CHINA UP­GRADES FORCE PRO­JEC­TION DOC­TRINE

The Washington Times Daily - - WORLD -

Along with a large-scale nu­clear and con­ven­tional arms buildup, China is up­grad­ing its mil­i­tary doc­trine to in­clude guid­ance fo­cus­ing on rapid mil­i­tary power pro­jec­tion, ac­cord­ing to Pen­tagon in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials.

The Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army re­cently is­sued new guid­ance call­ing for the use of what is call­ing “rapid force pro­jec­tion.”

“This is in­tended to has­ten the tran­si­tion from re­gional de­fense to full area op­er­a­tions,” said one Pen­tagon of­fi­cial fa­mil­iar with re­ports of the new mil­i­tary guid­ance.

Pen­tagon in­tel­li­gence agen­cies closely mon­i­tor all Chi­nese mil­i­tary de­vel­op­ments be­cause the U.S. mil­i­tary is in­creas­ingly con­cerned it could find it­self in a con­flict in the fu­ture over Bei­jing’s grow­ing mil­i­tary ac­tiv­i­ties in the South China Sea and East China Sea. The new guid­ance was dis­cussed dur­ing an in­ter­nal meet­ing of se­nior Chi­nese mil­i­tary lead­ers last week, the of­fi­cials said.

Dis­clo­sure of the rapid force pro­jec­tion guid­ance comes as Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping an­nounced af­ter a meet­ing of mil­i­tary lead­ers that the PLA is adopt­ing ma­jor re­forms de­signed to stream­line the mil­i­tary. Mr. Xi, who chairs the Cen­tral Mil­i­tary Com­mis­sion in ad­di­tion to be­ing Com­mu­nist Party gen­eral sec­re­tary and head of state, an­nounced the scaled-down mil­i­tary struc­ture fol­low­ing a two-day con­fer­ence on mil­i­tary re­forms with 230 se­nior of­fi­cers.

China an­nounced ear­lier that it is cut­ting 300,000 troops from its 2.3 mil­lion-troop army.

The goal is to up­grade the Chi­nese mil­i­tary into a high-tech­nol­ogy mil­i­tary force ca­pa­ble of con­duct­ing joint, multi-ser­vice mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions sim­i­lar to those car­ried out for decades by the U.S. mil­i­tary.

“There have been new changes in terms of the mil­i­tary’s size, struc­ture and for­ma­tion, which fea­tures smaller-in-size, more ca­pa­blein-strength mod­uliza­tion and multi-func­tion­al­ity, with sci­en­tific fac­tors play­ing big­ger roles,” Mr. Xi said, with­out elab­o­rat­ing.

The shift from re­gional de­fense to rapid power pro­jec­tion was not a sur­prise to U.S. in­tel­li­gence agen­cies that have been mon­i­tor­ing the change for the past sev­eral years. The new Chi­nese mil­i­tary guid­ance con­tra­dicts the views of many U.S. mil­i­tary and in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials who for decades wrongly as­serted China’s mil­i­tary is fo­cused solely on po­ten­tial con­flicts close to China’s coasts, such as a clash over Tai­wan or with Ja­pan over the dis­puted Senkaku is­lands.

U.S. in­tel­li­gence agen­cies stated in Fe­bru­ary that the buildup of Chi­nese mil­i­tary forces in the South China Sea, for ex­am­ple, is aimed at de­vel­op­ing rapid power pro­jec­tion ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

New mil­i­tary bases un­der con­struc­tion in the South China Sea pro­vide Bei­jing with “sig­nif­i­cant ca­pac­ity to quickly project sub­stan­tial of­fen­sive mil­i­tary power in the re­gion,” ac­cord­ing to an in­tel­li­gence assess­ment re­leased to Se­nate Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee Chair­man John McCain.

Larry Wortzel, a for­mer U.S. mil­i­tary in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cer, said one goal of PLA re­forms has been to de­velop mil­i­tary forces that can be rapidly de­ployed around the world in ar­eas im­por­tant to Chi­nese eco­nomic in­ter­ests.

“The ra­tio­nale given by the PLA is that there al­ready are hun­dreds of Chi­nese peace­keep­ers de­ployed for the U.N., and that in two in­stances in the re­cent past, China has had to evac­u­ate civil­ians in trou­ble in un­sta­ble ar­eas,” said Mr. Wortzel, also a mem­ber of the con­gres­sional U.S.-China Eco­nomic and Se­cu­rity Re­view Com­mis­sion that ad­dressed the is­sue in its lat­est an­nual re­port.

“As we point out in our an­nual re­port to Congress, these same ca­pa­bil­i­ties can be used for other forms of ex­pe­di­tionary force pro­jec­tion mis­sions,” he said.

A Rand Corp. re­port on China’s mil­i­tary made pub­lic this week iden­ti­fies sev­eral key mil­i­tary ca­pa­bil­i­ties for China. They in­clude drones, hy­per­sonic glide ve­hi­cles, stealth jets, air­craft carriers and long-range bal­lis­tic and cruise mis­siles.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

A Rand Corp. re­port on China’s mil­i­tary made pub­lic this week iden­ti­fies key mil­i­tary ca­pa­bil­i­ties, in­clud­ing drones, hy­per­sonic glide ve­hi­cles, stealth jets, air­craft carriers and long-range bal­lis­tic and cruise mis­siles.

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