…The serious tone of the guidance reflects the growing threat of great power conflict between the U.S. and China, said Bryan Clark, a retired submarine officer and former senior aid to Chief of Naval Operations Jon Greenert.
“Fighting is a much more important element in this guidance than in other documents like this that we’ve seen in recent years,” said Clark, now an analyst at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. “He’s saying that being ready to fight is an important element in our ability to deter aggression.”
… Clark said the lead point is a clear allusion to a handful of high-profile incidents in the region that has strained U.S. relations, particularly with Japan. In March a sailor was accused of raping a Japanese woman and in May a former Marine and military civilian based in Okinawa were being implicated in the disappearance and death of a woman there.
“No amount of new capability or weapons systems will make up for a workforce with a character problem,” Clark said. “Eventually that will eat you alive.” ..