Even as top officials in the communist regime ruling over mainland China were spewing increasingly militaristic anti-American rhetoric — not to mention the Beijing-based dictatorship’s massive espionage operations against the United States — the Obama administration reportedly waived laws prohibiting certain Chinese-made parts on U.S. weapons systems. Experts say the apparently unprecedented move represents a major national-security risk and is part of a troubling trend.
Among the biggest concerns expressed by critics of the waivers so far is the fact that Chinese manufacturers — much of the economy, including “business,” is owned and controlled by the barbaric regime — have developed an international reputation for providing poor quality products. Indeed, official investigations have revealed that military hardware components made in China have a tendency to fail. A recent congressional report, for example, found that there could be over a million counterfeit Chinese electronic parts on U.S. military aircraft.
Also troubling is the prospect of the U.S. military becoming even more dependent on a potential adversary to keep its weapons systems operational. In the event of a war, the communist autocracy could, and presumably would, simply refuse to supply the needed components. With the Chinese dictatorship and its allies becoming increasingly belligerent, more than a few analysts have noted that eventual conflict is certainly a realistic prospect.
Even more alarming to national-security advocates is the potential for spying and sabotage. The communist regime ruling mainland China has become infamous worldwide for its gargantuan intelligence-gathering apparatus. Multiple reports, meanwhile, have suggested that Chinese products are already being used to steal sensitive information. When it comes to the U.S. government’s key weapons systems, of course, the implications are enormous.
According to official documents cited by Reuters, which first exposed the administration’s controversial issuance of the waivers, the Pentagon allowed two U.S. arms manufacturers to avoid sanctions despite legal restrictions on using Chinese components. The parts in question include important magnets used in the controversial F-35 fighter (shown) program, already under heavy fire for cost overruns, delays, being unnecessary, and more.
The military aircraft program, run by Lockheed Martin, is expected to cost U.S. taxpayers close to half of a trillion dollars. Two of the firms supplying the F-35 program, Northrop Grumman Corp and Honeywell International Inc., were reportedly allowed by the administration to use Chinese-made parts in the new fighter planes’ radar systems, landing gear, and other important hardware. Depending on the situation, malfunctions of components or even espionage and sabotage could prove deadly.
According to the documents cited in news reports, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), Congress’ investigative service, is probing at least three instances of Chinese-made parts being used in the F-35 program. The investigation was reportedly requested by U.S. lawmakers concerned about damage to American industry — and especially the prospect of having the U.S. military become more dependent on a potentially hostile foreign power just to produce its weapons and keep them operational.
Experts suggested the administration’s decision was unprecedented. “It was a pretty big deal and an unusual situation because there's a prohibition on doing defense work in China, even if it's inadvertent,” explained Frank Kenlon, described by Reuters as a recently retired senior Pentagon procurement official who now teaches at American University. “I'd never seen this happen before.”
Other former defense officials highlighted some of the myriad dangers of the scheme to use Chinese parts — even when U.S. companies could have reportedly supplied them. Michael Maloof, who served as a senior security-policy analyst in the office of the secretary of defense, called the news a “very serious development.” He also warned that the potential for problems was more than theoretical, with almost “all of the breakdowns” on U.S. weapons systems being attributed to components made in China.
“Of course, the Chinese look upon the U.S. military as an adversary,” he explained. “They know that the components will inevitably get into U.S. defense products, and consequently, this gives them some kinds of capability over U.S. systems — especially if those systems are used rigorously and vigorously. There is some indication that they can actually control the use of those components within those systems.”
That could mean bad news for U.S. troops and even, potentially, U.S. independence. “From the U.S. defense standpoint, this does not make you feel warm and fuzzy,” Maloof noted. “There have been recent Senate investigation studies in the U.S. Congress showing that Chinese components that went into military hardware were insufficient, they broke down or in some cases they could be used to spy, and actually break down a weapons system.”
The problem, Maloof added, is systemic. “The Chinese have entire industries that do nothing but build these fraudulent components — electronic components — and they export them,” he explained. “Lockheed Martin is not paying any attention to the concerns from the U.S. Congress, and they ought to be severely reprimanded for that.” Neither is the Obama administration, apparently. The federal laws prohibiting such machinations have been on the books for some four decades.
While the Chinese-made magnetic parts in the F-35 reportedly do not contain programmable elements, making them less risky for national security than other components from China, the waivers highlight what experts say is a deeply troubling trend. A study released last year found the U.S. military is dangerously dependent on foreign suppliers, including the communist dictatorship in Beijing, for its equipment. The United States is completely dependent on China for fuel needed to power “Hellfire” missiles, for example. The Communist Party-state is also among the top investors in key U.S. industries critical to national security, according to recent reports.
Separately, U.S. military leaders have blamed a combination of massive Chinese espionage and U.S. government machinations for putting huge amounts of the most sensitive American defense technology into the hands of the regime in Beijing. Officials have long said that the totalitarians ruling China represent the most serious spying threat to the United States. As documented in the February 15, 1999 “Chinagate: Treason in the White House” issue of The New American, however, even former President Bill Clinton played a key role in supplying U.S. military technology to the mass-murdering communist autocracy.
Among other top officials, former U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Thomas Moorer lambasted Clinton’s machinations. “President Clinton promised to restrain those who ordered the Tiananmen Square massacre, but he has now allowed these men whose hands are stained with the blood of martyrs of freedom into the highest reaches of our military defenses, and made available to them significant portions of our advanced military technology,” he wrote in a letter to congressional leaders at the time.
Under Obama, the trends have continued. The latest China scandal, for example, came just months after another major controversy surrounding the Obama administration’s troubling cooperation with the ruthless Chinese tyrants. Following an outcry over unprecedented terror drills with Russian troops on U.S. soil, the administration then came under heavy fire for inviting communist Chinese troops for “exercises” with American forces in Hawaii. While the Pentagon brushed off national security concerns when contacted by The New American, the Chinese regime boasted of “weapons demonstrations” and “cooperative action.” Critics said the scheme illustrated the acceleration of the dangerous trends.
Especially troubling to analysts is the Chinese regime’s rapid military build-up and its increasingly hostile anti-Western rhetoric. Among the countless examples that could be cited are the statements of Communist Chinese Maj. Gen. Zhu Chenghu, who threatened to destroy “hundreds” of American cities with nuclear weapons if the U.S. government adheres to its defense pact with free China, known as Taiwan. The same official who threatened to nuke the United States led a Chinese military delegation to Washington, D.C., last year.
More recently, the communist regime’s propaganda organs have been openly calling for a “de-Americanized” so-called New World Order. The dictatorship’s military, meanwhile, has been boasting that its warships can rival the U.S. Navy, even as the top tyrant in Beijing ordered his communist “People’s Liberation Army” to prepare for war. The regime has also reportedly been discussing the deployment of military assets to the moon — with the capability of striking any target on Earth. Experts say the troubling developments show no signs of slowing down and that Congress must take action.
Alex Newman, a foreign correspondent for The New American, is normally based in Europe. He can be reached at