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China’s Military Expansion Is a ‘Holy S***’ Moment for America, Says the Navy SEAL Commander Who Oversaw the Bin Laden Raid

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A former Navy SEAL commander has warned that China‘s break-neck military development is quickly making the huge nation America’s most significant global rival.

Retired Admiral William McRaven—who headed the Joint Special Operations Command from 2011 to 2014 and oversaw the operation that killed Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden—described Chinese military evolution as a “holy s***” moment for the U.S. during a Council on Foreign Relations event on Wednesday to mark the release of a new report, Business Insider reported.

Beijing has invested huge sums over recent decades to transform its military from an enormous but low-tech force into a modern one capable of force projection in East Asia and further afield. Between 1996 and 2015, Chinese military spending jumped some 620 percent and the country now has the second largest military budget in the world behind the U.S.

The Center for a New American Security has warned that Chinese technology is nearing, or has already reached, parity with its U.S. rival in multiple areas.

This will allow China to compete directly with the U.S. to try and dominate its local theater, displacing U.S. hegemony in Asia that has been the norm for decades. Taiwan and the South China Sea are areas of particular importance for Beijing, as well as the busy south east Asian sea lanes through which vital energy imports flow.