03 September 2015
In July 2015, the U.S. Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute published a collection of papers under the title, The Chinese People’s Liberation Army in 2025. The book’s editors, Roy Kamphausen, a senior advisor at the National Bureau of Asian Research, and David Lai, a research professor of Asian Security Affairs at the Army War College, describe it as “an effort to examine the drivers, potential vectors, and implications of China’s military modernization for the near-to-medium future.”
The contributors to the volume are experts on the Chinese military and the geopolitics of the Asia-Pacific region. The papers are grouped into three broad categories: (1) domestic, external and technological drivers of PLA modernization; (2) alternative futures for the PLA in regional and global affairs, including a weakened PLA; and (3) implications of alternative futures of PLA modernization for the Asia-Pacific region, the international system, and for U.S.-China relations.
Lonnie Henley, an intelligence collection officer with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), believes that the PLA has two major goals for the near-to-medium future: first, to prepare for conflict in China’s periphery, especially with regard to Taiwan, the South China Sea, the East China Sea, and the Indian border; and second, to develop capabilities “to defend China’s interests outside the immediate East Asian region.” “[T]he most likely course of events for the PLA,” he predicts, “is to stay focused . . . on developing capabilities . . . necessary to fight and win a war with Taiwan and to thwart U.S. military intervention in that conflict.”
… The technological drivers of PLA policy are analyzed by Richard Bitzinger and Michael Raska, of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies. They explain that current Chinese strategic thought places great emphasis on “integrated networked attack and defense air, sea, land, cyber and space operations.” The PLA has upgraded its command, control, communications, computers and intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) capabilities and its ability to conduct “electronic warfare.” The Chinese calls this “informatization” warfare, and with it they hope to transform the PLA into a “modern, network-enabled fighting force, capable of projecting sustained power far throughout the Asia-Pacific region.”
GPO / IDSS / Online
Last updated on 16/11/2015