China may be the “most challenging” security threat to face the United States in the last several decades, according to U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Saks).

Rogers, who chairs the House Armed Services Committee, said during a hearing on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) that if the United States does not address the dangers of a rising China, the next three decades “could be devastating for our nation.”

“Under President Xi, the Chinese Communist Party has nearly tripled its defense spending in the past decade,” Rogers said. “[China’s military] has gone from an obsolete force barely capable of defending its borders to a modern fighting force capable of winning regional conflicts.”

Rogers claimed the CCP controls the largest army and navy in the world and cited Chinese efforts to bolster its military capabilities, such as nuclear expansion, acquisition of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) and advancement in AI and quantum computing technologies.

Referencing Saturday’s spy balloon fiasco, Rogers criticized the Biden administration for allowing “a CCP spy balloon to traverse some of our nation’s most sensitive military sites.”

“Make no mistake, that balloon was intentionally launched as a calculated show of force,” Rogers said. “We have to stop being naïve about the threat we face from China. We no longer have the luxury of time. We need to act now to get ahead of this threat. We need to make the right investments, in the right capabilities, to ensure our military can effectively deter, and if necessary, defeat this threat.”

Other officials believe the threat from China may be overstated, citing rapid declines in the country’s population, which appears to be shrinking faster than projections, potentially due to the one-child policy the CCP adopted in the 1970s and an aging population. 

In 2022 alone, China’s population fell by around 850,000. Some say this could cause problems for the CCP at home and abroad. Almost 20% of China’s population is 60 or older, which could be as high as 30% by 2035.

The United Nations predicts China’s population will shrink by 100 million by 2050.

Rogers has been accused of being hawkish about foreign intervention in the past and is a top recipient of campaign funds from the defense industry. Last month, he urged President Joe Biden to “approve without delay” missile systems manufactured by his largest campaign donor, Lockheed Martin. When asked for a comment, his office refused to respond. 

Other members of the Alabama delegation recently cited additional concerns about other potential Chinese security threats, such as federal funding for universities with Confucius Institutes and public education institutions with ties to the CCP.

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