Skip to content

China Is Actively Recruiting Former U.S. Military Personnel

It’s hardly shocking to anyone keeping a close eye on global military tactics that China is now seeking to poach Western military expertise, particularly targeting our aviators. According to a recent statement from the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has been covertly recruiting Western pilots to bolster their flight training programs. This is a classic move by China, camouflaging their military intentions behind private firms based in China and South Africa to lure away seasoned personnel from the U.S. and NATO allies.

This isn’t just about China wanting to learn a few new tricks in the air. No, it’s a strategic maneuver to close the gap on their shortcomings by assimilating Western military tactics, enhancing their operational planning, and ultimately countering Western defense strategies more effectively. By extracting this knowledge, China not only advances its capabilities but also poses a direct threat to the national security of the United States and our allies. The insidious nature of this recruitment effort puts our entire defense posture at risk.

China Continues to Undermine Our National Security

The U.S. and its “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing partners—comprising the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand—have jointly warned current and former military personnel about the dangers of falling into this well-laid trap. These offers, often dressed up with lucrative contracts and the allure of piloting exotic aircraft, could land our veterans in severe legal jeopardy. We saw this with the 2022 arrest of a former U.S. Marine pilot in Australia, accused of illegally training Chinese aviators—a stark reminder of the fine line between a post-service career and unlawful activity.

This development underlines the brazen boldness of Chinese military ambitions. Under Xi Jinping’s directive, the PLA is on a sprint to transform into a “world-class” military force by 2049. Moreover, the PLA Navy is aggressively expanding its blue-water capabilities, underscoring China’s intent to project power globally and secure its so-called sovereign territories. This includes the contentious Taiwan Strait, where Beijing has not shied away from its ambitions to assert dominance, potentially inviting conflict with the United States.

As China scours for military expertise from the West, it’s a stark reminder of their strategic goal: to undermine U.S. military advantages and reshape global power dynamics. It’s high time America and its allies tighten defenses against such espionage, ensuring our military secrets and the men and women who know them aren’t turned against us. This isn’t just a recruitment issue; it’s a glaring national security threat.

Robert B. Chernin

Robert B. Chernin

Robert is a longtime entrepreneur, business leader, fundraiser, and former radio talk show host. He studied political science at McGill University in Montreal and has spent over 25 years deeply involved in civic affairs at all levels. Robert has consulted on a variety of federal and statewide campaigns at the gubernatorial, congressional, senatorial, and presidential level. He served in leadership roles in the presidential campaigns of President George W. Bush as well as McCain for President. He led Florida’s Victory 2004’s national Jewish outreach operations as Executive Director. In addition, he served on the President’s Committee of the Republican Jewish Coalition.