Lecture series prepares Airmen for potential China conflict

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  • U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center Public Affairs

To better understand how potential conflict with China could unfold, Airmen at the U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center learned about the nation’s complicated history.

The center’s Indo-Pacific Command Academic Working Group hosted the first of a six-part series devoted to understanding China’s history, culture and warfighting mindset.  

The current U.S. National Defense Strategy prioritizes China as the pacing challenge. The strategy also charges the Defense of Department with developing operational concepts, capabilities and plans to deter China from challenging the existing rules-based international order.

The center’s commander, Maj. Gen. John Klein spoke at the event, invoking China’s most recognized military general. Klein referred to Sun Tzu, who in The Art of War said, “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.”

For the U.S. to remain a geopolitical strength and a positive influence in the world, servicemembers need a better understanding of Chinese perception and perspective.

“There is no doubt they want to supplant us as world power, and it’s presentations such as these that will help us articulate the urgency to our force,” he said.

U.S. forces have grown accustomed to achieving air dominance over the battlefield with near absolute certainty. However, Maj. Francisco Torres, an intelligence officer with the 305th Operations Support Squadron who helped found the academic working group, said China’s combination of diplomatic, information, economic and military power provide a much greater threat than U.S. adversaries of the past three decades.

“Chain has the means and will to redefine the global world order in a manner that benefits China,” Torres said.

Air Mobility Command recently debuted in the Indo-Pacific theater testing the Mobility Air Force’s large-force, agile combat employment, humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief capabilities in contested, degraded, and operationally limited environments spanning over 3,000 miles.

“We must have the ability to compete with China and deter them from engaging in offensive kinetic combat,” Torres said. “Our senior leaders set out for us to build a fighting force capable of fighting and winning inside the first island chain. We must expand our capabilities through air, land and sea to ensure our logistics and command and control of the Global Air Mobility Support System are all in sync.”

The Expeditionary Center enterprise has changed the way they organize, train and equip Airmen for expeditionary warfare and advancing a shared vision alongside allies and partners of a free and open Indo-Pacific region in which all nations are secure in their sovereignty and free from coercion.

Klein emphasized that war with China wasn’t inevitable, but that he and his Airmen will continue to prepare like it is.

Part two of the six-part series is scheduled for Aug. 11 at 11:15 a.m. Eastern.