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Implications of the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) on China's Military Modernization

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This report documents the results as of the above date of a research project carried out by the author while at the National War College during the academic year 1998-1999. It is an assessment of the future military threat posed by the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army PLA to the US and its allies in the Pacific. In addition to examining the traditional dimensions of military capability, this report specifically addresses the implications of the Revolution in Military Affairs RMA on this assessment. The following points pertain to the scope and approach of this report. This report is intended to inform the debate over whether China poses a strategic threat to the US and its allies in the Asia-Pacific region. That is whether and in what ways Chinas military future military capability might alter the balance of power in that region. It does not address whether China intends to alter the balance of power or the likelihood of a conflict involving the US and China. This report addresses only conventional military capability Nuclear, chemical, and biological warfare capability are not addressed. The report also does not address the possible use by China of asymmetric strategies such as sponsoring terrorism or broad based use of information warfare against the US or its allies. This limitation is partly due to time constraints and a complete assessment needs to address these topics However this limitation also reflects the authors perception that these other dimensions of military capability have strategic significance for a great power only in conjunction with conventional forces. The report is based on unclassified sources. A possible classified annex is planned. The time frame of the assessment is the next ten-to-twenty years. Chapter IV, which addressed the RMA and its implications, is based on a combination of published and unpublished work and the authors analysis. The remainder of the report is based on published work.

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  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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