This excellent report has been professionally converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction. This volume builds on previous volumes and identifies potential trajectories for PLA force modernization and mission focus, and how these potential changes could impact external actors. This volume is of special relevance today in light of the profound changes occurring within the PLA. We have seen first-hand the rapid expansion of the size and capability of the PLA as it pursues a long-term, comprehensive military modernization program in support of China’s more assertive regional strategy. China’s desire to develop a military commensurate with its diverse interests and economic power is both legitimate and understandable. However, China’s coercive approach to security is problematic and of increasing concern to the region. The challenge for USPACOM, and the reason why this volume is timely and important, is to understand how China will employ this growing military capability in support of its interests.
This volume and the conference that preceded it are deeply indebted to Mr. Lonnie Henley for crafting the conference precis that was provided to authors in the research and writing stage. The precis is essential reading for understanding the background of this effort and for the common frame of reference it provided to chapter authors, and has been included in Chapter 2 in this volume.
After considering these factors, Henley concludes that three potential futures for the PLA might be usefully explored. The first future is of a PLA that is regionally focused. The second future sees the PLA as having global expeditionary capabilities. The final future is of a PLA that is significantly weakened in reach and scope. Henley states the many permutations that could exist, but argues that these futures cover sufficient breadth to be useful to chapter authors. It is important to note that Phillip Saunders provided a very helpful set of assumptions about the future which participants urged be included in the precis, to which Henley readily agreed. The remainder of the volume is dedicated to “looking over the horizon” at these alternative futures for the Chinese military in 2025. Chapters 3 to 5 examine the various and likely domestic, external, and technological drivers of China’s military modernization. Chapters 6 to 8 discuss the potential alternative futures that could result from the interaction of the aforementioned drivers — a regionally focused PLA, a global expeditionary PLA, and a weakened PLA. Chapters 9 to 11 explore the implications of these alternative vectors of PLA modernization for East Asian regional dynamics, U.S.-China relations, and the global system.
Foreword * Overview * 1. Introduction * Roy Kamphausen and R. Lincoln Hines * 2. Whither China? Alternative Military Futures, 2020-30 * Lonnie D. Henley * Domestic, External, and Technological Drivers of People’s Liberation Army Modernization * 3. Domestic Drivers of China’s Future Military Modernization * Joseph Fewsmith * 4. People’s Liberation Army Trajectories: International Drivers * Eric Heginbotham and Jacob Heim * 5. Capacity For Innovation: Technological Drivers of China’s Future Military Modernization * Richard A. Bitzinger and Michael Raska * Alternative Futures for the People’s Liberation Army * 6. The People’s Liberation Army in 2020-30 Focused on Regional Issues * Bernard D. Cole * 7. A Global Expeditionary People’s Liberation Army: 2025-30 * Oriana Skylar Mastro * 8. China’s Military Force Posture Under Conditions of a Weakened People’s Liberation Army: Alternative Military Futures, 2020-30 * Daniel Gearin and Erin Richter * Implications for the Region, World, and U.S.-China Relations * 9. Regional Dynamics in Response to Alternative PLA Development Vectors * Michael McDevitt * 10. Implications: China in the International System * Phillip C. Saunders * 11. Implications for U.S.-China Strategic Dynamics * Robert Sutter
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