The greatest threat to the Defense Department is not Russia or China, but Washington, D.C., said Frank Kendall, the under?secretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics, on Wednesday. Political gridlock blocking the Pentagon from getting a reasonable defense budget “is the greatest threat we face right now,” Kendall said at the ComDef 2015 conference in Washington, D.C. The Pentagon is facing increasing threats to technological superiority, largely coming from the investments potential adversaries, such as China, are making in technologies to counter US capabilities, including modern ballistic missiles and cyber capabilities, “the suite of things that target our high-value assets,” Kendall said. The US investment pattern “is not as robust,” and focuses instead on replacing platforms, such as the plan with the F-35. Lawmakers do not appreciate the threats to the nation’s technological superiority, noting staffers and lawmakers are “rolling their eyes” and do not believe that Russia and China are truly competitive, Kendall said. These potential adversaries are directly targeting the capabilities of the US and its allies, he said.
After a long period in which munitions were almost an afterthought and sacrificed to pay for other priorities, the Air Force needs to focus on them in order to have the right “package” of capabilities for future conflicts, Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. said June 7.