Senator David Perdue: China On Track To Reach Parity With U.S. In Pacific

“I am concerned we’re in the middle of a paradigm shift relative to the other superpowers.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-GA), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, asked Admiral Harry B. Harris, Commander of the U.S. Pacific Command about China’s increasing influence in the Asia-Pacific region and the threat of China’s growing investment in its military.

Click here to watch the exchange or click on the image below.


Senator Perdue: Since the Barbary Pirates and our first five frigates, the United States has always dealt with our foreign policy and our national interest from a position of strength. I’m very concerned as we sit here today that we’re in the middle of a paradigm shift relative to the other superpowers. Since 2000, China has spent or is spending today approximately six times more on their military. Is that directionally correct in your mind? About six times compared to just fifteen years ago?

Admiral Harris: Probably, sir. I don’t have the data. I’ve seen the curve and the curve is dramatic in the amount of defense spending they’re doing based on just what they tell us, and they’re probably spending higher.

Senator Perdue: Well I lived over there and I’ve manufactured over there. I’ve sold over there. When you adjust the currency and the ability that they have to buy their weapons and their systems cheaper than we can, I look at the developments just this year. You educated me about a year or so ago about their DF-26, the “Carrier Killer,” the first aircraft was coming online this year. The fact that 95% of their missiles would violate the INF Treaty, and that they far outrange our capabilities today, would you say today, sir, that China is on parity with the United States military capability in the Pacific Region?

Admiral Harris: I would not, in terms our asymmetric advantages and the quality of our equipment and our people. That said, quantity has a quality all its own, and they are swiftly moving to exceed the United States in terms of numbers of ships, submarines and aircraft and the like. So we have to continue to work and resource those asymmetric advantages that we have. Certainly China is trying to close that gap in every regime.

Senator Perdue: So in the next five years, if you continue that trajectory, there is every reason to believe going on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis that they will actually double the amount of investment that we have in the military. That’s just a projection.

View Senator Perdue’s full remarks in the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the U.S. Pacific Command here.


Senator Perdue is the only Fortune 500 CEO in Congress and is serving his first term in the United States Senate, where he represents Georgia on the Armed Services, Banking, Budget, and Agriculture Committees.