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  • China’s Military Is Playing for Keeps: Will the U.S. Remain a Contender?

    After a very protracted gestation and calls from Congress for its release, DOD today finally unveiled the latest report on China’s military capabilities, as called for under the FY 2000 National Defense Authorization Act.

    What is surprising in this report of some 83 pages is how little of its content is actually surprising.

    For example, the report reminds us that, not only is the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) a large force, but it is also increasingly sophisticated. This sophistication is reflected in its growing ability to conduct joint operations (i.e., operations involving land, sea, air, space, and cyber forces). It is also reflected in its people, who are thinking carefully about the shape of future wars, as reflected in the emphasis on “informatized war,” i.e., the application of information technology to all aspects of warfare, from command and control to logistics.

    The report also points out the growing range of capabilities at the PLA’s disposal. This is not an army that will rely on human wave attacks; it is one that is working on anti-ship ballistic missiles, electronic and information warfare, and space combat capabilities.

    Nor is the PLA solely a local force anymore. Chinese military forces, as the report notes, now operate in the Gulf of Aden, and exercise with a variety of nations from Africa to Asia. China’s military officers are part of its larger diplomatic outreach efforts.

    But none of this is especially surprising. These “developments” have been elemental to PLA modernization and expansion efforts for much of the past two decades.

    Perhaps this is the real news: The PLA has enjoyed sustained growth in its resources, its capabilities, and its sophistication for so long that we are no longer surprised by its burgeoning reach and expanding envelope. There are individual technologies, such as anti-ship ballistic missiles, that are being pioneered by Chinese engineers, but we have become accustomed to China’s overall efforts to become a true military power.

    The question, in this context, is no longer: “What will China do?” China clearly will continue to expand its military as it sees fit.

    Instead, the question is: “What will the United States do?” In this context, the delay in releasing the report is troubling, especially as there were no major surprises embodied within it. Like the proverbial frog in the pot, have we become so accustomed to expanding Chinese capabilities that we think we can afford to ignore them?

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    6 Responses to China’s Military Is Playing for Keeps: Will the U.S. Remain a Contender?

    1. Eugene Pilcher, Rock says:

      This article is virtually devoid of specifics, most of which would likely render me scared to death if I heard them, especially the classified stuff we will never know about. The Chinese are patient, they know becoming the number one super power takes time.

    2. Dennis Georgia says:

      If we let obama have another term, the chinese will not have to fire a shot, all they will need to do is call the loan due an payable.

      The lilitary has been a souce of ill content for obama from the beginning, like the clintons he is determined to gut our security through cuts in the budget. This has to be done in order for him to fund the entitlments that he has promised to his people.

    3. Barry. Williamsport says:

      It will be easy for the chinese to overwhelm us as we continue to allow our technological and industrial base to atrophy. New weapon systems are few and far between and with the recent spate of cyber attacks as a guide any new plans for systems are probably in chinese hands before they can be voted down by congress.

    4. John, Asia says:

      US, Please Rise Up.


    6. Clyde from Ruidoso N says:

      It will still be quite some time before China will be a viable threat to the United States except in cyber space. Most of their military is developed and placed in a defensive posture. Their navy is 95% coastal defense and the threat of an aircraft carrier killing ballistic missile is ludicris. They are still generations behind the U.S. in all areas of military operations and systems. When I was in the Air Force, our official defense policy consisted of the use of a triad system (e.g., bombers, land-based ballistic missiles and sea-launched missiles. Now we have added cyber space.

      It is true that the aircraft carrier is our most important platform because that is how we project power and protect our interests and the interests of our allies. However, our sub-marines are the most deadly weapons platforms in existence and the United States is second to none in that area. If it ever goes nuclear, the U.S. will have the last word.

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