China's Military Modernization: Global Interests, But not yet Expeditionary
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
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The Peoples Republic of China has experienced massive economic growth over the last 20 years. This growth has provided it with greater resources to counter threats to its security, both internal and external. China has used part of this newfound wealth to modernize its armed forces so that they have the capabilities to counter these security threats. Unfortunately, economic growth has increased Chinas dependence on external sources of energy and resources. This external resource dependence has led to security concerns that are outside of the Peoples Liberation Armys PLA traditional focus on territorial integrity and national unity. This study examines Chinas ability to address growing external security threats by developing its capacity to conduct expeditionary operations. Specifically, the study evaluates Chinas ability to react to external threats with an expeditionary force based on five criteria Tailored Force, Rapid Deployment, Forcible Entry, Sustainment, and Prestige. Although Chinas military modernization has improved its military capabilities, a focus on internal security continues to hinder the PLAs ability to react to external threats. While marginally improving its ability to project power, most of Chinas military expenditures continue to focus on Taiwan. Persistent, steady growth will continue to increase Chinas ability to project power, but a significant lack of capabilities, coupled with slow modernization to counter external threats, will provide China with a limited ability to respond to crises on its periphery within the next decade. To conduct large, expeditionary operations to protect its overseas interests, China must maintain growth and modernization at the current level for at least 20 years.
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics