(Abdul–Rahman Oladimeji Bello, Headline USA) As China-U.S. relations continue sinking to record low levels and fear of conflict escalates, both countries have taken steps to ensure that their militaries remain strong, but have used decidedly different approaches.
In the latest step to help recruitment numbers and bolster re-enlistments, the U.S. Navy unveiled a new policy that drops the branch’s fitness test mandate, which had significantly reduced the retention rate for sailors.
As reported by the Navy Times, the director of military personnel, plans and policy, Rear Admiral James Waters III, said the new strategy was primarily to improve accession and retention rates to meet goals set to be achieved by the end of the year.
He added that this shift was needed to improve attrition, saying, “We don’t want to punish sailors because gyms were closed during the pandemic. We don’t want to disadvantage sailors.”
Moving forward, all sailors who intend to continue their service will have no issues due to PFA failures and can continue in service and advance as long as they choose. Waters concluded, “We think this reset could allow up to 1,500 sailors to remain in service who might otherwise be separated. Requirements and standards remain constant.”
Meanwhile, China’s communist leader Xi Jinping has called for “more quickly elevating the armed forces to world-class standards,” the AP reported. Xi stressed an increased need to maximize the country’s abilities to cope strategically with threats and safeguard China’s interests.
In a speech last year, Xi referenced the need for “a strong system of strategic deterrent forces, raise the presence of combat forces in new domains and of new qualities, and deeply promote combat-oriented military training.”
In his first conference as the Foreign minister, Qin Gang subtly threatened the United States. He said, “If the United States does not hit the brake, but continues to speed down the wrong path, no amount of guardrails can prevent derailing and there surely will be conflict and confrontation.”
Beijing’s Foreign Ministry merely discarded questions about China’s intentions behind its “military expansion and pursuit of hegemony.”