China is building its arsenal of new weapons five to six times faster than the US and at a small fraction of the cost, gaining a strategic advantage that Washington can’t afford to leave unchecked, a top Pentagon official has lamented.
“In purchasing power parity, they spend about $1 to our $20 to get to the same capability,” US Air Force Major General Cameron Holt said at an industry conference in San Diego. “We are going to lose if we can’t figure out how to drop the cost and increase the speed in our defense supply chains.”
Holt, who oversees all weapons procurement as deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force, made his comments at a conference for federal government contractors last month. The speech came to light this week, however, when an online magazine called The War Zone reported on it.
The general blamed America’s “slow, micromanaged” appropriations system, which was effective during the Cold War, for putting the US at a disadvantage.
“In this environment today, it is absolutely going to kill us,” Holt said.