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Biden announces new DOD ‘China Task Force’ – here are the details and who’s leading it

President Joe Biden speaking at the Pentagon on Feb. 10, 2021. (White House/Released)
February 10, 2021

President Joe Biden announced the formation of a new China Task Force on Wednesday, which will help the U.S. “chart a strong path forward on China related matters.”

The task force will be a part of the Department of Defense and comprised of up to 15 DOD civilian employees and military personnel. It will include experts from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Joint Staff, Military Services, Combatant Commands, and Intelligence Community.

The task force will be led by Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense, Dr. Ely Ratner, a longtime Biden aide who also worked in the State Department, as well as for RAND, Center for a New American Security, and Council on Foreign Relations as an expert on China.

The task force will develop recommendations for “key priorities and decision points” on China relations over the next few months and deliver those recommendations to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin within four months after the task force is officially formed. Those recommendations will also be discussed with Congress.

“That is how we will meet the China challenge and ensure the American people win the competition of the future,” Biden said.

At a State Department speech on Thursday, Biden referred to China as “our most serious competitor” and vowed to take on the growing rival.

“We’ll confront China’s economic abuses; counter its aggressive, coercive action; to push back on China’s attack on human rights, intellectual property, and global governance,” he said at the time.

“But we are ready to work with Beijing when it’s in America’s interest to do so. We will compete from a position of strength by building back better at home, working with our allies and partners, renewing our role in international institutions, and reclaiming our credibility and moral authority, much of which has been lost,” he added.

Biden has held calls with foreign leaders over the past few weeks, many discussions which have included China.