China Military Spending Threatens U.S. Superiority, Kendall Says

China’s increased defense spending coupled with shrinking U.S. budgets threatens to end U.S. military superiority, a top American procurement official said.

“We’ve relied on technological superiority for decades now as one of the fundamental things that sets our military apart and I do see that that’s not assured given the investments being made by China as well as by other powers,” Frank Kendall, under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, told reporters in Singapore today.

China has been matching its growing economic might by expanding its military muscle as its asserts itself more aggressively in the Asia region. Defense spending reached $240 billion last year, about twice the officially declared budget, the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency said this week. In contrast, efforts to trim the U.S. budget deficit has forced the adoption of mandatory cuts in military spending known as sequestration.

“I can say that we do not find the sequestration levels to be what we need to defend the country and implement our strategy,” Kendall said.

Planned cuts to research and development pose the biggest threat to U.S. military readiness, Kendall said. If there are more funds available in the future, the U.S. can buy more equipment or do more training, but “we can’t buy back the time it takes us to develop new systems, so I’m particularly concerned about that now,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sharon Chen in Singapore at schen462@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rosalind Mathieson at rmathieson3@bloomberg.net

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