China Doubles Down on South China Sea Sovereignty, Warns Against ‘Risky and Provocative’ U.S. Freedom of Navigation Missions

USNI News – Chinese officials again affirmed territorial sovereignty for a series of newly created artificial islands in the South China Sea and warned the U.S. against taking “risky and provocative action” by attempting to come within 12 nautical miles of the islands.

The U.S.-China Military Scorecard: Forces, Geography, and the Evolving Balance of Power, 1996-2017

RAND – his RAND study analyzes the development of respective Chinese and U.S. Military capabilities in ten categories of military operations across two scenarios, one centered on Taiwan and one on the Spratly Islands. The analysis is presented in ten scorecards that assess military capabilities as they have evolved over four snapshot years: 1996, 2003, 2010, and 2017. The results show that China is not close to catching up to the United States in terms of aggregate capabilities, but also that it does not need to catch up to challenge the United States on its immediate periphery. Furthermore, although China’s ability to project power to more distant locations remains limited, its reach is growing, and in the future U.S. military dominance is likely to be challenged at greater distances from China’s coast. To maintain robust defense and deterrence capabilities in an era of fiscal constraints, the United States will need to ensure that its own operational concepts, procurement, and diplomacy anticipate future developments in Chinese military capabilities.

Directing China’s Little Blue Men: Uncovering the Maritime Militia Command Structure

Asia Maritime Transparency Institute – While Russia has employed “Little Green Men” surreptitiously in Crimea, China uses its own “Little Blue Men” to support Near Seas claims. As the U.S. military operates near Beijing’s artificially-built South China Sea (SCS) features and seeks to prevent Beijing from ejecting foreign claimants from places like Second Thomas Shoal, it may well face surveillance and harassment from China’s maritime militia. Washington and its allies and partners must therefore understand how these irregular forces are commanded and controlled, before they are surprised and stymied by them.

The Rise of China’s Navy

USNI News – This week, the Wall Street Journal and several other news outlets reported that a small Chinese naval flotilla was operating off the Alaskan coast in the Bering Sea. Some reports have indicated that the flotilla includes three frigate/destroyer platforms, an oiler and an amphib. Although their impromptu visit coincides with President Obama’s trip to Alaska, the timing and presence of the Chinese navy in the Bering has raised a lot of questions.

China Reveals Two New Anti-Ship Ballistic Missiles

War is Boring – Beijing 2015 V-Day parade addressed multiple audiences. Among them, clearly — the U.S. Navy, the U.S. military writ large and their regional allied and partner counterparts. After years of foreign speculation and surprising skepticism about an anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM), China has for the first time officially revealed two variants: the DF-21D and DF-26.

Showtime: China Reveals Two ‘Carrier-Killer’ Missiles

National Interest – Yesterday’s Beijing V-Day parade addressed multiple audiences. Among them, clearly—the U.S. Navy, the U.S. military writ large and their regional allied and partner counterparts. After years of foreign speculation and surprising skepticism about an anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM), China has for the first time officially revealed two variants: the DF-21D and DF-26.

Missile March: China Parade Projects Patriotism at Home, Aims for Awe Abroad

Wall Street Journal – The greatest military parade in Chinese history sent strong messages to multiple audiences Thursday. Chinese viewers were informed that under the Chinese Communist Party’s irreplaceable leadership, their nation repelled Japanese invasion, has reunified—largely, and is now rightfully reclaiming “great power” status. But amid political pomp and circumstance and patriotic pride as citizens rallied round the red flag was a core external military function: deterring potential foreign adversaries who might otherwise interfere with Beijing’s completion of the latter two missions.

Is China’s “Carrier-Killer” Really a Threat to the U.S. Navy?

National Interest – It seems tomorrow will be a big day for China-military watchers around the world: the mighty DF-21D, or “carrier-killer” anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) will likely be one of the features of Beijing’s end of World War II celebrations. But how much should America or anyone else in Asia fear this supposed killer of carriers?

Russian Arms Sales Give China a Better Chance in Competing with U.S. Ships

USNI News – “Improved maritime strike capability has given Chinese warships a much greater chance of competing against their U.S. counterparts” and improved naval air defenses allow its warships “the ability to operate at increasingly great distances from shore”—major advances in large part speeded by arms, vessels and technology sales from Russia since the end of the Cold War. Those were two observations contained in a new report from the Washington, D.C.-based think tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Sweeping Change in China’s Military: Xi’s PLA Restructuring

Wall Street Journal – Long after the soldiers and crowds disperse, however, China stands to experience far more lasting impact from a move that may be announced following the pomp and circumstance: major military reforms. Propelled by Xi’s vigorous efforts to realize his dream of a strong country with a strong military, reform plans long underway are finally surfacing. Now reportedly afoot: a sweeping transformation of China’s military, with tremendous implications for its strategy and operations.

The Type 054/054A Frigate Series: China’s Most Produced and Deployed Large Modern Surface Combatant

China Sign Post – This report discusses the evolution of the Type 054/054A frigates (FFGs) by examining their roles and missions, research, development, and acquisition, and design process to include foreign assistance that Chinese shipbuilders received on various systems, components, and weapons. We also discuss procurement practices and provide a cost model for the ship, as well as examine implications for future development.