The incident occurred around noon Thursday local time and happened about 40 miles west of the Philippines and 150 miles from Scarborough Shoal after the Chinese vessel had been shadowing the USNS Bowditch, a US Navy-owned research ship, which deployed the Slocum Glider drone.
The ship is operated by Military Sealift Command, with a contracted civilian crew composed of mariners and scientists.
"This is an act of war against the United States," said Gordon Chang, an analyst an author of "The Coming Collapse of China," told Fox News. He called it an act of war because US military equipment was stolen.
The American crew watched the Chinese take the underwater drone from a short distance away--the Chinese vessel was about a quarter mile from the impotent Americans who kept their hands in their pockets as they looked in the opposite direction and whistling a tune. The US ship tried calling the Chinese vessel but they got a 'busy signal'.
The drone's cost is around $150,000 which, in Obama terms, is 'chump change.' He spends more than that on vacation, just for golf and ice cream.
Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook responded angrily: "We call upon China to return our [unmanned underwater vehicle] immediately, and to comply with all of its obligations under international law."
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest had no comments at the time it happened; he simply wet his pants and went back inside the building.
The State Department lodged a formal protest called a demarche, which the US Ambassador in Beijing delivered to the Chinese government Friday.
Chinese Embassy officials said they had no comment on the matter but we know that the incident is just China's way of flipping an 'inscrutable bird' at Barack Obama.
The United States is eagerly awaiting a response from President Obama or Secretary of State John Kerry, along with James Taylor on guitar and vocal.
Best guess is that once Trump is sworn in, China and Russia are going to test him.
So don't blow it, Donald.