Monday, April 04, 2011

Aviation Week on China's Military Capabilities

Today Richard D. Fisher, Jr. and Bill Sweetman published an online article for Aviation Week titled Sizing Up China's Military Capabilities. Of interest to my readers might be the following:

It is no secret that long-term U.S. Air Force and Navy planning is focused on China...

A decade ago, many U.S. analysts were unimpressed by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA)... By 2011, such hubris has given way to palpable concern...

The elements of this capability include:

Information attack. In the mid-2000s, U.S. intelligence agencies identified the Advanced Persistent Threat (APT), a pattern of cyberespionage largely traceable to China and aimed mainly at the U.S. defense industry and armed forces...

I really like to see organizations that are not selling digital security, but who are still defense experts, discuss APT!

Some of you probably think Aviation Week is part of the "create a new bogey man" strategy as we draw down forces in Iraq. Surely APT is just "yellow peril"? Think again:

In the Soviet era, it was commonplace for U.S. intelligence agencies to exaggerate Soviet capabilities and predict that new systems would enter service sooner and in larger numbers than actually happened. A consistent trend in analysis of China’s military capabilities is to do the reverse...

So how does the US military tend to think about the Chinese threat?

U.S. officials have tended to view this increasing A2/AD [“anti-access” or “area denial”] force through the prism of a potential conflict over the future of Taiwan or a contest for dominance in the Western Pacific.

In the event of a conflict, it is assumed the PLA would launch cyberstrikes against regional U.S. and allied military facilities and U.S. political and military leadership, while directing air, naval and special forces strikes against nearby American facilities in Okinawa and Guam.

Should Washington refuse to sue for peace, and deploy forces into the theater, the PLA would fashion joint missile, air and submarine strikes to deter or defeat naval and air forces.

I know the whole US military does not think solely in terms of Taiwan, but clearly the limited characterization of APT as "only" "espionage," and the "prism" of Taiwan show that too many people don't see the big picture.

On a related note, I look forward to reading this document:

China's National Defense in 2010.


gunnar said...

Unrealistic. China spends 2 to 1 on internal security versus external. We spend 2 to 1 the other way. And of course we do so with dollars that we borrow from the Chinese.

If you are looking for a very realistic scenario, its the Suez crisis, where we dictated Britain's foreign policy because they were indebted to us

Since we are minus $3 trillion to China, China dictating our foreign policy is a when not an if, ceteris paribus.

"I will argue that the most serious threat to the United States is not someone hiding in a cave in Afghanistan or Pakistan, but our own fiscal irresponsibility."

Clive Robinson said...

Although I believe China is a threat and have been saying so for many years (including on this blog) I am alarmed at the way the US military and other vested interests are ramping it up.

My concern over China has been and will probably still remain economic, primarily the access to raw materials, secondly the way various Western Nations are "de-skilling" their population beyond recovery, thirdly the way the Chinese have bought into US industry etc.

I don't think China is even remotly interested in taking on the US militarily currently even in what it considers it's home waters. No it is more interested in turning the US into the equivalent of a needy child or worse drug addled addict. Compleatly dependant on China's manufactured goods.

Contrary to what many politicians have claimed since the Thatcher/Reagan era it is not realistic to expect a Nation to survive just on "service industries" and "information economies" without either the manufacturing or food production capabilities that act as the foundation to a self sufficient Nation.

And like a house any Nation that does not have solid foundations leaves it's self open to the vagaries of chance, in an uncertain world.