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Sunday, February 25th, 2024

Sen. Ernst, Rep. Gallagher seek to shrink missile gap with China

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U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) are advocating the Pentagon devise a plan to shrink the China missile gap and strengthen Indo-Pacific deterrence.

The Rings of Fire Act specifically outlines requirements for the Secretary of Defense to develop a strategy no later than 180 days after its enactment.

“China’s aggression is growing, and a strong deterrence strategy is needed to confront the Chinese Communist Party,” Ernst said. “As China’s rocket force has taken the lead in the Indo-Pacific, the shocking gap in America’s missile capabilities calls deterrence into question. I’m working to close this gap by building ‘rings of fire’ around our pacing threat and reduce China’s home-field advantage.”

Ernst maintains via coordination with key allies, the United States can develop and deploy the missiles needed throughout the Indo-Pacific and force China’s military onto its back foot.

Bill proponents indicated bill provisions include an assessment of current gaps in the U.S. theater-range precision strike capabilities, an identification of military requirements for these missile systems, a list of prospective locations to base these missile systems, and a description of operational concepts for use of the missiles.

“The Chinese Communist Party has spent years building a rocket force that can push American ships out of a fight and target American forces further out across the Indo-Pacific—reaching our own borders. It’s time we use this logic against them and build an anti-Navy and an advanced, theater-range missile force of our own,” Gallagher said. “Surging these missiles and dispersing them across the region is a clear way to make Xi Jinping think twice about moving on Taiwan, but top Pentagon leadership has not taken the steps necessary to develop and deploy these missiles.”