Chinese Military Modernization and Force Development: A Western Perspective
June 21, 2012
The US and China face a critical need to improve their understanding of how the other is developing its military power and how to avoid forms of military competition that could lead to rising tension or conflict between the two states.
One key tool in building this understanding is to create an unclassified dialogue on the military developments in each country, and as to the size of each country’s current and planned military forces. The Burke Chair has developed a detailed analysis of the unclassified data on the trends in Chinese military forces since 1985, examining how these trends interact with the trends in Chinese military spending and strategy.
This paper is written by Nicholas S. Yarosh – who carried out the detailed force analysis -- and by Anthony H. Cordesman. It is entitled Chinese Military Modernization and Force Development: A Western Perspective. It is available on the CSIS web site at http://csis.org/files/publication/120621_Chinese_Military_Modernization.pdf.
The paper is intended to provide a basis for improving the dialogue between the US and China over the changes in both US and Chinese forces: it is also meant to provide both US and Chinese analysts with a better basis for understanding Western estimates of the changes in Chinese force strength and force quality. It notes that important changes are taking place in US strategy as well and that these changes must be considered in evaluating Chinese actions. However it cautions that neither side should be seen in terms of a narrowly defined military balance or seen as a threat to the other.
The paper also makes it clear that any Western analysis of Chinese military developments will never be complete without a Chinese review and commentary. Moreover, this report is meant to convey the reality that focusing on strategy and concepts in broad terms is no substitute for a detailed examination of specific changes in force strength, the extent to which concepts and strategy are actually being implemented, and how the shifts in US and Chinese forces actually compare.
The analysis has nine chapters, and contains numerous graphs and tables. Its contents include:
CHAPTER 1: ASSESSING CHINA’S ARMED FORCES
CHAPTER 2: UNDERLYING RESOURCES FOR CHINA’S SECURITY CAPABILITIES
CHAPTER 3: PLA MILITARY DOCTRINE
CHAPTER 4: CHINESE MILITARY ORGANIZATION
CHAPTER 5: THE PLA ARMY
CHAPTER 6: THE PLA NAVY
CHAPTER 7: PLA AIR FORCE
CHAPTER 8: PLA SECOND ARTILLERY CORPS
CHAPTER 9: CHINESE MILITARY MODERNIZATION AND THE TAIWAN STRAIT MILITARY BALANCE