U.S. Benchmarking Capabilities Against China, Russia, Dunford Says


Russia and China are near-peer competitors and the United States must benchmark military capabilities against these possible threats, Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford said at Duke University here last night.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told a standing room only audience that the two-plus-three strategy gives civilian and military leaders the framework they need to prioritize personnel and resources.

The rise of China and Russia represent the return of great power competition and the American military must respond to this challenge. But the United States still is concerned about North Korea, Iran and violent extremism, he said.

This does not limit officials, he said. The best guess is that these threats are most likely, but there could be other threats that rise and must be addressed.

Preparing Against Challenges

“Our assumption is if we prepare against one or some combination of those challenges, then we’ll have the right inventory of capabilities to deal with the unexpected,” the general said. “But clearly, as we do our planning we think of the unexpected in addition to these five challenges.”

He said ensuring overmatch against these threats is not easy and the sources of strength for the U.S. military is what nations concentrate their capabilities on. In the U.S. case, one source of strength is…

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