US military, civilian employees must not aid and abet our mortal enemy
May 24, 2022
WASHINGTON, D.C.— In the course of President Biden’s visit to Asia this week, he and his subordinates have sent conflicting signals to the Chinese Communist Party concerning what, if anything, the United States will do if the CCP attacks Taiwan. The administration would have us believe this is a continuation of a longstanding policy of “strategic ambiguity.” It is, in fact, strategic incoherence, and — if it is allowed to persist — it is going to get people needlessly killed.
That is particularly true insofar as such incoherence is being manifested at a time when the CCP’s menace is becoming ever clearer — and not just towards Taiwan.
For example, a leaked video of a top-secret meeting on May 14 shows leaders in China’s coastal Guangdong Province planning the transition from what is described as “normal to war.” Those preparations appear to be comprehensive and suggest that kinetic warfare is not only in prospect, but imminent — perhaps as soon as this fall.
Concurrently, recent revelations of hacked Chinese police data confirms that the CCP’s systematic oppression and genocide of Uyghur Muslims and other minorities is real and ongoing. Its record of wholesale human rights abuses is unprecedented in human history and this evidence of genocidal rape, torture, and extermination in so-called “reeducation camps” requires the United States by treaty to punish the perpetrators.
Instead, an arm of the U.S. government, the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB) is aggressively pursuing an initiative that would have U.S. military personnel and other government employees invest without warning as much as 25 percent of their retirement savings in mutual funds that include companies owned and operated by the Chinese Communists. On the eve of a possible war with China, that would not only be a disaster for Thrift Savings Plan participants, but a threat to our national security.
This point was made powerfully by six prominent and influential retired military leaders in a letter to FRTIB today. The authors warned the Board:
“Under Chinese law, all PRC companies are obliged to assist the Party and its People’s Liberation Army (PLA) whenever asked to do so. Worse yet, some of those Chinese corporations listed or traded in our capital markets actually work directly for the PLA. It is completely unacceptable that our servicemen and women, past and present — or, for that matter their civilian counterparts among the federal workforce — might be put in a position where their investments may help acquire weapons intended to kill them.
“We call on the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB) to refrain from opening mutual funds to TSP participants’ investments unless and until you have ensured than none of such investments will help enrich, enable or empower the Chinese Communist Party. The government of the United States should be precluding any underwriting of the CCP’s ominous military build-up and human rights abuses, not legitimating and facilitating them.”
In addition, yesterday, the Committee on the Present Danger: China (CPDC) wrote David Jones, the acting Chairman of the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, reminding him that on April 18, the CPDC posed a series of urgent questions about TSP’s Mutual Fund Window and endorsing others asked by Senators Marco Rubio, Tommy Tuberville and Tom Cotton. To date, CPDC has yet to receive a response to either letter.
CPDC Chairman Brian Kennedy specifically called on the FRTIB to address such concerns at its Board meeting this morning: “We urge you to use the opportunity of that meeting to establish that the FRTIB Board will not allow the Chinese Communist Party to exploit to the detriment of TSP participants and our country the retirement savings of our men and women in uniform and civilian federal workers, past and present.”
It is appalling, as well as deeply regrettable, that in the course of today’s Board meeting, the FRTIB: declined event to address the issue in that public meeting; chose not to hear from a concerned TSP participant, former Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Kelley Currie; and did not even consider postponing the opening of the Mutual Fund Window — and, therefore, the CCP’s penetration of the world’s largest, and arguably, most sensitive pension fund.
The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board’s indifference to mounting national security concerns, imperiled human rights values, to say nothing of its fiduciary duty to protect its participants’ equities, will not stand. That seems particularly likely thanks to a warning against this FRTIB gambit sounded by a highly decorated Navy special operator named Captain Hung Cao (U.S. Navy, Ret.). In a letter to the Board today, Captain Cao wrote:
“[The proposed Mutual Fund Window] arrangement is not only at odds with President Trump’s direction (including in his Executive Order 13959). It also is contrary to a subsequent Executive Order 14032, issued by President Biden and the clear intent of bipartisan majorities in Congress. (See, for example, the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act.)
“I call upon the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board to postpone the launch of the TSP Mutual Fund Window until such time as it is able to ensure that federal retirees’ savings will not be invested in ways that enable the Chinese Communist Party to intensify its threat to them and to the country we have served and love.”
With Captain Cao’s win on Saturday of the Republican nomination for Virginia’s 10th Congressional District seat, there is now the real prospect that every candidate for Congress — whether incumbents or challengers — will be asked to say whether they will allow their own Thrift Savings Plan funds and those of other federal government employees to be invested, especially unwittingly, in companies that work for the Chinese Communist Party and whether they will act to preclude the Federal Retirement Thrift Savings Board’s effective endorsement of such underwriting of America’s most dangerous adversary.