China’s effort to expand its influence was estimated as one of the largest threats facing the United States, according to a major annual intelligence report released on 13 April, which also foresaw Beijing at least doubling its nuclear stockpile over the next decade.
US Congress has been warned that China’s military is judged to be ramping up its nuclear arsenal and delivery systems at a pace that belies the Defense Intelligence Agency’s previous estimate of when Beijing will double its warhead stockpile.
The forecast was offered by Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. General Scott Berrier, as he testified at a Senate Armed Services Hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on Thursday to elaborate on worldwide threats challenging the United States.
China’s nuclear forces, encompassing an array of ground-based mobile missiles, nuclear missile submarines and bombers, were estimated by the Federation of American Scientists to have an arsenal of about 260 total warheads as of 2015.
According to the Washington-based Arms Control Association, the number suggested was 290. The US Defense Department’s most recent report on the Chinese military stated that China’s warhead stockpile was “currently estimated to be in the low-200s.”
The People’s Liberation Army was estimated by the DIA last year to be on course to double its stockpile of nuclear warheads by the year 2030.
According to the general, the accelerated nuclear buildup is part of a “massive…