Innovation in people, society is how US takes on China, NDIA’s Carlisle tells Reagan Forum

NDIA's Hawk Carlisle as a panelist on U.S. and China relations at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, CA.

SIMI VALLEY, CA – There is no separating U.S. economic security and national security when it comes to China, and the United States must be fully aware that China will act for its own benefit, said NDIA’s Hawk Carlisle at the Reagan National Defense Forum, Saturday, Dec. 7 in Simi Valley, CA.

Retired Air Force Gen. Carlisle, now president and CEO of the National Defense Industrial Association of Arlington, VA, made his remarks during the panel discussion, “U.S.-China Relations After the Trade War: Impacts for National Security and Defense,” at the forum.

Carlisle noted that after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, China was admitted to the World Trade Organization later that year. While the United States had a strategic focus on the Middle East, China used its position in WTO to suit it. The result has been about $600 billion per year in stolen intellectual property.

“China’s predatory loan practices and coercive business practices … As we look at this, the trade war is not ending,” Carlisle said. “There will be competition, as far as I can see, and (China) will try to change the rules to suit them.”

Carlisle noted the crackdowns in Xianjing and Hong Kong and China’s brutality against the Uyghurs there and encouraged the international community to “look at it with eyes wide open. Our allies and partners must push back,” he said. “It’s not easy, but it’s something that should affect all Americans’ value systems. The rest of the world is seeing this. We do have to push back, but it we must do it in the right way.”

Carlisle noted while a trade deal is needed, “we’ve got to be vigilant” about China’s business practices. China “will give an inch but will try to take two back,” he said. “We must have safeguards in place,” such as the current actions by the Committee of Foreign Investment in the United States, under the Treasury Department, and the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act.

If a deal is made with China, it’s important to keep moving forward and not regress, Carlisle said. “Innovation in our people and society, that is how we become even more competitive with China,” he said. He noted that China had its worse year economically in 38 years and its economy grew almost 7 percent.

“If we put pressure on them, that’s the important part. We as a nation have to take the long view and look at it as a continuous competition and engagement,” he said. “We must maintain our vigilance.”

Other panel members were Navy Adm. Philip Davidson, commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command; Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA); and Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL). Kate O’Keefe, a reporter with the Wall Street Journal, moderated the panel.

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute presents the annual forum at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley. This bipartisan event brings together key stakeholders to address the health of U.S. national defense and to promote policies to strengthen the U.S. military. Program details are at

About NDIA

The National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) is America's leading defense industry association promoting national security. NDIA provides a legal and ethical forum for the exchange of information between industry and government on national security issues. NDIA and its members foster the development of the most innovative and superior equipment, training, and support for warfighters and first responders through its divisions, local chapters, affiliated associations, and events. For more information, visit