Llyod Austin, US Secretary of Defence, has recently addressed directives on challenges posed by China. Considering the final recommendation submitted by the DoD China Taskforce, Austin addressed a directive initiating several major Department-wise efforts to better address the security challenges posed by China. He also regarded it as the number one pacing challenge for the United States.
“The initiatives I am putting forward today are nested inside the larger U.S. government approach to China and will help inform the development of the National Defense Strategy we are working on,” said Secretary Austin. “I am enormously proud of the work put forth by members of the China Task Force,” Austin said. “I asked a lot of them, and they delivered. Now it is time for us to move forward. The efforts I am directing today will improve the Department’s ability to revitalize our network of allies and partners, bolster deterrence, and accelerate the development of new operational concepts, emerging capabilities, future force posture, and a modernized civilian and military workforce.”
The directive clearly showed Austin’s intent to supervise the DoD’s China-related policies, operations and intelligence as the Task Force’s recommendations are incorporated into ongoing reviews and Department-wide processes.
President Joe Biden in last February announced the establishment of a task force which has a two-fold mission: to conduct a baseline assessment of China-related programs, policies, and processes at the Department of Defense; and to provide the Secretary with a set of top priorities and recommended courses of action for the Department.
During its tenure, the task force did many interviews, reviews and in April finally submitted their primary assessment to Secretary Austin and to DoD civilian and military leadership, including at the spring Senior Leaders Conference.
However, secretary Austin seemed to be thankful towards the force. “I want to thank everyone on the Task Force for their hard work and the skill they lent to what was a sprint-like effort,” said Austin. “I especially want to note the leadership of Dr Ely Ratner, who superbly organized and managed this body of work. Now, it is up to the Department to get to work.”