By Hu Xiaodao
Foreign media reported that the US House of Representatives passed the USD 768 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on December 8, in which the enormous allocations to specific purposes reveal America’s intention to consistently ramp up the military containment of its strategic rivals.
The new NDAA reveals three strategic intentions.
A comprehensive analysis of the House’s newly passed NDAA reveals three conspicuous features.
First, it highlights a bipartisan stance. The New York Times commented that while Republicans accused the Democrats of burning money on societal programs, the massive increase of allocations to support Ukraine and buy aircraft and vessels in the Act reveals a bipartisan consensus on continuing to spend huge amounts of federal funds on national defense. America’s National Interest website commented that the Act getting support from both sides of the aisle at the highly belligerent House, with 363 votes in favor and only 51 Democrats and 19 Republicans voting in objection, indicated Washington’s united stance on keeping up the military budget hike.
Second, it highlights a strong will to deter rivals. House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith said point-blank that passing the Act is significant in that it makes sure America has the proper tools to come out a winner in the strategic competition with Russia and other countries. It’s worth noting that the House version of NDAA came out soon after the videoconference between American president Biden and Russian President Putin. Rife with statements and measures to deter, intimidate and contain Russia, the Actis a textbook of America’s ingrained prejudice against the country.
Third, it highlights the pursuit of technological superiority. American media reported that before the bill went to the floor, House members from both parties agreed it would help the Pentagon phase out the old and outdated weapons and acquire new technologies and equipment, which would help the US military win future wars through enhanced technological superiority. Interestingly, to ensure such superiority, the bill banned the decommissioning of A-10 attack aircraft, B-1B strategic bomber and Ticonderoga-class cruiser. The Congress held that before new equipment is in place, the US military can only maintain quantitative and technological superiority over the navy and air force of certain major powers by keeping its old vessels and aircraft, commented American website Defense News.
The new NDAA will aggravate regional turmoil
As usual, the bill that has just cleared the House will be put to a vote at the Senate and, if approved, will be signed by Biden before officially becoming a law. Reactions from the stakeholders indicate a high possibility of the NDAA being signed by the president by year end.
Senior military officers explained the huge military spending in the bill, saying that the US military’s combat capability is no longer able to effectively respond to regional and global security threats due to the dramatic growth of certain regional countries’ military strengths. It looks probable that the Pentagon will push for military buildup by frequently playing the trick of “securing military budget by hyping external threats”.
Overall, the Biden administration is breaking away from Trump’s “do-it-alone” style and trying to establish an integrated and coordinated combat system with its allies across the world. It’s foreseeable that the US military will continue to fortify the military cooperation with allies and partners in the Asia Pacific and Europe, and move faster to put up the deterrence and suppression system and containment network against potential rivals. Its movements are worth close and consistent monitoring.