Instead of a simple head count of troops, tanks, warheads, and missiles multiplied by an effectiveness/availability factor, strategists are comparing apples and oranges.
Speaking to reporters on his plane en route to Singapore on Thursday, Hagel said that the U.S. must find ways to work with the Chinese and other countries to develop rules of the road and a better understanding among nations for the use of cyberspace.
"These are issues that we're going to deal with, frame up, put right at the top of the agenda," said Hagel, who is expected to have the brief meeting with the Chinese on the sidelines of a session at the Shangri-La Dialogue. "There's only one way to deal with these issues — that's straight up."
Hagel said the United States is hoping to build a more constructive relationship with China by fostering closer ties between their militaries.
“The only way you can do that is you talk to each other,” Hagel said. “You have to be direct with each other.”