Category: strategy

China’s Changing Approach to Military Strategy

In a recently published edited volume, China’s Evolving Military Strategy, I examine how Chinese thinking about military strategy is changing by comparing the 2013 edition of The Science of Military Strategy to the 2001 edition.

I reach two general conclusions:

  1. The 2013 edition represents an evolution of China’s approach to thinking about military strategy. It does not contain a description of a revolutionary new approach to China’s military strategy.  Instead, it examines changes in China’s security environment through traditional concepts that have underpinned the PLA’s approach to strategy, such as “active defense,” by modifying or adjusting these ideas based on new circumstances.
  2. China’s new and expanding interests overseas, along with worldwide advances in military technology and the posture of potential adversaries, are expanding the battlespace in which the PLA will need to operate and increasing the importance of greater strategic depth.  Much of the book can be interpreted as examining how the PLA should respond to these new conditions based on its traditional approach to strategy.

A preprint is available here.

China’s New Military Strategy

In a new article in the China Brief, I show that terminology in the 2015 defense white paper indicates that China has officially changed its national military strategy.  The goal of the new strategy is “winning informationized local wars,” with an emphasis on the maritime domain.

This marks only the ninth military strategy that China has adopted since the founding of the PRC in 1949 and will guide the PLA’s approach to modernization in the coming decade.

To read the article, point your browsers here

 

 

Conflict and Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific Region

Last week, the Carnegie Endowment issued a strategic net assessment of the Asia-Pacific region that I and many others contributed to writing.

The report takes a long view, looking out over the next 5-25 years, and outlines five possible futures that range for more cooperative to more conflictual outcomes as well as recommendations for avoiding the most dangerous outcomes.

Read the Executive Summary here or the full report here.

The Myth of China’s Counter-intervention Strategy

Chris Twomey and I have just published an article in The Washington Quarterly on Chinese military strategy.

Increasingly, journalists, policy analysts and scholars as well as selected U.S. government documents describe China as pursuing a ”counter-intervention” strategy to forestall the U.S. ability to operate in a regional conflict.  Moreover, the concept of counter-intervention (fan ganyu) is attributed to the writings of Chinese strategits, as a China’s own version of an anti-access / area denial strategy

Nevertheless, as we show in the article, China does not actually use the term counter-intervention to describe its own military strategy, much less a broader grand strategic goal to oppose the role of the United States in regional affairs.  When Chinese sources do refer to related concepts such as “resisting” or “guarding against” intervention, they are describing as one of the many subsidiary components of campaigns and contingencies that have more narrow and specific goals, especially a conflict over Taiwan.

This misunderstanding or misreading of China’s military strategy is consequential for several reasons: it overstates the U.S. role in Chinese military planning, it can divert analysis from other aspects of China’s military modernization and it exacerbates the growing security dilemma between the United States and China.

The article can be downloaded here