Chinese Communist Ties Raise Alarms for U.S. Military Academy Takeovers

Representative Mike Waltz (R-FL) has expressed alarm about U.S. military academies being purchased by companies with close ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

The academies include the one that Donald Trump attended as a teenager.

Rep. Waltz has sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, requesting the Department of Defense to survey all the Army, Navy, and Air Force JROTC programs held in private schools in the country.

Waltz’s request is due to his concern that these acquisitions are part of China’s Belt & Road Initiative to assert its influence in the United States education system.

“It’s incredibly concerning that there are American private schools owned by companies with strong ties to the Chinese Communist Party,” he stated in a press release.

“From Florida to New York, there is clear evidence that the ownership of these schools are linked to our greatest adversary and it’s ridiculous that we are developing potential future military leaders through JROTC programs where the CCP could be shaping school curriculum and activities,” he went on to say.

Waltz cited two examples in his letter to Austin:

The first is Florida Preparatory Academy, which was purchased in 2017 by Newopen USA, a subsidiary of Newopen Group, a China-based company.

The second is the New York Military Academy, which was purchased in 2015 by the Research Center on Natural Conservation and funded by Fang Holdings Ltd and controlled by Mo Tianquan.

Rep. Waltz’s letter notes that Mo Tianquan was a delegate to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, a political advisory body convened by the CCP.

The Florida representative has asked Secretary Austin to investigate these purchases immediately and respond “in preparation for the FY24 National Defense Authorization Act.”

He said elsewhere, “To the extent that those private schools have junior ROTC programs that are forming the backbone of our future leaders of our military, this is something I would hope and would expect the Defense Department would work with me to better understand.”

Read Rep. Waltz’ full letter to Austin below:

Dear Secretary Austin:

I write to you regarding the growing acquisition of American private schools by entities linked to the highest ranks of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).  Many of these entities are controlled by members of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), a body which maintains close ties between private sector wealth and the ruling party.  I am concerned that Department of Defense resources are being allocated to support these private schools that may undermine our national security interests.  

These acquisitions could be a part of the CCP’s Belt & Road infrastructure and global influence initiative in the American education sector.  It seems they are focused in acquiring schools in parts of the country with advanced technology industries. 

For example, Florida Preparatory Academy is located within the Space Coast Technology Corridor in Melbourne, Florida.  In 2017, Florida Preparatory Academy was purchased by Newopen USA.  This company is a subsidiary of the Chongqing, China-based Newopen Group.  In 2021, Zhou Dengguang, Newopen Group’s chairman, met with the Secretary General of the CCP-sponsored Chinese Entrepreneurs Association.  During this meeting, they discussed “the national strategic development layout and greater resource cooperation”.  Florida Preparatory Academy has an Air Force JROTC program assigned to it.

The New York Military Academy is located just 6 miles north of West Point. In 2015, the school was purchased by the Research Center on Natural Conservation, funded by Fang Holdings Ltd and controlled by Mo Tianquan.  In 2013, Mo Tianquan, was a delegate to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, a political advisory body convened by the CCP as part of its broader United Front work.  The New York Military Academy has an Army JROTC program.

With the ongoing military recruitment crisis, I am concerned that any students we recruit into the service from these CCP-influenced schools will have a sympathetic view of China’s political and strategic aims.

To gain a broader understanding of the scope of this influence, and whether Department resources are inadvertently helping promote and support these schools, I request that the Department survey all of its JROTC, NJROTC, and AFJROTC programs located at private schools across the country and whether their schools are owned by a subsidiary of a foreign company, and the name of the subsidiary and foreign company.  I ask that this information be compiled and sent to my office as soon as possible in preparation for the FY24 National Defense Authorization Act.

Thank you for your kind attention to this request.