US-NATO Concerned About Declining Technological Edge Over Russia, China

© Sputnik / Alexandr Kryazhev / Go to the mediabankThe RT-2PM Topol ballistic missile riding to the site of its permanent deployment with the Strategic Missile Forces of the Central Military Distric
The RT-2PM Topol ballistic missile riding to the site of its permanent deployment with the Strategic Missile Forces of the Central Military Distric - Sputnik International
US military and NATO officials expressed their concern over the rise in Russia’s military technologies.

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WASHINGTON, January 29 (Sputnik) — The United States and NATO are observing rapid improvements in Russia’s military technologies with increased concern, particularly as US technological advantages over potential adversaries decrease, US military and NATO officials said at a Center for a New American Security conference.

“Our [the US] military’s long comfortable technological edge…is steadily eroding,” US Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work stated on Wednesday. “We still believe we have a margin, but the margin is steadily eroding and it’s making us nervous.”

Areas of concern for the United States include the advances made by Russia and China in modernizing nuclear weapons, anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles, long-range strike missiles, as well as counterspace, cyber, electronic warfare, and special operations capabilities, Work said.

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“What gives us all pause is that the military of our potential competitors around the world has been rising since 2001,” the Pentagon official commented, noting that during the same period, military spending by US allies has generally declined.

The past decade’s reversal and growth in Russia’s military spending and force modernization poses a “challenge” to the United States, according to Work, with a “transoceanic and global” force projection.

NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander of Transformation, General Jean-Paul Paloméros stated on Wednesday that the transatlantic alliance is “closely monitoring” Russia’s fielding and development of advanced weapons systems.

General Paloméros referred obliquely to “game-changers” in Russia’s defense arsenal. Such systems, he said, “could deny our access to some strategic part of the alliance, or our ability to deploy our forces where and when it is needed.”

Given the narrowing edge of technological advantage over potential adversaries, NATO is focused on continually assessing how to transform itself “to keep the edge…on those very strategic domains,” the General stated.

Since 2012, Russia has been involved in a substantial military modernization program aimed at improving aging weapons systems and investing in new technologies through 2020, according to Russian official reports.

Over the past four years, Russia’s military expenditures have outpaced those of the United States as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP), according to World Bank data which showed US expenditures at 3.8 percent of GDP and Russia at 4.2 percent. The rest of the world averages military expenditures at slightly over 2 percent of GDP.

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