Asked during the hearing what "keeps you up at night," Rear Adm. David L. Philman, Navy director of warfare integration, said: "Well, the China scenario is first and foremost, I believe, because they seem to be more advanced and they have the capability out there right now, and their ships at sea and their other anti-access capabilities."
The Pentagon refers to China's advanced weapons, including ballistic missiles that hit ships at sea, new submarines, anti-satellite weapons and cyberwarfare capabilities, as "anti-access and area denial" arms.
Adm. Philman said the J-20 rollout is a concern, but with 1,000 test hours on the F-35, the jet is a "far leap ahead from the Chinese fighter that's flown three times."
"But they will catch up. They understand. They're a smart and learning enemy, and if we don't keep our edge, then we will be behind, or at least lose our advantage," Adm. Philman said. [emphasis mine]So, um, RADM Philman: any chance you could avoid describing the world's most populous country as an ENEMY? Considering the way that, you know, we're not actually at war with them or anything like that, and how in fact we actually have a gradually growing mil-to-mil relationship with them? I know it's just fighter-pilot lingo, and I know you're talking about the PLA more specifically, not the entire country, and I know we're talking about hypothetical future threats to U.S. air dominance and that in that context, it's reasonable to talk about us and "the enemy," even if only as a matter of the way forces are arrayed (as in friendly aircraft vs. enemy aircraft, etc.). But dude, come on.
Can we just go with something like "adaptive adversary"? It's less aggressively inflammatory, it connotes potential rather than actual threat, and it has the added benefit of being consistent with doctrine!