US Navy secretary says countering China will require ‘all of government’ response Richard Spencer says that approach also includes a larger reliance on US allies in the Indo-Pacific region


The secretary of the US Navy said on Wednesday that for the US to meet the challenge of countering the threat of China, it would need to take a page from China’s playbook and employ an “all of government” approach.

Additionally, Richard Spencer said, that approach required a larger reliance on US allies in the Indo-Pacific region.

What’s the difference between Indo-Pacific and Asia-Pacific? Regional control
“We have a competitor now that has no differentiation between military and civilian,” Spencer said in an address at the Washington-based Brookings Institution, referring to China’s unified approach across its public and private sectors when it comes to competing with the US. “It is an all-of-government approach.”

“I continually underscore that this is an all-of-government [effort] that we must do,” Spencer, who also briefly served as acting defence secretary, said.US Secretary of the Navy Richard

Spencer, shown in an undated photo, said on Wednesday that the US would need an “all of government” response to China’s challenge. Photo: Secretary of the Navy Richard V.

As it battles China on trade, technological and diplomatic fronts, the US government has taken several steps toward that end.

In just one example, last year Congress and US President Donald Trump expanded the review authority of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to include a wider variety of deals. The inter-agency body, which coordinates with Defence and other departments on its assessments, was given greater powers to halt pending transactions and unwind those already completed.

While specific countries were not named in the legislation, the change was prompted by escalating warnings from several federal agencies that Chinese companies buying American assets could pose national security threats by transferring “dual-use” technologies to Beijing.
In June the Pentagon created a new office with the sole purpose of monitoring China affairs, the latest effort by the Defence Department to counter Beijing’s expanding influence.

China’s rise does not make it America’s competitor, Pentagon official says
Spencer said it was essential for the military services to work in tandem – and with regional US allies in Asia. “We are greater when we integrate more closely with the Marine Corps, the joint forces, [and also] our allies and our partners.

Washington seeks to maintain its military engagement in the region amid escalating tensions between Beijing and some Southeast Asian nations – Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines among them – over territorial claims in the South China Sea.

Southeast Asian countries have disputed the “nine-dash line” Beijing has drawn around what it says are its historic claims in the region.

China has also built artificial islands, reclaimed land and installed airstrips and military equipment in the waters. Washington is not a claimant in the waters, but it has pushed its Indo-Pacific strategy to contain China’s military expansion in the Pacific and Indian oceans.

In August, the US sent the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier and its strike group – about 7,500 personnel, two guided-missile cruisers, a squadron of at least two destroyers or frigates, and a carrier complement of 65 to 70 aircraft – to the Philippines for a show of military might.

“We’re encompassing all the Pacific. I look at New Zealand, and I look at Australia … I look at what we’re doing with South Korea, [and] our traditional manoeuvres with Japan,” Spencer said.
“[These nations are] lead countries, playing their integral part. We have to do this together. The US is not going to land there with big boots, big ships and big guns and go ‘follow me’.”