In this past week’s “Inside the Ring” column, Bill Gertz mentions the following:
The Defense Intelligence Agency is looking for a senior analyst to move to Hawaii’s U.S. Pacific Command headquarters to focus on the issue of China’s rapidly expanding military.
The new official will develop intelligence analysis on Chinese military operations and capabilities “including complex assessments that may be predictive in nature.”
The analyst also will prepare and present briefings to senior decision-makers and intelligence leaders on issues and programs “that may be considered controversial due to their precedent-setting nature.”
That wording, according to U.S. officials, is an oblique reference to the ongoing debate inside U.S. intelligence agencies on Chinese military developments and specifically Beijing’s strategic intentions.
Most China hands currently in the intelligence community are known to share the “benign China” outlook that argues that China poses little or no threat, is only nominally a nuclear-armed communist state, and must be shielded from anti-communist conservatives who want to turn it into a Cold War enemy.
However, more “realist” intelligence officials are gaining influence in government, having long ago abandoned the “benign China” view. They see China as the most serious national security challenge and one that the U.S. military urgently needs to take steps now to deter and defeat in a future conflict.
Just about six years ago I put together a little something called “China as Strategic Competitor” that would appear to be in the direction the DIA pendulum is swinging. Wonder if I should apply for the job?
I’m certainly senior enough. And I’ve never been to Hawaii.