New DIA assessment warns China nears critical military milestone
A new assessment from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) warns that China is approaching a critical military milestone. The milestone, however, is not some new “doomsday device,” but a mindset. What is this worrying mindset? It is the assessment that China’s various military branches are approaching the self-conception that they are able to match their competitors, including the U.S., in regional conflicts. According to a senior intelligence official, “the biggest concern is that they are getting to a point where the PLA leadership may actually tell [President Xi Jinping] they are confident in their capabilities. We know in the past they have considered themselves a developing, weaker power…we don’t have a real strong grasp on when they will think that they are confident in that capability…they could order them to go today, but I don’t think they are particularly confident in that capability.” Taiwan and the South China Sea remain the highest threat centers of future conflict with China. Beyond these conflict centers, however, also include a more globally proactive China with a military “that is active everywhere.” U.S. military interaction with China will, therefore, increasingly extend beyond the waters near the Chinese mainland, expanding the possibility of escalation, but also of cooperation.