Testimony of Dr. Michael Pillsbury
before the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
Overview: Need for Estimates to 2015 for the PentagonMy testimony is based entirely on a book of translations I did for Mr. Andrew Marshall, the Director of Net Assessment in the Pentagon which has been published as a book by the National Defense University entitled Chinese Views of Future Warfare. Many believe (mistakenly) that military intelligence collection and analysis is entirely a short-term problem of providing warnings and immediate support to policy makers. In the post Cold War period, however, future weapons systems may have a life of many decades, and may take more than decade to develop. This means the U. S. intelligence community has been trying to look ahead a decade or more in order to contribute to Pentagon assessments of the future. Both the Pentagon and the intelligence community now try to make estimates about the likely future capabilities of other major nations as far ahead as 2010 or 2015. Congressional oversight of intelligence perhaps should include how well these questions are being handled by the intelligence community.
In the case of China, it is at present impossible to know with confidence
what the ultimate significance of Chinese writings about future warfare
may be, in part because much more needs to be known about how Chinese military
publications may (or may not) be related to Chinese strategy and to research,
development and acquisition programs. One thing is for sure: current PLA
writings about the subject of future warfare do not fit the recent direction
of China's observed modest program of military modernization. They are
surprising and perhaps even alarming.
The Pentagon's View of Future Warfare to 2015 in the QDRThe U.S. Defense Department is now using a much broader time horizon for its planning and looks out to 2010 or 2015 in its public presentations. Indeed, defense decisions taken in recent years will have very far reaching consequences. Since its peak in 1985, the US defense budget has dropped by at least one third, the procurement of new weapons has been cut by 63 percent, and active forces have been reduced by 750,000 people. The trend is toward further reductions and a focus on small scale operations. Shortly before resigning, Secretary of Defense William Perry said, "We cannot and should not reduce below the force structure we have now." However, Secretary of Defense William Cohen proposed in the May 1997 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) to reduce forces by at least another 60,000 people, including reductions of Navy ships, Air Force aircraft, and Army combat units.
What is the logic behind such reductions and the current Pentagon view of future warfare? In the QDR, Secretary of Defense Cohen laid out what he called three alternative "paths" that US defense strategy could follow from now to 2015. Path 1 was the status quo, which he rejected as too static; Path 2 would be "aggressively" to pursue the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA), but to cut sharply the current forces. As Secretary Cohen reported in the QDR to the Congress, "The dominant challenge on which this (second alternative ) path is focused is the possible emergence, after 2010-2015, of a regional great power or global peer competitor, as well as more stressing combinations of asymmetric threats." Path 2, in budget terms, would mean a 20 percent further reduction in current US forces in order to raise funds for up to $35 billion annually in new research as well as at least $65 billion annually for new weapons procurement.
Path 3: Secretary of Defense Cohen Will Pursue the Revolution in Military AffairsAccording to the QDR report to Congress, Secretary Cohen rejected Path 2. He selected instead a compromise between Path 1 and Path 2 that he called "Path 3", which he said "will continue to exploit the Revolution in Military Affairs. . . . but not as quickly as Path 2." In other words, the Pentagon is committed to pursuing the Revolution in Military Affairs at a pace consistent with the premise that no threat of a new regional great power or global peer appears likely before 2010 to 2015, a period of thirteen to eighteen years from today.
"China is Our Friend, Not Our Enemy" Secretary Albright Stated In August 1977The QDR contains an implicit premise in its insightful discussion of the future security environment up to and beyond 2010-2015 that another nation may challenge the United States as a peer or at least "regional great power," but that this challenge will not arise until after 2010. The QDR also hints that "asymmetrical threats" could pose severe challenges to US military forces. These asymmetrical threats are not defined in the QDR, but the report suggests that a regional great power which also uses asymmetrical strategies or capabilities would "stress" the United States. There is absolutely no mention of China in the QDR, either as a potential regional great power or an asymmetrical threat, nor has the Pentagon publicly described China as a future military threat to the United States. On the contrary, Secretaries of Defense Perry and Cohen have stated China is not a threat. The State Department is totally in accord with Defense. As People's Daily reported August 10, 1997, Secretary of State Madeline Albright told General Fu Quanyou, PLA General Staff Director, in her office that China is America's friend, not an enemy.
Chinese Research to Identify The List of Future US Military VulnerabilitiesHowever, open source Chinese military writing on future warfare, including some articles translated in Chinese Views of Future Warfare, suggest that China may not be as friendly to the Pentagon as the Pentagon is to China. Indeed, numerous Chinese books and articles suggest an active research program has been underway for several years to examine how China should develop future military capabilities to defeat the United States by exploiting the Revolution in Military Affairs more effectively and more rapidly than the US, particularly by tailoring new technology to "defeat the superior with the inferior" with a strategy of asymmetric warfare.
These two subjects, the RMA and asymmetric warfare, are closely related in some PLA writing. A book published in May 1996 by Major General Li Zeyun, Foreign Military Studies Director at the National Defense University, contains articles by 64 PLA authors which describe in detail an extended list of the weaknesses of the US Army, Navy and Air Force. This book represents a common theme in PLA views of future warfare -- America is proclaimed to be a declining power with but two or three decades of primacy left. US military forces, while dangerous at present are vulnerable, even deeply flawed, and can be defeated with the right strategy, namely "defeating the superior with the inferior." Part of the recommended asymmetric approach in some of this PLA writing is the requirement for "the inferior" to pre-emptively strike the "superior" in order to paralyze his nerve centers and block his logistics.
Asymmetrical Warfare Against the US: How the Inferior Can Defeat the SuperiorThe second aspect of PLA views of future warfare is the requirement to exploit the Revolution in Military Affairs so that China can even more rapidly and effectively "defeat the superior with the inferior." One statement never found in PLA open source writing is any declaration that China will one day be the world's leading military power. Rather, the eventual end state of the current Post Cold War transitional period is always proclaimed to be "multi polarity" among five equal powers each of which will have its own sphere of influence. One bold author explains that by mid-21st century, even the declining United States will still be left its own sphere of influence, namely Latin American and Canada. Several PLA articles and a book published by the Academy of Military Science provide equations with which to calculate the future trends in "comprehensive national power" that will lead to this world of five equal powers.
China's RMA Advocates: Undetected From 1988 to 1995To understand the RMA and to develop innovative defense programs, China announced in May 1996 that it had formed a strategic research center that would combine research on traditional Chinese statecraft with studies and experiments designed to generate innovative military operational concepts. Several national conferences have been convened to assess the implications of the RMA for China, including whether traditional or ancient statecraft can be applied to exploit the RMA and asymmetrical strategy. The announcement of the new center in 1996 specifically praised several books by PLA authors that were previously published in the 1980's about the application of ancient strategy to future warfare. Earlier, China announced formation of an Institute of Grand Strategy with responsibility for assessing other major powers' approaches to security issues in the 21st Century.
Both these new institutions (and several existing ones) take a task force type of approach by assembling experts from a variety of Chinese military institutions to examine strategic alternatives more than one or two decades ahead. Credit for some of these initiatives is sometimes given to Qian Xuesen who made a speech in 1985 that brought to the attention of China's senior military leadership the prior Russian work on the RMA. Qian is also credited as the father of China's missile programs and, with a Ph.D. from Cal Tech, actually participated in the late 1940s in the first major U.S. Air Force study of future warfare for which he authored several sections on future missile warfare.
The contrast is striking between the orthodox authors who since 1985 have advocated "active defense' and "local war" programs and the new articles since 1994 by Chinese military authors who advocate that China must be the first or among the first in the world to exploit information technology and stealth technology to acquire an entirely new type of armed forces which bear no resemblance to the 1985 program laid down by Deng Xiaoping.
The Proposals and Programs in China?s RMA: What China WantsMy examination of nearly 200 books and journals published by several military publishing houses in China suggests that at least 50 military officers now write about future warfare and the RMA. Some propose specific programs for China, such as developing means to counter US stealth aircraft. Others suggest more general approaches that propose new doctrine and new weapons programs, or offer broad warnings about what will happen to China if it ignores the RMA. For example, General Wang Pufeng, after quoting Andrew W. Marshall, urges that China develop three new systems : a strategic reconnaissance and warning system, a battlefield information network that brings all military branches into a single network for combat coordination, and long range precision strike systems, including tactical guided missiles. General Wang emphasizes that "in comparison with the strength of its potential enemies, the information technology and information weapons of the Chinese Armed Forces will all be inferior for quite some time." He also warns about the need to be the first to exploit a revolution in military affairs:
Those who perceive it first will swiftly rise to the top and have the advantage of the first opportunities. Those who perceive it late will unavoidably also be caught up in the vortex of this revolution. Every military will receive this baptism. This revolution is first a revolution in concepts.
Some articles by these "RMA advocates" seem to be reports of task forces
formed within single service research institutes. The Air Force Command
Institute authors focus on the crucial future role of space forces
and praise the Israeli pre-emptive dawn attack which destroyed most of
the Egyptian air force on the ground as an example of the "inferior" defeating
the "superior" through surprise attack. Similarly, Navy Research
Institute authors state that the submarine will become the most important
ship in the 21st century because of its stealthiness and its ability to
destroy the large surface ships of a "superior" enemy navy. Space
warfare will be conducted by navy ships which can destroy satellite reconnaissance
and other space systems. Tactical laser weapons will be needed for
anti-ship defense. Long range precision strikes at sea will cause "both
sides to strive to make lightning attacks and raise their first strike
PLA authors seem to have begun to assess the RMA almost ten years ago, even before the concept was well known in United States. Some senior officers of the Academy of Military Science (AMS) have since the mid 1980s repeatedly referred to the "third military technical revolution" without actually footnoting the Soviet military journals which had been discussing the same subject. RMA articles by AMS authors began at least as early as Wu Qunqiu's seminal article in China Military Science, Autumn 1988. Also in 1988 AMS Vice President General Mi Zhenyu published his Chinese National Defense Development Concepts. It seems that Chinese interest in the RMA did not begin in the 1990s. Indeed, by the mid 1990s, what was new was the depth of interest and genuine enthusiasm. The Liberation Army Daily, official newspaper of the PLA, began to publish almost weekly articles about the RMA and its implications for China. This early interest in the RMA may be significant. If these early open source articles somehow influenced the weapons acquisition process of the Central Military Commission and COSTIND, then some RMA-type research and development efforts could have been initiated a decade ago.
It is time to turn to several representative articles and book chapters by the Chinese RMA advocates before discussing the implications of this writing in the final section.
Weapons Development for the 21st Century: How China Can ?Be Ahead of Everyone?Many observers believe that Chinese concern with the RMA and future warfare dates only from the Gulf War in 1991. However, as stated, one of China's most important studies of future warfare was published as early as 1988 by a team under the leadership of General Mi Zhenyu, a Vice President of the Academy of Military Science, entitled China's National Defense Development Concepts. They suggest:
? China is in long term competition with other major powers.
? The gap between the weapons we now possess compared to those of advanced countries is twenty to twenty-five years.
? If our objective is merely to shrink this discrepancy to ten to fifteen years, then from the point of view of effectiveness, it would seem to be higher than others. But from the point of view of competitive effectiveness, it would only be an impractical increase in quality, perhaps even a decrease.
? When we compare the discrepancy of a half generation of weaponry in the year 2000 with the two to three generation discrepancies today, the difference in competitive effectiveness could be greater.
? If we do not start today to plan to be better, to be ahead of everyone, how can we possibly make use of the opportunities, and become latecomers who surpass the old-timers? (Emphasis added.)
Asymmetric Strategy: A Chinese Boxer Brings His Opponent to His Knees With High Power Microwave Weapons, Information Superiority, and Attacking SatellitesIn his article "Weapons of the Twenty-first Century," Mr. Chang Mengxiong, the former Senior Engineer of the Beijing Institute of System Engineering of COSTIND, suggests that "we are in the midst of a new revolution in military technology" and that in the twenty-first century both weapons and military units will be "information-intensified."
Chang has a keen eye for spotting American military weaknesses and suggesting asymmetric approaches in which "the inferior can defeat the superior." Chang writes that future CI systems will be crucial, so that "attacking and protecting space satellites, airborne early warning aircraft and electronic warfare aircraft and ground command sites will become important forms of combat." Like many Chinese authors, Chang sees new concept weapons such as lasers and high powered microwave weapons to be the best way to conduct asymmetric attacks.
In terms of asymmetric warfare, one of Chang's most vivid metaphors is of a Chinese boxer. "Information-intensified combat methods are like a Chinese boxer with a knowledge of vital body points who can bring an opponent to his knees with a minimum of movement."
Chang discusses some specific new concepts for weapons:
? High power microwave weapons to "destroy the opponents' electronic equipment."
? Information superiority is "more important than air and sea superiority."
? "We must gain air and sea superiority, but win information superiority first of all."
? Information deterrence will be a new operational concept.
Like nuclear deterrence, "information deterrence" will be vital. Especially if "the power with a weaker information capability can deliver a crippling attack on the information system of the power with a stronger information system." In a very important point, Chang stresses that "even if two adversaries are generally equal in weapons, unless the side having a weaker information capability is able effectively to weaken the information capability of the adversary, it has very little possibility of winning the war."
Asymmetrical Naval Warfare: Anti Ship Lasers, Attacking US Logistics, Powerful First Strikes, Electromagnetic Pulse Weapons, Computer Virus Weapons, New SubmarinesIn the first of two articles on "Twenty-first Century Naval Warfare," Captain Shen Zhongchang and his coauthors from the Chinese Navy Research Institute suggest that "certain cutting-edge technologies are likely to first be applied to naval warfare." They point out how China could adopt several asymmetrical approaches to defeating a larger and more powerful navy. These approaches include disabling the more powerful navy by attacking its space-based communications and surveillance systems and even attacking naval units from space. Shen writes, "The mastery of outer space will be a prerequisite for naval victory with outer space becoming the new commanding heights for naval combat." Ships at sea will carry out anti reconnaissance strikes against space satellites and other space systems. "The side with electromagnetic combat superiority will make full use of that invisible killer mace to win naval victory." They believe that direct attacks on naval battlefields will become possible from outer space because "naval battle space is going to expand unprecedently."
A second asymmetrical approach to defeating a more powerful navy is to use shore-based missiles and aircraft instead of developing a large (symmetrical) naval fleet. They write, "as land-based weapons will be sharply improved in reaction capacity, strike precision, and range, it will be possible to strike formations at sea, even individual warships."
A third asymmetrical approach will be for China to pioneer in "magic weapons" such as tactical laser weapons which "will be used first in anti ship missile defense systems" and stealth technology for both naval ships and cruise missiles. "Lightning attacks and powerful first strikes will be more widely used."
A fourth asymmetrical approach will be for China to attack the naval logistics of the superior navy. Shen explains that the vulnerability of an American-style navy will grow in the future because future naval warfare will expend large amounts of human and material resources so that "logistics survival will face a greater challenge." Shen predicts that "future maritime supply lines and logistic security bases will find it hard to survive." He states that the Gulf War's daily ammunition expenditure was 4.6 times that of the Vietnam War and twenty times that of the Korean War with an oil consumption rate of about nineteen million gallons a day, suggesting the vulnerability of American naval operations because of relatively unprotected supply lines.
A fifth asymmetrical approach will be for China to attack American naval command and information systems. In an article entitled "The Military Revolution in Naval Warfare," Captain Shen Zhongchang and his co-authors list new technologies that will contribute to the defeat of the United States. They explain that protection of C3I is now so important that "the US Defense Department has invested $1 billion in establishing a network to safeguard its information system." However, the American system may not be so safe from attack. Captain Shen writes that there are many ways to destroy information systems such as:
? attacking radar and radio stations with smart weapons
? jamming enemy communication facilities with electronic warfare
? attacking communication centers, facilities and command ships
? destroying electronic systems with electromagnetic pulse weapons
? destroying computer software with computer viruses.
? developing directed energy weapons and electromagnetic pulse weapons.
A sixth asymmetrical approach to naval warfare is to use submarines
with new types of torpedoes. Shen predicts that the most powerful naval
weapon in future warfare will be submarines. He writes, "After the First
World War, the dominant vessel was the battleship. In the Second World
War, it was the aircraft carrier. If another global war breaks out, the
most powerful weapon will be the submarine." Torpedoes do not require
a submarine, and can also be launched from Chinese small patrol boats.
Indeed, Liberation Army Daily has commented proudly about the effectiveness
of low observable speedboats in Chinese naval exercises against more powerful
enemy naval ships.
Asymmetrical Air Power: Control of Outer Space Will Be DecisiveIn their article "The Military Revolution and Air Power," Major General Zheng Shenxia, President of Air Force Command College and Colonel Zhang Changzhi, make a case that the Revolution in Military Affairs will strengthen aerospace forces more than others. They emphasize the growing importance of precision strike, stealth, night vision, longer range attacks, lethality of smart munitions, increased C3I capability, and electronic warfare. They were deeply impressed by the US capability in the Gulf War to "capture all the high frequency and ultrahigh frequency radio signals of the Iraqi army and store information gathered by 34 reconnaissance satellites, 260 electronic reconnaissance planes and 40 warning aircraft" and then "destroy the Iraqi communication system." They conclude that "this explains that information is the key to victory."
According to General Zheng, China's future air force must integrate space, air and air defense forces into one. Following the struggle for air control, "space control will become a decisive component of strategic initiative."
In a second article "21st Century Air Warfare," Colonel Ming Zengfu of the Air Force Command Institutea second article "21st Century Air Warfare," Colonel Ming Zengfu of the Air Force Command Institute argues that "the air battlefield will become decisively significant" in future warfare. He too stresses China's air force must be "linked" to space forces. Ming concludes that not only is it correct that "he who controls outer space controls the Earth," but also "to maintain air superiority one must control outer space."
Asymmetrical Attack with Nanotechnology WeaponsAn article by Major General Sun Bailin of the Academy of Military Science is particularly important because it illustrates how asymmetrical attacks on US military forces could be carried out with extremely advanced. General Sun points out that US dependence on "information superhighways" will make it vulnerable to attack by micro-scale robot "electrical incapacitation systems."
The targets would be American electrical power systems, civilian aviation systems, transportation networks, seaports and shipping, highways, television broadcast stations, telecommunications systems, computer centers, factories and enterprises, and so forth. US military equipment will also be vulnerable to asymmetrical attack by "ant robots." According to General Sun, these are a type of micro-scale electromechanical system that can be controlled with sound. The energy source of ant robots is a micro-scale microphone that can transform sound into energy. People can use them to creep into the enemy's vital equipment and lurk there for as long as several decades. In peacetime, they do not cause any problem. In the event of relations between two countries becoming worse, to the point that they develop into warfare, remote control equipment can be used to activate the hidden ant robots, so that they can destroy or "devour" the enemy's equipment.
China Needs ?Magic Weapons,? But ?No Consensus Yet?In his article "Military Conflicts in the New Era," Zheng Qinsheng points out that the well-known scientist Qian Xuesen "laid bare the essence of the military revolution" to be information technology. Zheng, like Chang Mengxiong, advocates new measures of effectiveness.
In a rare remark that apparently criticizes Local War theorists, Zheng asks "Where shall we place the nucleus of high-tech development? Where shall we put the main emphasis of local high-tech wars?" Zheng reveals that "a consensus on these issues has yet to be reached throughout the army. People still tend to place greater emphasis on hardware instead of software, and on the present instead of the future. Such a transitional optical parallax is hindering us from gaining a correct grasp of major contradictions."
Zheng concludes by recommending a conscientious study of
? the military revolution,
? new ideas on the military development, and
? "magic weapons" that can really serve our purpose
Six New Combat Concepts for Asymmetric WarfareThe COSTIND journal Contemporary Military Affairs published an article in February 1996 by Chen Huan on "The Third Military Revolution" which Chen calls the rapid technology development of information, stealth, and long-range precision strike. Chen predicts new operational concepts will appear in future wars.
- Long-range Combat -- "There will be three main forms of long- range strikes in the future: the first form is the one in which the air arm independently carries out long-range strikes; the second form is one in which the long-range strike combines with the long-range rapid movement of troops transported by land and sea with the vertical airdrops of airborne forces; and the third form is five-dimensional-- air, land, sea, space, and electromagnetic--long-range combat."
- Outer Space Combat -- "The following new-concept weapons will come forth in a continuous stream--all of these weapons will make outer space the fifth dimension operational space following land, sea, air, and electromagnetism:
- Laser weapons,
- Ultra- high frequency weapons,
- Ultrasonic wave weapons,
- Stealth weapons,
- Electromagnetic guns
- Paralysis Combat -- By striking at the "vital point" of the enemy's information and support systems one can at one blow paralyze the enemy and collapse his morale.
- Computer Combat -- "Relevant data show that, before the outbreak of the Gulf War, American intelligence organizations put a virus into Iraq's air defense system which led to the destruction of 86 percent of the Iraqi forces' strategic targets in the first one or two days of the war. This also shows that making the computer an operational means of attacking the object of a strike has already become a reality. . . e.g., concealing a virus source in the integrated circuits of enemy computers and, when necessary, activating the virus by electronic measures, propagating and duplicating it. Again, for example, with the aid of electromagnetic waves, a virus can be injected from a long distance into the enemy's command and communication systems and into the computers on his aircraft, tanks, and other weapons, causing nonlethal destruction."
- Radiation Combat -- "In the wars of the past, the power to inflict casualties mainly depended on the effects of kinetic energy and thermal energy; but the weapon systems produced by the third military revolution mainly use sound, electromagnetism, radiation, and other destructive mechanisms. The main radiation weapons are laser weapons, microwave weapons, particle beam weapons, and subsonic wave weapons; they possess enormous military potential."
- Robot Combat -- "The main type of military robot on active service or about to be put on active service in the armed forces of various countries of the world are vehicle emergency robots, minelaying robots, minesweeping robots, reconnaissance robots, transportation robots, electronic robots, and driver robots. Later there will appear engineer robots, chemical defense robots, patrol robots, and even unmanned intelligent tanks, unmanned intelligent aircraft, and other robot soldiers."
Possible Chinese Misperceptions of RMA and Asymmetrical WarfareAs we have seen, the Chinese RMA advocates tend toward an almost breathless sense of inevitability that a Revolution will sweep away all previous operational concepts, military technologies, and military organizational structures. The reader is warned again and again that 21st century warfare will be completely and totally different than today. Yet two things are missing in all these articles.
First, there is no sense of balance. There is no description of how the transition will be made to the new era of the RMA. There is no presentation of the other side of the argument as is found in many discussions in the US where debate exists even over the precise definition of an RMA. Some American authors state that no one yet knows what the new RMA will look like. Yet here are Chinese generals confidently predicting the details of air, sea and land battles twenty to thirty years from now when they have probably not seen in person the advanced warfare demonstrated in the Gulf War.
Second, there is no mention of the massive obstacles China would have to overcome to exploit a potential RMA (as the Chinese authors predict) ahead of the United States. Instead, there is an almost magically thinking or wishing away of these obstacles. This alone may explain why China's top few military leaders such as Politburo member General Liu Huaqing or General Zhang Zhen have not yet even mentioned an RMA in their speeches and signed articles.
Probable Resistance of Intelligence Community to Reporting Chinese ProgressIn China in the 1990s, a new school of thinking about future warfare can be identified which I have labeled the "RMA advocates." They advocate ideas found earlier in Russian studies of the RMA, and sometimes discuss American views of the RMA. They also focus on the need for China to develop asymmetrical military capabilities which could seriously reduce current U.S. military superiority in Asia. These Chinese military authors may not enjoy much influence. But they should not be ignored. It should be possible in the next few years to identify the development by China of asymmetrical or RMA military capabilities that deviate from the plans Deng publicly proposed in the 1980s which are usually (but perhaps incorrectly) called the Doctrine of Local Warfare.
While we are uncertain whether China is changing its strategy, a dilemma will be whether U.S. defense planning for the next two decades should continue to assume that the goals of Chinese military modernization are still the plans laid down by Deng Xiaoping in the 1980s modest improvements in air, sea and ground forces, little change in nuclear forces, little interest power projection. If Deng's vision remains operative, there would be little reason for the United States to shift its defense planning assumptions toward new premises based on these Chinese publications that urge that China should exploit a potential Revolution on Military Affairs and pursue asymmetrical military capabilities. What would it take to change this assumption?
Today Only A Few Chinese Write About the RMAAt present, it would appear that only a few high ranking Chinese military authors publicly advocate that China should re-orient the military modernization program laid down by Deng over a decade ago. Indeed, the public speeches and public articles published by the very highest level of Chinese military leaders have not yet begun to reflect the views of these RMA advocates.
Would US Intelligence Recognize the Shift?If these Chinese RMA advocates ever assume control of policy and programming, China's military capabilities in 20 years could pose major challenges to U.S. forces. Chinese "wish lists" of exotic weapons could materialize. Would the US intelligence community immediately recognize such a shift? Possibly not. New evidence would likely be disputed. American intelligence analysts of China might be divided between a cautious group of passionate defenders of the status quo who would continue to downplay PLA capabilities and belittle the possibility of a Revolution in Military Affairs in spite of the clear commitment of Secretary of Defense Cohen to Path 3 in the QDR. A second group of intelligence analysts might be more willing to consider the possibility that China had changed course since Deng's departure and might be successful in exploiting an RMA, perhaps one with special Chinese characteristics. Such a debate inside the U.S. intelligence community would not likely become public or be disclosed to the Congress or the Pentagon. There would be intense pressure to avoid discussion of the issue in part because of the now famous prediction by former Assistant Secretary of Defense Joseph Nye that treating China as an enemy will be a self fulfilling prophecy.
Five Reasons Traditional Intelligence Analysts Will Resist New InterpretationsEven without Professor Nye's warning, it is unlikely that current Chinese open source writings about how to defeat the US in future warfare will be taken seriously by the intelligence community for many years after accumulation of overwhelming evidence because:
- First, many experts who specialize in Chinese affairs doubt that China can ever develop effective world-class military forces. They might admit China has RMA advocates, but still adamantly argue that China lacks a socio-economic foundation to implement an RMA.
- Second, some US experts believe future Chinese military modernization will have to be extremely modest because China is intent on economic modernization and will not depart from its low cost military budgets. The RMA advocates seems to be only wishful thinkers.
- Third, in spite of extensive Soviet denial and deception of the US, some US experts believe that China has no such denial and deception program. Instead, the source of Chinese military secrecy is assumed to be Chinese fear of embarrassment if they exposed their military forces and acquisition plans to US scrutiny. PLA leaders frequently make this argument.
- Fourth, some US experts may believe the existence of these Chinese RMA advocates proves nothing about the direction of China's future military programs. Chinese RMA advocates could be writing this way in public because they have internal policy battles, or to gain personal recognition for their ideas, or because they want to demonstrate that they understand the RMA debates in the US and Russia.
- Fifth, some experts may believe their "instincts" more than these PLA writings. The personal contacts that US experts have had with PLA officers almost always contain warm and friendly vows of common strategic interests by the Chinese to their American counterparts combined with sincere Chinese disavowals of any hostile intent toward the U.S. Thus, the PLA written materials addressed above may contrast so sharply with the subjectively more "authentic" personal warmth which many US experts have experienced over the years of Sino-merican exchanges that some US experts will dismiss such PLA articles as mere cant or empty rhetoric written either for "publish or perish" purposes or to satisfy political commissars. In other words, the PLA authors don't really believe it.
Doctrine and Acquisition: We Need To Understand the Organizational ProcessPerhaps one additional factor that could explain skepticism about the significance of PLA published doctrine is the absence of sufficient evidence about how published doctrine may be related to decision making about acquisition programs.
If very little is known with confidence about how Chinese doctrinal writings may be linked to the organizational process of Chinese military research, development and acquisition, then we are only in the early stages of really understanding the PLA. This level of ignorance of PLA (and COSTIND) organizational process impedes any assessment of the significance of new PLA doctrinal writings. Let's take a few examples which ultimately imply the urgent need to enhance our understanding of China's organizational process which governs how doctrine may be related to weapons acquisition.
At present, the most senior PLA leaders do not publicly advocate that China should exploit the RMA. Does this mean there are no RMA programs or asymmetric programs in the process of research, development and acquisition? Suppose the senior PLA leadership did endorse RMA programs? Would such a public shift be significant? Would it affect the views of US experts devoted to their model of a backward, modestly modernizing, largely infantry-based PLA?
Take another example concerning how doctrine may be linked to research, development and acquisition. Suppose that a weapons program that the Chinese government has officially denied that it is pursuing (say, an aircraft carrier, or a MIRVed ICBM, or an ASAT weapon) is identified with confidence. Would such evidence affect the views of US experts devoted to their model that China does not practice denial and deception about its military capability? Take another example. Suppose that China performs a series of military exercises designed to attack aircraft carriers (or some other weapons system unique to the US such as stealth aircraft) in an asymmetric manner. Or suppose some of the "magic weapons" proposed by the RMA advocates were unveiled by China or revealed by the Russian government to have been sold to China. Examples translated in the book Chinese Views of Future Warfare include electromagnetic rail guns, anti-ship lasers, ground-based ASAT lasers, high power microwave weapons, a counter stealth program, and others. What implications would such evidence have, if any?
Wrapped up in all these questions is the need for better understanding of China's military organizational processes and the need to develop key indicators of future possible changes in both PLA intentions and capabilities. It could be important to know if the RMA advocates are succeeding. Such a contingency might require modifications in US defense programs and operational plans. There would be a requirement to reduce vulnerabilities in Asia and particularly to increase efforts there to develop countermeasures to Chinese asymmetrical warfare.
Of course, no Chinese programs along the lines proposed by the RMA advocates may ever materialize. If they do not materialize, then the Chinese RMA advocates of the 1990s will be seen in retrospect as merely posing a false alarm about a path the Chinese military leadership decided never to take. At present, we lack the necessary analytic tools and evidence to know what the significance of these PLA authors on future warfare may be.
Foortnotes1. There appears to be a parallel debate in Moscow about the costs and benefits of radically pursuing a Revolution in Military Affairs. The Vice President of the Russian Academy of Military Science Vladimir Slipchenko told Komsomolskaya Pravda October 15, 1996 that new weapons based on new physical principles will form the basis of many states "armed forces in 10-15 years time. . . Explosives are currently being developed which will be 30-50 times more destructive . . . .The main attack element will be five to eight times faster then sound air- and sea-launched cruise missiles. . . . military lasers will be used to disable military space systems. . . By directing energy emission at a target it is possible to turn an enemy division into a herd of frightened idiots. . . electromagnetic weapons . . . ionizing (plasma) weapons . . . our likely friends in the West and the East are developing new weapons and means of employing them. Is Russian ready to take up the challenge of the times?" General Slipchenko explained to me in an interview in Moscow in 1996 that some Russian military leaders are resisting the rapid exploitation of the potential Revolution in Military Affairs and prefer more conservative ways. There are apparently a number of senior Chinese military officers now studying at advanced Russian military institutes.
2. Three were entitled New Version of the 36 Stratagems, Strategy in the Three Kingdoms Era, Eastern Zhou Strategies.
3. This highly tentative speculation could help to explain the many Chinese open source references recently uncovered by Mark Stokes to previously unknown Chinese programs to develop laser weapons, anti satellite weapons, high powered microwave weapons, electric rail guns, and other advance technologies in his forthcoming study for the United States Air Force Academy Institute for National Security Studies.
A SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY OF CHINESE MILITARY BOOKS
The RMA, High Technology Warfare, and Local WarfareFeng Changhong. Waijun gao jishu yu xiandai junshi jiangzuo (A Course on Foreign Military High Technology and Modern Military Affairs). Beijing: Military Science Press, 1994.
Gao Chunxiang, ed. Xin junshi geming lun (On the New Revolution in Military Affairs). Beijing: Military Science Press, 1996.
Gao jishu jubu zhanzheng yu zhanyi zhanfa (High Technology Local Warfare and Campaign Fighting Methods). Edited by Guofang daxue keyan bu (National Defense University, Scientific Research Department). Beijing: National Defense University Press, 1993.
Guan Jiefu, Zhang Feng, and Ling Yong. Jun yuan da huo bao -- Dangdai gao jishu jubu zhanzheng jing hui Exploding -- (Contemporary High Technology Local Warfare Collection). Beijing: National Defense University Press, 1993.
Li Jie. Gao jishu yu xiandai haijun (High Technology and the Modern Navy). Beijing: Military Science Press, 1994.
Li Qingshan. Xin junshi geming yu gao jishu zhanzheng (The New Revolution in Military Affairs and High Technology Warfare). Beijing: Military Science Press, 1995.
Li Zhishun and Sun Dafa. Gao jishu zhanzheng moulue (High Technology Warfare Strategy). Beijing: National Defense University Press, 1993.
Liu Mingtao and Yang Chengjun. Gao jishu zhanzheng zhong de daodan zhan (Guided Missel War in High Technology Warfare). Beijing: National Defense University Press, 1993.
Liu Sheng'e and Miao Lin. Xiandai jubu zhanzheng tiaojian xia de renmin zhanzheng (People's War Under the Conditions of Modern Local Warfare). Beijing: Military Science Press, 1996.
Liu Yichang, ed. Gao jishu zhanzheng lun (High Technology Warfare). Beijing: Military Science Press, 1993.
Luo Youli, Zhu Kuiyu, and Hou Luliang. Gao jishu jubu zhanzheng zhanfa tansuo (Exploring High Technology Local Warfare Combat Methods). Beijing: Military Science Press, 1994.
Su Yansong, ed. Junjie redian juji -- Gao jishu jubu zhanzheng gailun (A Collection of Military Hot Points -- An Outline of High Technology Local Warfare). Beijing: National Defense University Press, 1993.
Wang Pufeng. Xinxi zhanzheng yu junshi geming (Information Warfare and the Revolution in Military Affairs). Beijing: Military Science Press, 1995.
Yang Lizhong and Yang Junxi. Xiandai gao jishu zhan (Modern High Technology Warfare). Beijing: Military Science Press, 1993.
Yang Lizhong, Yang Junxi, Bie Yixun, and Le Junhuai. Gao jishu zhanlue -- kua shiji de tiaozhan yu jiyu (High Technology Strategy -- The Challenges and Opportunities Across the Next Century). Beijing: Military Science Press, 1991.
Yin Zhen and Su Qingyi, eds. Gao jishu yu xiandai kongjun (High Technology and the Modern Airforce). Military Science Press, 1993.
Yu Huating and Liu Guoyu, eds. Gao jishu zhanzheng yu jundui zhiliang jianshe (High Technology Warfare and Developing Force Quality). Beijing: National Defense University Press, 1993.
Yu Yongzhe, ed. Gao jishu zhanzheng houqin baozhang (High Technology Warfare Logistics Protection). Beijing: Military Science Press, 1995.
Zhang Liuhua. Shei zhuzai weilai zhanchang ? -- Gao jishu zhanzheng zhong de jun bingzhong (Who Will Dominate Future Battle Fields? -- The Armed Forces of High Technology Warfare). Beijing: National Defense University Press, 1993.
Zhang Yufa, Shou Xiaosong, Yu Qifen, Hu Guangzheng, Zhang Ji, Xiao Xianshe, Wang Yimin, and Ma Shanying. Jubu zhanzheng gai lan -- 1945 nian 9 yue - 1987 nian 12 yue (General Readings on Local Warfare -- September 1945 - December 1987). Beijing: People's Liberation Army Press, 1988.
Zhao Hongfa and Zhang Yuliang, eds. Gao jishu jubu zhanzheng yezhan fangkong (High Technology Local Warfare Air Defense Operations). Beijing: National Defense University Press, 1993.
Military Science and Strategic StudiesChen Liheng, ed. Junshi yuce xue (Military Forecasting). Beijing: Military Science Press, 1993.
Chen Weiren, ed. Junshi moulue xue (Military Strategy Studies). Beijing: National Defense University Press, 1990.
Gao Tiqian. Zhanzheng yu zhanlue (War and Strategy). Beijing: Miltiary Science Press, 1994.
Li Jijun. Junshi zhanlue siwei (Strategic Thought). Beijing: Military Science Press, 1996.
Li Lin and Zhao Qinxuan, eds. Xin shiqi junshi jingji lilun yanjiu (New Era Military Economic Theory Studies). Beijing: Military Science Press, 1995.
Li Zhijun. Junshi lilun yu zhanzheng shijian (Military Theory and Warfare). Beijing: Military Science Press, 1994.
Liang Biqin, ed. Junshi zhixue (Military Philosophy). Beijing: Military Science Press, 1995.
Liu Jixian. Junshi lilun yu weilai zuozhan (Military Theory and Future Combat). Beijing: National Defense University Press, 1992.
Liu Shanji and Qian Junde. Dangdai waiguo junshi sixiang (Contemporary Foreign Military Thought). Beijing: People's Liberation Army Press, 1988.
Liu Yechu, ed. Junshi jingji xueshuo shi (The History of Military Economic Theory). Beijing: Military Science Press, 1995.
Liu Yichang, Wu Xizhi, Tong Fuquan, and Sun Zhenhuan. Guofang jingji yanjiu (National Defense Economics Studies). Beijing: Military Science Press, 1993.
Lu Jingzheng, Fu Shangkui, and Song Enmin, eds. Dangdai zhanlue zhinan (A Guide to Contemporary Strategy). Beijing: National Defense University Press, 1994.
Lun zhanzheng yu junshi kexue (On Warfare and Military Science). Translated by Junshi kexue yuan jihua zuzhi bu (Military Science Academy, Planing Organization Department). Military Science Press, 1990.
Luobofu, B.H. (Russian). Zhanzheng zhong de moulue (Strategy in War). Translated by Wu Guangquan, Wu Xia, Lin Yiqun, and Liu Gang. Beijing: People's Liberation Army Press, 1992.
Nuofu, Pa (Russian), ed. Zhanzheng yishu shi (The History of the Art of Warfare). Translated by Li Jing and Yuan Yanan. Beijing: Military Science Press, 1990.
Pan Shiying, ed. Dangdai zhongguo junshi sixiang jing yao (The Essence of Contemporary Chinese Military Thinking). Beijing: People's Liberation Army Press, 1992.
Peng Guangqian and Wang Guangxu. Junshi zhanlue jian lun (A General Discussion on Military Strategy). People's Liberation Army Press, 1989.
Su Zhisong. Kua shiji de junshi xin guandian (New Military Points of View at the Turn of the Century). Beijing: Military Science Press, 1997.
Sun Jizhang. Zhanyi xue jichu (The Foundation of Campaign Studies). Beijing: National Defense University Press, 1990.
Sun Lushi, ed. Junshi weilai xue (Military Futures Studies). Beijing: NDU Press, 1988.
Wang Pufeng. Xiandai guofang lun (Modern National Defense Theory). Chongqing: Chongqing Press, 1993.
Wang Shouyi, Wang Hui, Wang Bingxian, Wang Jian, Lu Yangshan, Geng Bingzhong, Gao Kun, Guo Shengwei, and Geng Zhixian. Zhanshu mofang -- moubian zhisheng de yishu (Tactical Magic -- The Art of Dominating Stratagem) . Beijing: Military Science Press, 1996.
Wu Chunqiu. Guangyi da zhanlue (Grand Strategy in a Broad Sense). Beijing: Current Affairs Press, 1995.
Yu Changhai. Junshi xitong juece yanjiu (Military Systems Policymaking Studies). Beijing: Military Science Press, 1994.
Zhang Jinbao and Liu Yongjie, eds. Dangdai zhanshu zhinan (A Contemporary Tactics Guide). Beijing: National Defense University Press, 1994.
Zhang Junbo, ed. Zhong-xi junshi zhexue bijiao yanjiu (Comparison Studies of Chinese and Western Military Philosophy). Beijing: Military Science Press, 1993.
Zhang Yufa. Junshi kexue yanjiu gai shu (A General Report on Military Science Studies). Military Science Press, 1991.
Zhang Yufa, Ren Liansheng, Yu Yanmin, Wang Yimin, and Xiao Xianshe. Junshi kexue ge xueke yanjiu xianzhuang ji fazhan quxiang (The Current State and Development Trends in the Study of Military Science Disciplines). Beijing: People's Liberation Army Press, 1993.
Zhanlue xue (Strategic Studies). Edited by Junshi Kexue Yuan (Military Science Academy). Shanxi: Military Science Press, 1987.
Zheng Wenhan,ed. Junshi kexue gailun (An Introduction to Military Science). Beijing: Military Science Press, 1994.
Weapons Systems and AnalysesBantianjunwen (Japanese). Junshi weixing -- Wexing jiandie zhan he jianduan wuqi (Military Satellites -- Satellite Spy Wars and Sophisticated Weapons). Translated by Qin Rongbin. Beijing: Military Science Press, 1990.
Chen Yalai. Waijun C3I xitong (Foreign Military C3I System). Beijing: People?s Liberation Army Press, 1989.
Clancy, Tom. Zhuangjia qibing tuan zhi lu (Armoured Cav: A Guided Tour of an Armoured Calvalry Regiment). Translated by Zhuang Shengxiong. Hainan Press, 1997.
Cui Jinjiu and Bu Weili. 20 shiji zhongda junshi weiji shuping (A Review of Major 20th Century Military Crises). Beijing: Military Science Press, 1995.
Delurining, Fu Fu and De Si Kuntuoluofu (Russian). Junshi xitong gongcheng wenti (Military Systems Engineering Problems). Junshi kexue yuan zuozhan yunchou fenxi yanjiu shi (Military Science Academy, Combat Operations Analysis Research Office). Chinese People's Liberation Army plant # 1201, 1984.
Gan Yanping. Guoji haizhan fa gaiyao (An Outline of International Sea Warfare Methods). Beijing: Tide Press, 1993.
Han Shengmin, ed. Zouxiang 21 shiji de waiguo jundui jianshe (Foreign Military Construction as the 21st Century Draws Near). Beijing: Military Science Press, 1996.
Hu Shigong, Shen Liping, Lu Keqin and HuangYanli. Guowai lujun zhanshu C3I shouce (Foreign Armies' Tactical C3I Handbook). Beijing: Arms Industry Press, 1990.
Huang Yanfeng and Liu Shengjun, eds. Yatai de xuanwo: Yatai diqu junshi fazhan yuce xueshu yanlunhui lunwen ji (The Asia Pacific Vortex: A Collection of Papers from the Asia Pacific Region Military Development Forecast Symposium). Compiled by Zhongguo junshi weilai yanjiu hui (Chinese Military Future Research Society). Beijing: Military Science Press, 1989.
Jiang Zhijun and Zhang Fan. Haiyang douzheng yu haishang liliang de yunyong (Ocean Combat and The Utilization of Sea Power). Beijing: People's Liberation Army Press, 1994.
Jilu yanming (Be Highly Disciplined). Edited by Jiefangjun bao junshi gongzuo xuanchuan bu (The People's Liberation Army Paper, Military Work Propaganda Department). Beijing: Long March Press, 1996.
Jundui zhihui lilun jijin -- quanjun shou jie jundui zhihui lilun yantao hui lunwenji. (Outstanding Examples of Armed Forces Command Theory -- A Collection of the Papers from the First Whole Army Symposium on Armed Forces Command Theory). Edited by Guofang daxue jundui zhihui jiaoyanshi (National Defense University, Armed Forces Command Teaching and Research Section). Beijing: National Defense University Press, 1992.
Li Defu. Daoguo kun bing -- Riben (Japan: Surrounded Soldiers of an Island Nation). Beijing: Current Affairs Press, 1997.
Li Hongzhi. Guoji zhengzhi yu junshi wenti -- ruogan shulianghua fenxi fangfa (International Political and Military Problems -- Quantitative Analysis Methods). Beijing: Military Science Press, 1995.
Li Peicai. Taikong zhuizong -- Zhongguo hangtian ce kong jishi (Outer Space Tracking -- China's Space Trackingtelemetry and Control Activities) . Beijing: The Central Committee of the CCP Party School Press, 1995.
Li Yanming and others. Chenlun juren -- E'luosi (The Sinking Giant -- Russia). Beijing: Current Affairs Press, 1997.
Ling Xiang and Li Jie. Dangdai hangkong mujian daguan (The Magnificent Sight of Modern Aircraft Carriers). Beijing: World Knowledge Press, 1993.
Liu Guifang and Feng Yi. Gao jishu tiaojian xia de C3I -- Jundui zhihui zidonghua (The C3I Under High Technology Conditions -- Armed Forces Command Automation). Beijing: National Defense University Press, 1994.
Liu Jinjun and Chen Baijiang. Lu-kong xietong zuozhan gailun (An Introduction to Land and Air Coordinated Battles). Beijing: The People's Liberation Army Press, 1996.
Liu Puhua, ed. Zhongguo changgui wuqi huicui (A Collection of Chinese Conventional Weapons). Beijing: Arms Industry Press, 1991.
Liu Qing, ed. Waiguo zhongyao junshi zhuzuo dao du (Readings in Important Foreign Military Writings). Beijing: Military Science Press, 1992.
Liu Wannian and Xu Zhenbang. Denglu zuozhan zong-heng tan (A Free Discussion on Landing Operations). Beijing: The Naval Tide Press, 1995.
Liu Xiaokun, Huang Mingkai, and Chen Huaide. Dangdai shijie junshi redian toushi (Perspectives on Contemporary World Military Hot Spots). Beijing: Military Science Press, 1996.
Liu Zhenwu, ed. Xiandai jundui zhihui (Modern Armed Forces Commands). Beijing: National Defense University Press, 1993.
Lu Hui. He hua sheng wuqi de lishi yu weilai (The History and Future of Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Weapons). Beijing: Military Science Press, 1991.
Lu Yan, ed. Hangkong huoli kongzhi jishu (Aviation Fire Control Technology). Beijing: Defense Industry Press, 1994.
Min Zengfu, Lin Jiaqian, Yao Wei, and Cao Kuofa. Kongzhong liliang de fazhan he zuozhan fangfa de biange (The Development of Aerial Strength and The Transformation of Combat Methods). Beijing: People's Liberation Army Press, 1994.
Newhouse, John. He shidai de zhanzheng yu heping (War and Peace in the Nuclear Age). Translated by Junshi kexue yuan waiguo junshi yanjiu bu (Military Science Academy, Foreign Military Research Department). Beijing: Military Science Press, 1989.
Pan Zhenqiang and Xia Liping, eds. Shijie junshi da qushi (World Military Megatrends). Beijing: National Defense University Press, 1994.
Peng Xunhou and Lin Ye. Sulian junshi gaige yanlun ji (A Collection of Speeches on Soviet Mililtary Reform). Beijing: People's Liberation Army Press, 1988.
Rijun yezhan canmou qinwu (Japanese Army Field Operations Staff Officer Duties). Translated by Junshi kexue yuan waiguo junshi yanjiu bu (Military Science Academy, Foreign Military Research Department). Beijing: Military Science Press, 1993.
Shang Jie. Xiandai dimian zuozhan liliang de fazhan yu yunyong (The Development and Utilization of Modern Ground Combat Strength). Beijing: People's Liberation Army Press, 1994.
Teng Jianqun, Wu Weiman, and Yu Peizhi. Fengyan san jin kan haiwan -- Shijie ge guo dui haiwan zhanzheng he lengzhan hou guoji anquan de kanfa (Scattered Beacons Regard the Gulf -- The Views of Various Countries in the World on the Gulf War and International Security after the Cold War). Beijing: Military Science Press, 1995.
Wang Lianfa and Zhao Moyan. Guangxue boli gongyi xue (Optical Glass Technology). Beijing: Arms Industry Press, 1995.
Wang Yamin, ed. Tong xiang fuquo qiangbing zhi lu -- jingji fada diqu minbing, yubeiyi (Opening the Road to a Rich Country and Strong Army -- A Collection of Papers from the Symposium on Economically Developed Regions' Peoples Militias and Reserve Duty Work Theory). Beijing: National Defense University Press, 1991.
Wang Yongnian, Zhu Liangsheng, and Sun Longhe. Toukui xianshi / miaozhun xitong (Helmet Mounted Sight System). Beijing: Defense Industry Press, 1994.
Wang Zhiyi. Wuzhuang liliang tizhi gailun (An Outline of Armed Forces Systems). Beijing: Military Science, 1991.
Wei Guanghui, Yang Pei, and others. Jiguang jishu zai bingqi gongye zhong de yingyong (The Use of Laser Technology in the Arms Industry). Beijing: Arms Industry Press, 1995.
Weilai luzhan (Future Land Warfare). Translated by Zongcanmoubu wuqi zhuangbei zonghe lunzheng yanjiusuo (Headquarters of the General Staff, Weapon Tests Research Institute). Beijing: Weapons Industry Press, 1989.
Wu Hua and others. Nanya zhi shi -- Indu (The Lion of South Asia -- India). Beijing: Current Affairs Press, 1997.
Wusite, Halaerde and Luyi Feidinande Xinbao (German). Junshi zhihui xinxi xitong (The Military Command Information System). Translated by Junshi kexue yuan waiguo junshi yanjiu bu (Military Science Academy, Foreign Military Research Department). Beijing: Military Science Press, 1989.
Yang Jingyu, Wu Yongge, Liu Leijian and Li Genshen. Zhanchang shuju ronghe jishu (Battlefield Data Fusion Technology). Beijing: Arms Industry Press, 1994.
Zhang Shiping. Jundui zhihui xitong gailun (An Outline of the Armed Forces Command System). Beijing: Military Science Press, 1993.
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