The National Defense University is a higher-learning facility run by the Pentagon that offers graduate programs mostly to members of the US military. “I also tasked the military services to make the People’s Liberation Army [China’s military] the pacing threat in our professional schools, programs and training,” the Pentagon chief said.
Esper also warned of the threat China and Russia pose to US global hegemony. “Our strategic competitors China and Russia are attempting to erode our hard-earned gains,” he said.
The former Raytheon lobbyist also touted a new plan to increase the fleet of the US Navy that Esper has dubbed “Battle Force 2045.” The plan calls for the Navy to have a 500 ship fleet by 2045. Currently, the US Navy has just under 300 battle-ready ships.
The Pentagon released its annual report on China’s military in September. The report says China has the world’s largest navy and has “an overall battle force of approximately 350 ships and submarines.”
Despite having more ships, China’s navy is vastly smaller than Washington’s in terms of tonnage. One example of this is the number of aircraft carriers each nation has, with the US having eleven aircraft carriers, while China only has two.