Estimates of Chinese Military Spending
September 28, 2016
There is no clear way to determine how much Chinese strategy shapes military spending versus how Chinese resources shape strategy; the two are always interdependent. An assessment of China’s defense spending does indicate, however, that Chinese economic growth has allowed it to finance a massive modernization program, and radically improve every aspect of its conventional and asymmetric warfare capabilities, including sea-air-missile-nuclear capabilities.
Although estimates of Chinese defense spending vary sharply, there is little controversy that China now dominates Asian military spending and is becoming the premier military power in Asia. This is partly driven by China’s perception of the potential threat from the U.S. and other Asian powers, but is also driven by the fact that China can now afford such efforts, support them largely with its own technology base, and cannot forget its recent past.
A new report by the CSIS Burke Chair in Strategy provides a detailed analysis of Chinese defense spending, and is available on the CSIS website at https://csis-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/publication/160928_AHC_Estimates_Chinese_Military_Spending.pdf.
Other recent Burke Chair studies that address these issues include:
China Space Strategy and Developments: https://csis-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/publication/160819_Chinese_Space_Strategy_Developments.pdf
Evolving Strategies in the U.S.-China Military Balance: https://csis-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/publication/160808_China_Evolving_Strategy.pdf
Chinese Military Organization and Reform: https://csis-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/publication/160801_chinese_military_reform.pdf
China’s Nuclear Forces and Weapons of Mass Destruction: https://csis-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/publication/160721_China_Nuclear_Weapons_Report.pdf
Photo credit: VYACHESLAV OSELEDKO/AFP/Getty Images