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Countering China’s Theft of U.S. Military Technology

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In the rapidly evolving landscape of military technology, the competition between global superpowers is reaching new heights. Among these contenders, the United States and China stand at the forefront, with artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced weaponry becoming the battleground for supremacy. As both nations strive to outpace each other, the theft of U.S. military technology by China has become a grave concern. This article delves into the race for military tech supremacy and how the U.S. can maintain its edge against a formidable adversary.

Dan Robinson, CEO of Red 6 and a former Air Force F-22 pilot, emphasizes the magnitude of innovation happening in China, urging the United States not to underestimate the efforts of its rival. He acknowledges the reality of the threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party and the immense focus on innovation within China. Robinson insists that the U.S. should recognize the importance of nontraditional pathways to innovation, including small startups, as the key to progress.

China’s belief in the potential of weapons equipped with AI capabilities as a means to challenge U.S. military dominance is evident. Their approach, according to a report by the Special Competitive Studies Project, is to incorporate AI and autonomy into their concept of futuristic warfare, referred to as “intelligentized warfare.”

The disturbing revelation that China ripped off U.S. military technology to develop its advanced J-20 jet fighter serves as a stark reminder of the extent of the challenge. Former Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Policy James Anderson highlights the impact of espionage efforts, stating that China’s J-20 is more advanced than it would have been without stolen technology. While assessing how it compares to the U.S. F-22 Raptor remains uncertain, it underscores the threat posed by China’s advancements in military tech.

Beijing’s ambitious development of the J-20 began in 2008, aiming to compete with American fighters, ultimately entering service in 2017. Beyond fighter jets, China has also demonstrated prowess in AI-guided artillery shells, enhancing their military capabilities significantly.

A “Peer Adversary” Emerges

Red 6’s Dan Robinson acknowledges China’s tremendous capability in advanced weaponry, suggesting they might be slightly ahead in some aspects. This assessment comes as the U.S. Navy and Air Force explore AI-guided weapons, and the Army develops wearable biometric devices employing AI for monitoring soldiers’ health. Robinson emphasizes that the U.S. is now facing a true peer adversary for the first time in years.

To counter the challenge posed by China, Robinson advocates for agile technological innovation, particularly through defense startups. These startups, he argues, are crucial in addressing the rapid advancements in military tech and maintaining a competitive edge. The U.S. military’s ability to keep up with China’s pace largely depends on these innovative companies, making it a crucial battle.

It borders on tragic that we have our own greatest minds developing the best technology in the world, only to have our biggest rival – and indeed probable military enemy – steal it and use it against us. China’s theft of U.S. military technology has given them a significant advantage, creating a peer adversary in this domain. And the faster we develop, the more they steal. Is it time to lock the Chinese out of these environments?

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