Romney urges DoD to finalize report on US competition with China – Mitt Romney | Gmx Pharm

WASHINGTON-U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) today called on Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to complete the mandatory, comprehensive reports comparing U.S. military spending to Chinese and Russian military investments required by a provision Romney included in the FY2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). . Given that China and Russia do not report their military spending in the same way as the United States, this report will help the US understand the real spending power of China and Russia and make decisions about how we should invest in defense capabilities.

“The little we know about Russia’s and China’s military budgets makes it painfully clear that they are not playing around…”Senator Romney wrote. “We need to understand not only the basic dollar-to-dollar investments of the US versus the PRC and Russian militaries, but also what that dollar represents. This information is critical to making decisions about how the US should invest in our own defense capabilities.”

“In the past there have been efforts to compare US military capability with that of our adversaries. During the Cold War, the Department of Defense and intelligence agencies invested significant time, money, and intellectual capital trying to figure out what the Soviets were spending on their military. Today there are no such efforts, although the threat is arguably greater.” Romney continued. “That’s why I wrote a section over two years ago. 1299H in Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act. Sect. 1299H requires the Department of Defense to conduct a study to understand how China and Russia are investing in themselves, their manpower, maintenance, new conventional and nuclear weapons, new capabilities like cyber weapons and how that compares to our own budgeting .”

“I understand that the Department of Defense is under a significant burden from the Legislature to review policies and other processes. However, the failure to prepare the report is not just a failure to uphold the law, it is a failure to adequately protect this nation. The US needs this information to plan, budget and establish good policy towards Russia and China.” Romney closed.

The full text of the letter is below.

Dear Secretary Austin,

Among the most alarming lessons the world is learning from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is the extent to which the United States and our Western allies have been surprised by the true strength of Russia’s military. Countless inaccurate assessments have provided clear evidence that the United States must invest far greater resources in understanding how our own military might stacks up not only against Russia but also against China.

This was highlighted in a recent Politico article headlined “The US has overestimated Russia’s military power. Is it underestimating China?” It revealed troubling blind spots that US analysts had regarding Russian military strength ahead of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as well as the true strength of the Chinese military. It has been more than 18 months since I led an effort in Congress to require such an assessment of our military investments. Not only has the Pentagon failed to report to Congress, but to my knowledge the work has not yet begun. If true, it would be a shocking admission of our state of military readiness.

The little we know about Russia’s and China’s military budgets makes it painfully clear that they are not playing around. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, laid out the issue in his 2021 testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, stating: “Taken together, when all the cards are on the table, the Russian and Chinese budgets exceed our budgets .”

Not only do we need to understand the basic dollar-to-dollar investments of the US versus the PRC and Russian militaries, but also what that dollar represents. This information is critical to making decisions about how the US should invest in its own defense capabilities.

China is building its military even faster than we previously anticipated, and plans to build at least 1,000 nuclear warheads by 2030. Conventional wisdom puts the Chinese defense budget at between $200 billion and $250 billion a year, a figure we know to be a serious underestimate. Numerous more nuanced analyzes of China’s defense budget have suggested that the “official budget” may be three to four times the reported figure – which would rival the size of the US defense budget.

Accurate assessments also require fundamental adjustments when comparing one budget to another. For example, the US military invests $130 billion a year in research and development in its publicly available budgets. However, since China doesn’t classify R&D in this way, its military spending appears artificially low.

Meanwhile, Russia, after spending years rebuilding its military and offensive cyber capabilities, is waging a war of aggression not seen in Europe since World War II. Russian leaders insist they will continue their military buildup even as global sanctions try to disrupt the supply chains they depend on for their production. It is in our interest to understand the impact of US sanctions on Russia’s military budget.

In the past there have been efforts to compare US military capability with that of our adversaries. During the Cold War, the Department of Defense and intelligence agencies invested significant time, money, and intellectual capital trying to figure out what the Soviets were spending on their military.

Today there are no such efforts, although the threat is arguably greater. That’s why I wrote a section over two years ago. 1299H in Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act. Sect. 1299H requires the Department of Defense to conduct a study to understand how China and Russia are investing in themselves, their manpower, their maintenance, new conventional and nuclear weapons, new capabilities like cyber weapons, and how that compares to our own budgeting represents.

The law is quite simple – it requires the Pentagon to initiate a government study on the subject. And it’s asking for a second study by a federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) to offer Congress a second opinion.

However, this government study, which was due to be completed within 270 days of the passage of the 2021 NDAA, has yet to be completed. Worse, I understand that while the Department of Defense has mandated the Office of Net Assessment to assign an appropriate FFRDC, it has yet to assign responsibility for the Department of Defense’s own statutory study. The NDAA for FY21 was effective January 1, 2021. It has now been over 18 months since it came into force, making this critical study nine months overdue.

Specifically, the NDAA (Section 1052) for FY22 required that this report, among several others, be submitted to Congress before the Secretary of Defense can spend the final 10% of his travel budget.

So I’m writing to ask you to fund and complete your studies immediately. I understand that the Department of Defense is under a significant burden from the Legislature to review policies and other processes. However, the failure to prepare the report is not just a failure to uphold the law, it is a failure to adequately protect this nation. The US needs this information to plan, budget and establish good policy towards Russia and China.

I respectfully request that you respond to the following questions within 14 days of receipt of this letter with the following information:

1) Which department in the Department of Defense is responsible for the study?
2) What is the timeline for graduation through an FFRDC?
3) What is the timeline for the Department of Defense to complete the study?

We need to ask the right questions and get the right data—now.

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