Friday, March 9, 2018

Rumors Of War, wars To Come: China - 'Weaponizing Capital', Space Warfare, The New Battlefield

Leaders of the two US military branches have warned that China is “weaponizing capital” - buying strategically valuable land from other countries to give themselves a military edge to “win without fighting.”
During a House of Representatives Appropriations Defense Subcommittee hearing on Thursday, US Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer told lawmakers that the issue of Chinese land purchases "keeps me up at night."
"When it comes to China, the bottom line there is the checkbook," he said. "Not only in the dollars and cents that they are writing to support their military expansion and their technological work, but what they're doing around the globe… weaponizing capital."

In the summer of 2017, China forgave the heavy debt Sri Lanka owed them in exchange for Colombo giving a Beijing-owned consortium a 99-year lease on the economically advantageous port in Hambantota.
It is one of the most ambitious projects in the $1.4 trillion "Belt and Road Initiative," an enormous infrastructure network that is meant to increase trade — and Chinese influence — throughout Eurasia.

Hambantota will also be part of the "String of Pearls," a network of ports in the Indian Ocean where Chinese warships can refuel. However, Colombo promised India that they would not allow China to militarize the base and it would solely be used for commercial purposes. Other countries involved in the String of Pearls are Bangladesh and Pakistan.

"Going into Sri Lanka, redoing the port, putting an interest rate — not as aid, but as a total secured loan with a pretty hefty coupon — [the] debtor fails on that and the asset owner comes and reclaims it and says, 'These are now ours,'" Spencer told the committee. "They're doing that around the globe."

China has also begun a push into Europe, with Beijing-owned enterprises controlling about one-tenth of European port capacity, according to Foreign Policy.
US Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller also testified that China was "playing the long game."
"Their concern with human rights is not there, they've got big bags of cash. They're buying airfields and ports to extend their reach… they want to win without fighting," he said.

Beijing has also been ramping up military spending since the mid-2000s, making the country a distant second to the US in terms of military spending worldwide. In March 2017, they announced that defense spending would be increased 7 percent in 2017, an increase of $11.1 billion.

Space Warfare, the New Battlefield

Primer: The Pentagon is considering creating a combatant command for space warfare, the latest step by the Defense Department to respond to Chinese and Russian militarization high above Earth.
The move — one of several under consideration — is mentioned in a new Pentagon report sent to Congress last week. Right now, space forces are dispersed throughout the military and intelligence community.
There are two kinds of combatant commands. Geographic cocoms oversee military operations in six regions of the world. Functional ones — like U.S. Strategic Command and U.S.Transportation Command — oversee operations that span multiple geographical commands. U.S. Cyber Command is considered a subunified command under STRATCOM, but is being elevated to a functional command.
The Pentagon is looking into whether space should have its own combatant command or subunified command (like Cyber Command), the report says. Space forces were grouped under U.S. Space Command, a unified combatant command, until 2002.
The Pentagon is preparing for war should China, Russia, or other adversaries attack vital American satellites and other space systems, a senior Pentagon official told Congress on Wednesday.
The Pentagon has requested $12.5 billion in funding for the fiscal year 2019 that begins Oct. 1 for building up what he termed a “more resilient defendable space architecture.”
The request is $1.1 billion more than funding for last year on military space.
Rood, and Air Force Gen. John Hyten, commander of the Omaha-based Strategic Command, testified on the command’s budget request of $24 billion.
Neither elaborated on what space warfare capabilities are being developed. The Pentagon also has not said how it would deter and defend satellites from attack.

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