The Biden Administration has been “too little too late” in countering Russia, and is increasingly playing by the same rules with the Chinese Communist Party. The latest national security spectacle played out over a full week before the White House ordered the shoot down of the Chinese spy balloon that floated from the tip of Alaska all the way through the coast of the Carolinas. The questions surrounding this event are numerous: what was NORAD doing while it watched this slow-moving CCP target drift into American airspace? If this has happened in the past, as the White House maintains, why don’t we have a standard operating procedure to deal with it? But beyond this incident, it is the implications of the U.S. reaction that truly matter – if it takes a civilian standing in a field in Montana to point out a security threat to prompt the White House to action, we have a problem. If we don’t get serious, fast, about China, we’re adding to the problems we already face with the CCP. And if we continue to hedge on defense spending, and see Chinese incursions and major wars as isolated crises, the nation will pay a much heavier price down the road.
Representative Mike Gallagher (WI-08) is the new Chairman of the Select Committee on Strategic Competition between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party. He is also on the House Armed Services Committee, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. He has served in the House since 2017. Before that, he served for seven years on active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps, including two deployments in Iraq. He also served as the lead Republican staffer for the Middle East and Counterterrorism on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.