The time has been ripe for questioning at the Pentagon in recent months, as it becomes more and more obvious that the United States has been, at best caught up, at worst overtaken, by Chinese industrial and scientific power in the military field in recent years. For the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Pentagon, General John Hyten , this situation can be summed up in a simple comparison: “China has carried out, over the last 5 years, hundreds of tests and trials of hypersonic systems. the United States made 9.” According to him, it is the American industrial and scientific method which is at the origin of this observation, even though, in the field of hypersonic weapons, to name but a few, the United States had at the start of the decade previous, of an immeasurable technological and scientific advance over China and Russia.
But where China, Russia or even North Korea have developed the will to succeed and to experiment, according to the American general officer, the American armies have sunk into a comfortable posture leaving no more room for constructive failure. Thus, it took two years between the first hypersonic system tests, which was a failure, and the second, which was also a failure, which led to the suspension of the program. During the Cold War, General Hyten cites, the United States suffered 13 consecutive failures in 18 months before managing to launch the first spy satellite into orbit around the Earth. It is this lack of determination which, it seems, is at the origin of the present situation , at least from his point of view.
Added to this is a certain form of Western myopia regarding the threats currently developing. Still according to General Hyten, China is today developing a strategic nuclear capability far exceeding the deterrence capabilities strictly necessary for Beijing. By simultaneously developing a large number of silos and mobile ICBMs , by expanding the fleet of ballistic missile submarines, new stealth bombers as well as new ballistic missiles that can be released from these bombers, and naturally by developing the hypersonic capabilities of all of these vectors, the Chinese authorities are providing their country with a first and second strike capability equivalent, if not in number, in capacity, to that of the United States and Russia, without this generating the slightest reaction in the United States, and more broadly, in the West.
General Hyten's statements overlap with numerous subjects already addressed by Meta-Défense, notably that of the Technological Tempo, but also the biases which affect the analysis of the Chinese or Russian threat, or the factors which today handicap the industrial response, scientific and technological to the needs of the armies in the United States and Europe. It is regrettable, however, that it is most often departing general officers, like General Hyten who will soon leave office, or others already retired, who raise the alarm on these various points. Awareness is now required, otherwise, beyond a probable and even inexorable downgrading, it is indeed the very security of Westerners which will be compromised by this exacerbated conservatism.