Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin said Wednesday that Biden administration officials “undermine” efforts to build the military with comments about the unlikelihood of an invasion of Taiwan.
“I think we do ourselves no favors with minimizing the scope and scale of challenge we face and every time General Austin or Milley goes out there and says, ‘Well, it’s unlikely Xi Jinping will do this in the next few years,’ I actually think it undermines our ability to force industry to do things like start building the long-range precision fires we need to surge west of the international date line,” Gallagher, who chairs a Select Subcommittee on China, said about Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Army Gen. Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“The most important thing we need to do is talk with clarity about this problem so that we can galvanize actual action. If we’re so afraid of provoking the Chinese, the thing that we fail to realize is that weakness and hesitation is itself provocative,” Gallagher continued.
Gallagher also raised concern about providing Taiwan with sufficient weapons to protect itself in the event of a conflict.
“There’s $19 billion of weapons that haven’t been delivered,” Gallagher said. “It’s not going to happen overnight. But the more we talk about it, the more we put pressure on the [Defense] Department, the more we can fix that. The second thing I think we can do, by changing the way we buy weapons and allocate money for [the] Pentagon to buy critical munitions, is start to refill our stockpiles of key things that are just severely depleted right now.”
Milley said during a September 2021 congressional hearing that he told a Chinese military official he would warn them ahead of time in the event of an attack.
The United States has sent over $100 billion in aid to Ukraine, and announced in January they would send 31 M1 Abrams main battle tanks following a December announcement that a battery of MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missiles would be provided to that country.
“Hard power will help us deter war,” Gallagher added.
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