Air Force Secretary highlights China’s growing threat and the imperative for swift modernization.

In a powerful and sobering address earlier this week, Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall laid out a detailed tutorial on why China has emerged as America’s preeminent security threat.

Kendall’s Urgent Call for Modernization and Great Power Competition Awareness

Speaking at the Air and Space Forces Association’s Air, Space, and Cyber Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, Kendall emphasized the need for rapid modernization and adaptation within the Air Force and Space Force to safeguard the nation’s security and interests.

Kendall’s speech held particular significance as it coincided with the 22nd anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which profoundly shaped America’s security focus. He highlighted the imperative to shift from a counterterrorism-centric posture to one that recognizes the emerging competition among “great powers.”

“While the threat of attack from violent extremist organizations still exists, China is by far our pacing challenge,” Kendall asserted, underscoring the urgency of adapting to this evolving threat landscape.

One of Kendall’s key points was the need for Congress to act swiftly, urging lawmakers to overcome the deadlock in confirming military nominations, pass a full-year budget, and prevent government shutdowns. These are essential steps to ensure the military’s readiness in the face of emerging challenges.

Kendall stressed that while the current security environment is turbulent, war is not inevitable. “Our job is to deter that war and to be ready to win if it occurs,” he declared. He emphasized the critical role of the Air and Space Forces in preventing conflicts and safeguarding American interests.

China’s Military Advancements: A Growing Threat to U.S. Dominance in the Pacific

Over the past two decades, China’s aggressive posture and military advancements were a focal point of Kendall’s address. Kendall pointed out that China had strategically optimized its forces for great power competition and aimed to prevail over the United States in the Western Pacific.