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Pentagon directives follow task force input on security concerns from China

U.S. Secretary of Defense General Lloyd Austin issued a directive on Wednesday initiating efforts to better address security concerns posed by China after a report by the China Task Force. Pool Photo by Menahem Kahana/UPI
U.S. Secretary of Defense General Lloyd Austin issued a directive on Wednesday initiating efforts to better address security concerns posed by China after a report by the China Task Force. Pool Photo by Menahem Kahana/UPI
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June 9 (UPI) -- Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin's directive on Wednesday calls for addressing security concerns based on input from the Defense Department's China Task Force.

The 15-member task force was comprised of high-level Pentagon officials and led by Ely Ratner, who was named to serve as the Pentagon's top official on Asia Pacific affairs.

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President Joe Biden announced its formation in February in his first visit to the Pentagon as president, noting that it was established to make recommendations to Austin "on key priorities and decision points so that we can chart a strong path forward on China-related matters."

Biden called the task force's work a "look at our strategy and operational concepts, technology and force posture, and so much more."

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Its two-fold mission was an examination of the Defense Department's China-related policies and processes, and development of a set of top priorities and recommended courses of action.

The United States faces growing evidence that China is expanding its military force and capabilities, according to government officials.

Although many of the initiatives are classified, a senior Defense official identified a "say-do gap," a reference to failing to practice prevailing policy, between a U.S. objective to counter Chinese aggression and its efforts to meet that goal, as a recommended change.

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The task force conducted hundreds of interviews and reviewed thousands of pages of policies, analysis and intelligence before submitting its report to the Defense Secretary in April, the directive's announcement on Wednesday said.

"I want to thank everyone on the task force for their hard work and the skill they lent to what was a sprint-like effort," Austin said in the statement announcing the initiatives. "I especially want to note the leadership of Dr. Ely Ratner, who superbly organized and managed this body of work. Now, it is up to the Department to get to work."

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