Chinese Strategy and Military Modernization in 2016

By Anthony H. Cordesman with the assistance of Joseph Kendall

The Burke Chair at CSIS has prepared a final review draft of its annual assessment of China’s emergence as a global economic superpower, and as a major regional military power in Asia and the Pacific. This draft is entitled Chinese Strategy and Military Modernization in 2017, and is available on the CSIS web site at

The study addresses the trends in Chinese strategy, tactics, force modernization, and security developments in Northeast Asia, the Eastern Pacific, Taiwan Straits, and South China Sea. It does so as a net assessment that does not chose a single view of developments in China, or the reaction of neighboring states, but compares the data in Chinese official sources with those in official U.S., Japanese, South Korean, and Taiwanese government sources, and include numerous maps, charts, and tables showing Chinese, U.S. and regional force trends.

The analysis is intended to support a dialogue among China, the United States, and other key Asian powers. The People’s Republic of China (PRC), the United States, and China’s neighbors face a critical need to improve their understanding of how each state in the region is developing its military power, and face a critical need to find ways to avoid the kind of military competition that could lead to rising tension or conflict.

Accordingly, the book focuses on the current developments in China’s military strategy, forces, and modernization, but in the context of how they are influencing U.S. strategy and force developments, and the reactions of Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. The volume also focuses on how Chinese military developments affect rising tensions in areas like the East China Sea, South China Sea, and Taiwan.

The final version will be published as a CSIS book in early 2017. This version is being circulated for comment, and suggested additions and revisions – which will be needed by January 20, 2017. They should be sent to Anthony H. Cordesman, Burke Chair in Strategy, at

A related study of the military balance in Northeast Asia and the Koreas is also available. The title is The Military Balance in the Koreas and Northeast Asia, and it is available on the CSIS web site at

The Table of Contents, and list of Figures, in the China book are shown below:

Photo credit: Getty Images
Anthony H. Cordesman

Anthony H. Cordesman

Former Emeritus Chair in Strategy