China, Russia Nearing Status as U.S. Nuclear Peers, Stratcom Commander Says

July 31, 2020

Department of Defense

Speaking today at the Nuclear Deterrence Forum sponsored by the Air Force Association’s Mitchell Institute, Navy Adm. Charles A. Richard discussed the rapid modernization and readiness improvements by Russia and China in both their strategic and conventional military capabilities — and the challenges those improvements pose for the United States.

“China is on a trajectory to be a strategic peer to us by the end of the decade. So for the first time ever, the U.S. is going to face two peer-capable nuclear competitors,” Richard said, adding that Russia is the other peer. “We have never faced that situation before.”

China is in the process of completely building out its own nuclear triad, with the strategic bomber being the last part to be put into place, he said. The other two legs of the triad — intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarines — are already operational.

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