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The United States is at an inflection point in our national defense planning. China's growing military strength presents us with a peer adversary for the first time since the Cold War that can threaten our air superiority, compete with us technologically, and deny or even control our traditional blue water spaces. It is contesting American influence across almost all domains, especially the military one.
In this competition, the vital task of our military leaders is guessing what the next war might look like. Unfortunately, too many of them are guessing wrong. In Iraq and Afghanistan, in Georgia and the Persian Gulf, our adversaries have gained immense advantage with gray zone warfare, irregular and unconventional operations below the threshold of conventional war, complicating legal questions and policy responses.
American special operations forces (SOF) and their enablers remain custom-built for this kind of warfare. Through building partner militaries, conducting psychological warfare, and collecting high-risk intelligence, these forces conduct missions that we need to blunt our adversaries' most successful means of attack.
Army Secretary Christine Wormuth has made public comments in…