by Bob Barr
In 1961 a previously unknown “doo wop” group, the Tokens, topped the singles chart with “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.” Considering the “woke” leadership of the United States military and our foreign intelligence agencies, many are wondering if the U.S. military “lion” sleeps while our Russian and Chinese counterparts work feverishly to overtake us in at least one key technology – hypersonic weaponry.
It is a concern worthy of serious study.
Recent public reports establish that both Russia and China have made significant advances in developing hypersonic missiles, the next generation of warhead delivery systems. These reports come as America’s commander-in-chief, President Joe Biden and his top military and foreign intelligence leaders remain fixated on ensuring a “woke” defense establishment and on mandating COVID vaccines for all military and civilian employees under their command, regardless of how many resignations such a short-sighted policy will cause.
When these factors are considered alongside Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley’s publicly reported views that Communist China is not “an enemy,” and his self-admitted friendship with his counterparts in the People’s Liberation Army that overrode his loyalty to former President Trump, it is indeed fair to speculate where his true priorities lie.
In a similar vein, over at the Pentagon, Lloyd Austin, on assuming office early this year, made clear that his top priority as Secretary of Defense is not China or Russia, but rather to ferret out “white extremism” in the ranks.
At the CIA, recruitment videos soliciting future intelligence experts focus not on defending against foreign threats and equipping our nation’s decision-makers with the very best intelligence possible on which to base national security policy, but on ensuring that the next generation of employees are sufficiently versed in LGBTQ philosophy.
While the Pentagon’s policies on LGBTQ awareness and hiring are well-advanced, its focus on hypersonic weapon technology appears far less robust, even as Russia and China continue with major programs in this area. According to a recent, nonpartisan study by the Congressional Research Service specifically regarding “Hypersonic Weapons,” the United States currently has “no programs of record for hypersonic weapons,” and only possible production of “prototypes.”
Pentagon news releases speak glowingly about the importance of developing both offensive and defensive hypersonic weapon capability, but when officials are pressed on the matter, the picture lacks clarity. For example, in typical government gobbledygook, the Defense Department’s Principal Deputy Director for Hypersonics, Mike White, has explained that the department has not moved beyond the stage of “[identifying] the most viable overarching weapon system concepts to choose from and then make a decision based on success and challenges.”
In other words, while our primary adversaries develop functional hypersonic weaponry, our government is still “deciding to decide.”
On the defense side of the hypersonic weapon equation, the picture is equally dim. According to the same August 2021 CRS study, even as both China and Russia continue to aggressively develop hypersonic weaponry, including those capable of maneuvering in flight and carrying nuclear warheads, a former top Pentagon official, Michael Griffin, testified before Congress that the United States “doesn’t have defenses against [their] systems.”
China’s development of hypersonic delivery vehicles is especially troubling considering that its leaders reportedly are looking at possible deployment of such devastating weapons in a “regional context.” In the current heated environment Beijing is fostering vis-à-vis Taiwan, such a policy presents an exceptionally dangerous scenario.
We all are by now familiar with Gen. Milley’s promise to warn Beijing in advance of any hostile action against the communist regime by the U.S. military. Unfortunately, the good General failed to elicit a corresponding promise from his PLA counterpart to warn us in advance of Chinese action, including by hypersonic missile.
Bob Barr represented Georgia’s Seventh District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003. He served as the United States Attorney in Atlanta from 1986 to 1990 and was an official with the CIA in the 1970s. He now practices law in Atlanta, Georgia and serves as head of Liberty Guard.