China Maritime Report No. 22: Logistics Support for a Cross-Strait Invasion: The View from Beijing

China Maritime Studies Institute – The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) believes that logistics support is one of the key determinants of a successful large-scale invasion of Taiwan. Logistics support includes transport, materiel and oil supply, medical care, search and rescue, logistics infrastructure protection, and maintenance of war materiel reserves. Despite the recognized importance of logistics support, it is likely the PLA does not currently possess the requisite logistics capabilities to successfully support a large-scale amphibious landing on Taiwan and a possible protracted conflict involving the United States and allies. Key deficits include a lack of amphibious ships (both military and civilian), transport aircraft, and war reserves. The PLA also continues to face difficulties with landing the requisite logistics supplies during the critical beach assault phase, constructing maritime transfer platforms or temporary wharves to sustain resupply if intact ports are not rapidly captured, establishing a landing base for logistics operations, maintaining the flow of logistics during on-island combat, and establishing strategic war reserves to support the large-scale operation and possibly prolonged conflict. These problem areas might be resolved with several years of sustained effort and complex training.