Gaetz Questions America's Ability to Deter China's Hypersonic Weapons

Gaetz Questions America's Ability to Deter China's Hypersonic Weapons

Grayson Bakich
Grayson Bakich
April 19, 2023

During the House Oversight Committee hearing with members of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) questioned Principal Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Jedediah Royal and Admiral John Aquilino on the apparent superiority of China in hypersonic weaponry over the United States, according to the classified documents leaked by Jack Teixeira.

"The head of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command just reiterated the same concerns he had last year: America needs hypersonic capabilities in the near term that we currently do not have. Meanwhile, China is surpassing our hypersonic capabilities. So who’s going to be punished more: the knucklehead who leaked the classified information confirming this or the Generals, Admirals, and so-called “experts” who sat before our committee for decades and lied? We have too many grifters who roll in and out of the Pentagon to defense contractors – some of them even become Secretary of Defense thereafter," said Rep. Gaetz.

Rep. Gaetz began by citing an article by the Washington Post which stated "Military planners are realizing that China has surpassed the United States in hypersonic military technology," asking if the assessment is accurate. Royal responds that discussing that information would be better in a classified setting.

Gaetz objected that not only was this information part of the leak carried out by Jack Teixeira, but Admiral Aquilino had previously spoken before the Senate Armed Services Committee in 2021, warning of the exact same thing.

"And I actually think it can't be too classified because it was a year ago, Admiral, that you were before the Senate Armed Services Committee, and you seemed to be giving the warning at that time that we saw manifest in this leak. You said, "The hypersonic glide vehicle threat poses a serious threat to the U.S. and allied forces in the region, and we require a near-term initial defense capability to meet this challenge,'" Gaetz quoted Admiral Aquilino.

Additionally, Gaetz chastises American posturing in the region, focusing more on building aircraft carriers and littoral combat ships "that will never get into the fight," making him wonder aloud if Jack Teixeira will face greater punishment for leaking the information than the officials who were keeping it hidden in the first place.

"Who's going to be punished more? The knucklehead who leaked this classified information, or the Generals, Admirals, and so-called 'experts' who have sat before our Committee and the Senate for decades saying that these capabilities that we were funding with gajillions of dollars were going to sufficiently deter China? And what you said last year, what you've confirmed now, is that we need a capability in the near term that we do not have. What this leak shows is that China has it, and we don't. And yet we continue to build ships that will never get in the fight. We continue to support these endeavors that don't enhance deterrence, but if the right Senator or Congressman or lobbyist is for them, we do them," Gaetz continued.

Gaetz concluded by saying "too many grifters" are interfering in the United States' ability to remain a Pacific power, calling it "disgraceful."

"We've got too many grifters who roll in and out of the Pentagon to defense contractors, and some of them even become Secretary of Defense thereafter, and I think it is disgraceful and it's not worthy of a true Pacific power like the United States," said Gaetz.

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Grayson Bakich

Grayson Bakich

Florida born and raised, Grayson Bakich is a recent recipient of a Master’s Degree in Political Science at the University of Central Florida. His thesis examined recent trends in political polarization and how this leads into justification of violence.

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