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Task Force Looks to Prioritize, Synchronize DOD Response to China

Feb. 11, 2021 | BY Jim Garamone , DOD News

DOD's China Task Force will examine all the DOD activities relating to what Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III calls America's "pacing challenge" to ensure they are synchronized, prioritized and coordinated to the greatest extent possible, the leader of the review told Pentagon reporters today.

Ely Ratner will lead the 15-member panel as it seeks to examine all the department's policies with regard to China. President Joe Biden announced the task force during a visit to the Pentagon yesterday.

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Pentagon Briefing
The Pentagon Press Briefing Room in Arlington, Va., July 7, 2020.
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China is a rising power and is challenging the United States and its allies in many parts of the world. From the Horn of Africa to South America to throughout the Indo-Pacific, China is asserting its growing influence in ways that often undermine the established international order that has maintained peace since the end of World War II.

The task force will identify the most important challenges and opportunities for the secretary, Ratner said. The team will also rank and organize priorities and examine whether there are enough resources or attention devoted to them. The team has four months to deliver its findings.

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An aerial view of the Pentagon, Oct. 28, 2018.
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"The initial period of the task force will be an assessment, where the members of the team will be spanning out across the department, doing a little bit of a listening tour to hear what the various components are identifying is their top initiatives, top priorities and challenges," Ratner said. "Then it'll be incumbent upon the task force to distill those down to a discrete set of top priorities, and spend a period of time trying to identify what are the right mechanisms to address, review and implement various areas."

While the task force is a DOD organization it will be fully integrated with the White House and broader interagency, Ratner said.