Report Depicts China’s Military Progress, Strategic Thinking

WASHINGTON, May 18, 2012 — The Defense Department’s 2012 Mil­i­tary and Secu­ri­ty Devel­op­ments Involv­ing the People’s Repub­lic of Chi­na report details China’s grow­ing mil­i­tary capa­bil­i­ties, and points to areas of coop­er­a­tion between the Unit­ed States and Chi­na, a senior DOD offi­cial said here today.

 -
Here you can find more infor­ma­tion about:

Deliv­ered to Con­gress today, the annu­al report dis­cuss­es China’s secu­ri­ty and mil­i­tary strat­e­gy, devel­op­ments in China’s mil­i­tary doc­trine and force struc­ture, the secu­ri­ty sit­u­a­tion in the Tai­wan Strait, U.S.-China mil­i­tary-to-mil­i­tary con­tacts, and the nature of China’s cyber activ­i­ties direct­ed against the Depart­ment of Defense.

Oth­er infor­ma­tion in the report includes the People’s Lib­er­a­tion Army invest­ments in China’s air­craft car­ri­er pro­gram, anti-ship bal­lis­tic mis­siles and air­craft devel­op­ment. It also dis­cuss­es China’s pur­suit of its “new his­toric mis­sions.”

Chi­na is build­ing its mil­i­tary to be able to fight and win “local wars,” said David Helvey, the act­ing assis­tant sec­re­tary of defense for East Asia. Helvey briefed the Pen­ta­gon press corps on the report.

The Chi­nese mil­i­tary is learn­ing from the lessons the U.S. mil­i­tary has com­piled since the Per­sian Gulf War, he said. The Chi­nese call this strat­e­gy “informa­ti­za­tion,” and Helvey said this is the phrase the Chi­nese use to encom­pass the rev­o­lu­tion in mil­i­tary affairs. Chi­na uses this term to mean the role of infor­ma­tion and infor­ma­tion sys­tems “not only as an enabler of mod­ern com­bat, but a fun­da­men­tal attribute of mod­ern war­fare,” he said.

The Chi­nese care­ful­ly watched U.S. and coali­tion mil­i­tary forces, begin­ning from the first Per­sian Gulf War in 1991, through today.

“One of the things that the PLA has con­sis­tent­ly high­light­ed is the role of advanced infor­ma­tion tech­nol­o­gy not only for intel­li­gence, sur­veil­lance and recon­nais­sance, but also enabling pre­ci­sion fires,” Helvey said. “And when they talk about fight­ing and win­ning local wars under con­di­tions of informa­ti­za­tion, that’s the type of warfight­ing envi­ron­ment that … they’re talk­ing about.”

Helvey said Chi­nese lead­ers view the first two decades of the 21st cen­tu­ry as China’s “peri­od of strate­gic oppor­tu­ni­ty.”

As China’s eco­nom­ic pow­er has boomed, its influ­ence has expand­ed. “As these inter­ests have grown and as Chi­na has assumed new roles and respon­si­bil­i­ties in the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty, China’s mil­i­tary mod­ern­iza­tion is also, to an increas­ing extent, focus­ing on invest­ments that would enable China’s armed forces to con­duct a wide range of mis­sions, includ­ing those that are far from Chi­na,” Helvey said.

Last year, he said, the People’s Lib­er­a­tion Army demon­strat­ed the capa­bil­i­ty to con­duct lim­it­ed peace­time deploy­ments and mil­i­tary oper­a­tions at great dis­tance from Chi­na, includ­ing non­com­bat­ant evac­u­a­tions from Libya, coun­ter­pira­cy mis­sions in the Gulf of Aden and peace­keep­ing oper­a­tions. Still, the focus remains on the Chi­nese mil­i­tary prepar­ing for con­tin­gen­cies in the Tai­wan Strait.

In addi­tion to Tai­wan, Chi­na places a high pri­or­i­ty on its mar­itime ter­ri­to­r­i­al claims, Helvey said. “In recent years Chi­na has begun to demon­strate a more rou­tine and capa­ble pres­ence in both the South Chi­na Sea and East Chi­na Sea,” he said.

Helvey stressed the oppor­tu­ni­ties the sit­u­a­tion presents to both the Unit­ed States and Chi­na. Chi­nese ships and crews could work with inter­na­tion­al part­ners to tamp down pira­cy. Air, naval and ground forces could con­duct human­i­tar­i­an and dis­as­ter relief exer­cis­es togeth­er.

“There’s an oppor­tu­ni­ty for Chi­na to part­ner with us and with oth­er coun­tries to address the types of chal­lenges that we all face in the 21st cen­tu­ry,” he said.

Helvey said oth­er por­tions of the report detail con­tin­ued Chi­nese invest­ments in nuclear forces, short- and medi­um-range con­ven­tion­al bal­lis­tic mis­siles, advanced air­craft, and inte­grat­ed air defens­es, cruise mis­siles, sub­marines and sur­face com­bat­ants and counter-space and cyber­war­fare capa­bil­i­ties. Many of these capa­bil­i­ties “appear designed to enable what we call anti-access and area-denial mis­sions, or what PLA strate­gists refer to as coun­ter­in­ter­ven­tion oper­a­tions,” Helvey said.

The Jan­u­ary 2011 flight test of China’s next-gen­er­a­tion fight­er air­craft, the J‑20, high­light­ed China’s ambi­tion to pro­duce advanced fight­er air­craft. The flight, which occurred dur­ing then-Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates’ vis­it to Chi­na, points to an effec­tive oper­a­tional capa­bil­i­ty no soon­er than 2018.

Oth­er steps include sea tri­als of China’s first air­craft car­ri­er, which it pur­chased from Ukraine in 1998. The ship could become avail­able to the PLA Navy by the end of the year, “but we expect it’ll take sev­er­al addi­tion­al years for an air group to achieve a min­i­mal oper­a­tional capa­bil­i­ty aboard the air­craft car­ri­er,” Helvey said.

Chi­na has also made invest­ments to improve its capac­i­ty for oper­a­tions in cyber­space, he said.

“That is some­thing that we pay very, very care­ful atten­tion to,” Helvey said. “There is the poten­tial for these types of oper­a­tions to be very dis­rup­tive — dis­rup­tive not only in a con­flict, [they] could be very dis­rup­tive to the Unit­ed States, but oth­er coun­tries as well.

“That’s one of the things about mil­i­tary oper­a­tions in cyber­space,” he added, “that there can be cas­cad­ing effects that are hard to pre­dict.”

The report is DOD’s effort to fore­cast China’s inten­tions, Helvey said. While there have been improve­ments in trans­paren­cy with­in the Chi­nese mil­i­tary, he added, much still occurs in secret. He point­ed to devel­op­ments in cyber, space and with for­eign-bought weapons sys­tems as not being part of China’s pub­lished nation­al secu­ri­ty bud­get.

That bud­get grew 11.2 per­cent from 2011’s $91.5 bil­lion to $106 bil­lion — con­tin­u­ing two decades of hot­house growth.

Helvey said the report is an effort to ensure the Unit­ed States isn’t tak­en unawares by China’s mil­i­tary progress, but he acknowl­edges there will prob­a­bly still be some sur­pris­es.

“We have seen in the past, instances where Chi­na has devel­oped weapons sys­tems and capa­bil­i­ties that appeared either ear­li­er than we expect­ed or that we were sur­prised when we saw it,” he said. “I think that is some­thing that we have to antic­i­pate and expect.

We’re pay­ing very care­ful atten­tion to China’s mil­i­tary mod­ern­iza­tion,” he added, “but we’ve been sur­prised in the past, and we may very well be sur­prised in terms of see­ing new weapons and equip­ment in the future.”

Source:
U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →