US Mil­i­tary per­son­nel mobi­liza­tion

Pen­ta­gon Offi­cials Tes­ti­fy on Chi­nese Mil­i­tary Buildup By Army Staff Sgt. Michael J. Car­den
Amer­i­can Forces Press Ser­vice

Though the Defense Depart­ment doesn’t see Chi­na as a strate­gic adver­sary, the country’s mil­i­tary buildup and lack of open­ness in how it’s going about it has offi­cials won­der­ing about Chi­nese lead­ers’ inten­tions, senior Pen­ta­gon offi­cials told the House Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee today.

James J. Shinn, assis­tant sec­re­tary of defense for Asian and Pacif­ic secu­ri­ty affairs, and Air Force Maj. Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, vice direc­tor for strate­gic plans and pol­i­cy for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, tes­ti­fied on the top­ic. Their tes­ti­mo­ny revolved around three key ques­tions from the Defense Department’s recent­ly sub­mit­ted Chi­na Mil­i­tary Pow­er Report:

  • What are the Chi­nese doing in terms of their mil­i­tary mod­ern­iza­tion and buildup?

  • What does it mean for the Unit­ed States and its allies in the region?

  • What are the Defense Depart­ment and the U.S. gov­ern­ment doing to react?

Accord­ing to the report, the Chi­nese have engaged in a size­able and sus­tained increase in mil­i­tary expen­di­tures over the past few years. Their offi­cial bud­get is report­ed to be about $60 bil­lion, but the Defense Depart­ment esti­mates that it’s twice that, Shinn said.

The buildup is across all of China’s ser­vices, Shinn added. “It’s com­pre­hen­sive in the sea, land and air forces. It’s also par­tic­u­lar­ly sig­nif­i­cant that it includes its nuclear as well as the con­ven­tion­al forces,” he con­tin­ued. Shinn not­ed China’s heavy invest­ment in per­son­nel, recruit­ing and train­ing, which in pre­vi­ous years was not as big a fac­tor as the over­all num­bers of its forces. The Chi­nese also are devot­ing much effort into logis­tics and the com­mand and con­trol appa­ra­tus, he said.

China’s buildup reflects a delib­er­ate and well-thought-through strat­e­gy to invest in asym­met­ric war­fare, cyber war­fare, and counter-space capa­bil­i­ties, Shinn told the House pan­el, and also has sophis­ti­cat­ed cruise mis­sile and under-sea war­fare pro­grams.

The buildup means the Unit­ed States and its allies in the region could be at risk, because the increas­ing capa­bil­i­ties may alter China’s inten­tions, which cur­rent­ly seem to be peace­ful, Shinn said. The increas­ing capac­i­ty may present the Chi­nese lead­er­ship with more options, he not­ed.

“As the Chi­nese nuclear forces increase their size and sur­viv­abil­i­ty, we don’t know if [their inten­tion] is going to alter,” he explained. “We are very care­ful about infer­ring intent as to expand­ing capa­bil­i­ty. Part of the rea­son for the deep seri­ous­ness of the report is that one must always plan for the worst.”

There­fore, he said, DoD will con­tin­ue press­ing intel­li­gence col­lec­tion and analy­sis to under­stand Chi­nese lead­ers’ inten­tions for their country’s increased capa­bil­i­ties. The Unit­ed States will con­tin­ue to train, equip and pos­ture Pacif­ic forces and work close­ly with region­al allies to strength­en their capa­bil­i­ties, he said.

Shinn also stressed the impor­tance of U.S. forces engag­ing and main­tain­ing dia­logue with the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment and lead­ers of the People’s Lib­er­a­tion Army to learn more about them and their inten­tions. The Defense Depart­ment does not cur­rent­ly see Chi­na as a strate­gic adver­sary, but rather as a com­peti­tor in some respects and a part­ner in oth­ers, he said.

“China’s rise cer­tain­ly presents a vari­ety of oppor­tu­ni­ties and chal­lenges, but the Chi­nese are def­i­nite­ly not des­tined to be an adver­sary,” he told the com­mit­tee.

Breedlove affirmed Shinn’s com­ments, not­ing that coop­er­a­tion con­tin­ues to progress between the Unit­ed States and Chi­na in areas of mutu­al inter­est such as human­i­tar­i­an assis­tance, dis­as­ter relief, and mil­i­tary envi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion.

“An encour­ag­ing sign [of coop­er­a­tion] was China’s recep­tion of relief sup­plies deliv­ered to the needy Chi­nese by our mil­i­tary air­craft dur­ing this past winter’s storms and most recent earth­quake,” Breedlove said.

China’s mil­i­tary mod­ern­iza­tion is no sur­prise, giv­en the country’s impres­sive eco­nom­ic growth, the gen­er­al said.

“[The Unit­ed States] con­tin­ues to com­mu­ni­cate to Chi­na that our desire for greater trans­paren­cy and open­ness is to gain a bet­ter under­stand­ing of their strate­gic intent,” he said. “We believe it is clear­ly in the inter­est of all to avoid any mis­un­der­stand­ing or mis­cal­cu­la­tion. We con­tin­ue to watch the sit­u­a­tion close­ly and respond in a mat­ter that brings peace and sta­bil­i­ty.”

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