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The 2022 National Defense Strategy names the People's Republic of China as the most comprehensive and serious challenge to U.S. national security.
This, Hicks said, "is the centerpiece of what I work on every day."
That work involves getting forward, combat-credible capabilities to the warfighter as fast as possible despite the bureaucracy, in order to deter PRC aggression, she said.
The Defense Department is also investing in military-to-military activities with allies and partners in that region.
For example, in the past year, the department landed F-35 aircraft on a Japanese helicopter carrier and on a United Kingdom aircraft carrier, she said.
Another example, is the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue among Australia, India, Japan and the United States, along with bilateral activities with a number of other nations in the Indo-Pacific region.