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US Air Force Chief of Staff Discusses National Security Threats: ‘We Have to Change’

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US Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown Jr. warns that the military must change if it is to stay ahead of China and Russia, stating that “the threat we face is not It is the threat that we will see in the future. “

In an interview with Voice of America (VOA), Brown said that “our adversaries have continued to improve their capabilities at the same time that we have been using some of the same capabilities that we have been using for the last 30 years.”

That’s why Brown said “we have to change.”

One change coming to the Air Force will be unveiled on December 2 when the branch unveils its new B-21 stealth bomber, which will replace the B-1 and B-2 bombers that have been around since the 1980s.

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Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and South Korea’s Minister of National Defense Lee Jong-sup pose for a photo in front of a B-1 bomber during a visit to Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, on Thursday, November 3, 2022.
(Mandel Ngan/Pool via AP)

Brown said he couldn’t provide availability rates for the new plane due to classification issues, but said the upgrade ensures “we have a ready force.”

“One thing I will say is that’s why I’m going to modernize, because we have some aircraft that from a maintenance standpoint are a little rougher, a little harder to maintain.” [with] decreasing resources for parts,” Brown said.

Last month, the Biden administration released its national defense strategy, which listed Russia as an “acute threat” and China as a “pacing challenge” and the greatest threat to national security.

According to the document, China has more active-duty military personnel than the United States and has spent decades upgrading its weapons, including adding new aircraft carriers, new fighter jets and a massive missile arsenal in recent years.

Despite China’s advance, Melanie Sisson, a defense analyst at the Brookings Institution, told VOA that the United States remains “very, very capable” and “the best military force in the world.”

A general view of the sea from Pingtan Island, one of the closest points from mainland China to Taiwan, in Fujian province on August 4, 2022.

A general view of the sea from Pingtan Island, one of the closest points from mainland China to Taiwan, in Fujian province on August 4, 2022.
(HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images)

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Although the US has shifted its focus to China and Russia, Brown told VOA that maintaining a strong relationship with allies in the region and taking advantage of growing US capabilities such as satellite-based systems space, will be key to moving forward.

Last month, Brown visited partners in Ecuador, Peru and Colombia to discuss each country’s modernization efforts within its military, and this month he plans to travel to Jordan, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates for the same purpose.

China and Russia seek to gain influence in the Western Hemisphere as non-NATO ally Argentina expresses interest in new fighter jets. Officials in the country are reportedly interested in the JF-17 from China and Pakistan, the F-16 from the United States, the Tejas from India, and the Russian-made MiG-35.

US Airforce Thunderbirds, Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcons perform at Pacific Airshow on Saturday, October 1, 2022 in Huntington Beach, CA.

US Airforce Thunderbirds, Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcons perform at Pacific Airshow on Saturday, October 1, 2022 in Huntington Beach, CA.
(Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

VOA said a senior retired military officer has learned that Argentina wants US-made fighter jets, but a 1982 British arms embargo could block the deal as the British make some F-16 components.

The official is reportedly concerned that the embargo could push Argentina to turn to China for its defense needs.

PAC JF-17 Thunder multirole fighter aircraft, a combat aircraft made in China and Pakistan.

PAC JF-17 Thunder multirole fighter aircraft, a combat aircraft made in China and Pakistan.
(Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

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When asked about this concern, Brown said the United States was “going to pay attention to it.”

“My real focus is to make sure that we continue to interoperate as best we can with our partners and make them understand that the United States and the United States Air Force are committed to working very closely with him,” he said.

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