An R&D Alliance That Can Challenge China.

Author:Magnuson, Stew

* MAKUHARI, Japan -- The amount of funding China is putting toward research and development is climbing faster than a Long March rocket. One could bludgeon readers with a raft of statistics. It's said the nation's percentage of GDP spending on R&D will soon catch up with the United States and its annual expenditures are increasing by huge amounts.

China's stated goals include dominating a group of high-tech fields before the end of the decade. And while that may or may not happen--unlike the U.S. government--what leaders say must be executed. They don't have continuing resolutions in China.

But those statistics don't tell the whole story. It doesn't take into account the value of intellectual property in the United States, Europe and other free nations that is stolen and incorporated into Chinese weapon systems. Why spend money on something when it can be pilfered for a lot less money and effort? It doesn't take into account the 350,000 Chinese graduate students studying in the United States and returning to their homeland sharing what they learned.

So what can be done to challenge China's push to dominate a range of dual-use and military technologies that can be used against the United States and its regional allies?

The answer should have been obvious to anyone who attended the DSEI Japan conference held near Tokyo in November. An R&D alliance including the United States, Japan and Australia is necessary and can challenge China's goal of military dominance in the region.

Japan is a technologically advanced nation with a lot to offer in the fields of robotics, material sciences, batteries, medicine, marine sciences, artificial intelligence, machine vision and others. (See story on page 18). It only recently opened up to exporting its military technology and it's not yet adept on converting dual-use items to defense applications. But the underlying R&D is there.

A trip National Defense made to Avalon--The Australian Air Show outside of Melbourne earlier last year--was also informative. Here is a country of 25 million residents punching way above its weight in terms of military technology and it has the potential to do a lot more. It is spending $200 billion over a 10-year period to bolster its military and wants a good portion of those expenditures to go toward building up its indigenous capabilities.

That pot of money can be leveraged for an R&D alliance.

William Schneider Jr., a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and a former...

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