Biden Calls for Review of National Security Strategy on China During Pentagon Visit

February 11, 2021 by TWN Staff
President Joe Biden speaks to Department of Defense personnel alongside Vice President Kamala Harris and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin at the Pentagon, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Wednesday called on the Pentagon to conduct a review of of the United States’ national security strategy on China.

The decision, announced during the president’s first visit to the Defense Department, comes amid a growing recognition that the U.S. faces increasing challenges posed by China’s modernized and more assertive military.

Defense Department officials told reporters accompanying the president that the review would weigh U.S. intelligence, troop levels in the region, defense alliances with China and more.

Biden said the task force would “work quickly, drawing on civilian and
military experts across the Department” and make recommendations to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin “so that we can chart a strong path forward on China-related matters.”

“It will require a whole-of-government effort, bipartisan cooperation in Congress, and strong alliances and partnerships,” the president continued.

“That’s how we’ll meet the China challenge and ensure the American people win the competition of the future,” he said.

Biden is determined to depart from President Donald Trump’s approach to China — a relationship that placed economic and trade concerns above all else and then effectively crashed and burned after the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

During his remarks, Biden told Pentagon personnel “there is no aspect of our agenda of the 21st century leadership where the women and men of the Defense Department do not have a role — whether it’s helping curb the pandemic here at home and around the world; or addressing the real threats of climate change that already is costing us billions in impacts on our bases, on our national security; or being part of an ongoing fight for racial justice.”

“You are essential to how we must rethink and reprioritize our security to meet the challenges of this century, not the last,” he said.

“We need to take on the dangers and opportunities of emerging technologies, enhance our capabilities in cyberspace, ensure that we are positioned to lead in a new era of competition, from deep sea to outer space,” Biden added. “And we need to meet the growing challenges posed by China to keep the peace and defend our interests in the Indo-Pacific and globally.”

The China task force is to present its findings to Austin within four months. No final public report is anticipated, but Pentagon officials will discuss recommendations with Congress and others, officials said.

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