to pose biggest challenges for years

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Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger said Thursday that China and Russia will pose the greatest threats to the United States for the foreseeable future.

Speaking at The Hill’s “The Future of Modern Expeditionary Warfare” event, Berger said that while other military and security threats are far from inconsequential, they do not rise to the level of Beijing and Moscow.

“As far out as we can see, as I can see, that’s going to remain so,” he told The Hill’s Steve Clemons.

Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.), chairman of the seapower and projection forces subcommittee of the House armed services committee, highlighted how Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin first visited the Indo-Pacific region, instead of the Middle East or Europe, after they were confirmed.

“It’s clear, I think diplomatically and militarily, that the pacing threat right now is the Indo-Pacific region, which is all about water and air because of the vast distances that are out there,” Courtney said at the event sponsored by the Amphibious Warship Industrial Base Coalition.

Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.), the subcommittee’s ranking member, said China has been using every method at its disposal to learn how to bolster its ships and shipyards, including stealing U.S. technology.

“What we’ve done now is to awaken to that fact, understanding that the Chinese will do things differently to achieve their own ends and that the means don’t make a difference to them,” he said.

Wittman said that while the United States has been focused on Iraq and Afghanistan for the past 20 years, building ships and necessary resources for the Navy has remained static. He said that’s allowed China to narrow the infrastructure and technology gap.

The Virginia Republican added that the future of the U.S. amphibious force lies in smaller, more mobile ships.

“We’ll still need the larger ships as logistical connectors, but you use amphibious platforms to be able to move equipment around, to be able to supply Marine Corps units. And you will not see the large scale amphibious assaults that you saw during World War II,” Wittman said.

Tags Antony Blinken China Joe Courtney Lloyd Austin military threats Naval warfare Rob Wittman Russia
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