WASHINGTON (AP) — Chinese bombers. Chinese hypersonic missiles. Chinese cyberattacks. Chinese anti-satellite weapons.
To a remarkable degree, the Pentagon's new budget proposal is shaped by national security threats that Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has summarized in three words: "China, China, China."
The Pentagon is still fighting small wars against Islamic extremists, but it is trying to shift its main focus to what Shanahan calls the most pressing national security problem for America: an erosion of its competitive advantage over China.
Several of Shanahan's predecessors pursued what the Obama administration called a "pivot" to the Pacific, with China in mind. But Shanahan sees it as an increasingly urgent problem that goes beyond traditional measures of military strength and defense budgets.
Congress, however, often is distracted by narrower issues like the U.S.-Mexico border wall.