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Modernizing China’s Military

Modernizing China’s Military: Progress, Problems, and Prospects

Copyright Date: 2002
Edition: 1
Pages: 402
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  • Book Info
    Modernizing China’s Military
    Book Description:

    David Shambaugh, a leading international authority on Chinese strategic and military affairs, offers the most comprehensive and insightful assessment to date of the Chinese military. The result of a decade's research,Modernizing China's Militarycomes at a crucial moment in history, one when international attention is increasingly focused on the rise of Chinese military power. Basing his analysis on an unprecedented use of Chinese military publications and interviews with People's Liberation Army (PLA) officers, Shambaugh addresses important questions about Chinese strategic intentions and military capabilities--questions that are of key concern for government policymakers as well as strategic analysts and a concerned public.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-93810-6
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. List of Acronyms and Abbreviations
    (pp. xiii-xviii)
  5. Preface and Acknowledgments
    (pp. xix-xxiv)
    David Shambaugh
  6. A Note on Sources
    (pp. xxv-xxviii)
  7. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)

    In early February 1991, Chinaʹs High Command was stunned to realize just how far behind modern militaries the Peopleʹs Liberation Army had fallen. The opening days of the Gulf War convinced PLA analysts that they were witnessing a revolution in military affairs (RMA). American stealth bombers penetrated Iraqi airspace undetected to strike their targets in Baghdad and elsewhere with impunity, while the allied naval armada sat comfortably offshore in the Persian Gulf, well outside the range of Iraqi defenses, launching wave after wave of air strikes and cruise missile attacks. The surgical bombing substantially degraded Iraqi air defenses, while electromagnetic...

  8. 2 Civil-Military Relations
    (pp. 11-55)

    Compared with other facets of PLA reforms in recent years, civil-military relations have been slow to change and shifts have been less evident. The events of 1989 had a wrenching political effect on the military, brought to a halt some nascent reforms in the armed forces, and strengthened political priorities relative to professional ones for a period of time—but by the mid 1990s, the debates and reforms of the late 1980s were again in evidence. The composition of military elites also changed, as did some of the modalities of civil-military interaction.

    Since the mid 1990s, there has been an...

  9. 3 Doctrine and Training
    (pp. 56-107)

    Doctrine is fundamental to all facets of Chinaʹs military modernization. Doctrine is far more than the abstract study of warfare—it is central to how the PLA is organized and prepares to apply lethal force. Training is the practical application of doctrine. Over the past three decades, reforming doctrine has been a catalyst for a vast range of PLA reforms, professionalization, and modernization—reconfiguring the force structure, personnel recruitment, military education, training regimens, hardware needs, research and development, weapons procurement, and operational strategy. One can clearly see the lessons learned by the PLA from foreign conflicts and the resulting changes...

  10. 4 Command, Control, and Force Structure
    (pp. 108-183)

    Institutional structure and lines of authority are fundamental to the function of any large and complex organization. This is particularly true of militaries. Hierarchy and official channels of command and control are crucial to the predictable functioning of armed forces in peacetime and wartime. Unlike more modern Western militaries, which devolve a fairly high degree of unit and individual autonomy in combat situations, Leninist militaries are given minimal leeway for independent interpretation of orders. Professionalism, which is central to the efficient performance of a military,¹ depends in large part on predictability—which, in turn, is the result of both repetitive...

  11. 5 Budget and Finance
    (pp. 184-224)

    Few areas of Chinese military affairs are more opaque and difficult to research than the revenue/expenditure and budget/finance domains—but perhaps none is more important to understand. PLA doctrine, force structure, threat perception, and organization are all more transparent and researchable than PLA economic affairs. Yet knowledge of the PLAʹs fiscal base is crucial to understanding these other areas. The allocation of financial resources is indicative of strategic priorities and calculations. In the case of the PLA, it is important not only to know where the money is going, but also where it comes from—as the military has always...

  12. PLATES
    (pp. None)
  13. 6 Defense Industries and Weapons Procurement
    (pp. 225-283)

    There is probably no area of Chinaʹs national defense establishment more in need of modernization than its defense industries (military-industrial complex). During the half-century of the Peopleʹs Republic and the entire period since China first embarked on a policy of ʺself-strengtheningʺ(zi qiang)in the 1870s, centered on a policy of building ʺshipyards and arsenals,ʺ¹ Chinaʹs defense industries have proven woefully inadequate to the task of producing weaponry and defense technology of an international standard.

    This long failure has not been for lack of effort. Generations of Chinese leaders and soldiers have placed emphasis on building up an indigenous defense...

  14. 7 Threat Perceptions
    (pp. 284-327)

    The threat perceptions of PLA and civilian Chinese leaders are fundamental to the posture of Chinaʹs military and some of their priorities in the process of military modernization. To a large extent, the PLAʹs priorities and allocation of resources reflect the desire to develop a comprehensively modern military. Yet, certain exigencies intrude that force choices of allocation to meet more pressing threats and contingencies. This chapter taps into PLA writings and interviews with some of the PLAʹs leading strategic analysts to gauge the PLAʹs contemporary threat perceptions.

    At the beginning of the twenty-first century, with the important exception of the...

  15. 8 Policy Implications for the United States
    (pp. 328-354)

    How should the United States react to the range of reforms and progress in Chinaʹs military modernization program outlined in this book? The United States should recognize that China has the legitimate right to modernize its military and protect its national security, if it does not threaten others. Generally speaking, the Clinton administration was less concerned about the pace or scope of PLA modernization than the current Bush administration. While there was concern over the PLAʹs buildup of short-, medium-, and intercontinental-range ballistic missiles and possible acquisition of cruise missiles, the prevailing view in the Defense Department during the tenures...

  16. Name Index
    (pp. 355-358)
  17. Subject Index
    (pp. 359-374)
  18. Back Matter
    (pp. 375-375)