Pentagon Report Aims to Lay Out Chinese Military Goals

Wall Street Journal – On Friday, the Pentagon released its 15th annual report to Congress on Chinese military and security development, its last under the Obama administration. “Despite China’s opacity…this report documents the kind of military that China is building,” Abraham Denmark, deputy assistant secretary of defense for East Asia, explained at the media rollout event. “We hope it contributes to the public’s understanding of the PLA.” Indeed it does. China characteristically dismissed the report, without seeking to disprove any of its assertions. As Mr. Denmark stressed, the Pentagon publication “lets the facts speak for themselves.” He highlighted three key areas of emphasis: military maritime activities, power projection and reforms.

What Lessons Do China’s Island Bases Offer The US Army?

Breaking Defense – If ground forces are obsolete, why are the Chinese bothering to build all those artificial islands in the South China Sea? The answer to that is key to the US Army’s emerging vision of its future role, a complex combination of old-fashioned close combat, resilient wireless networks, and advanced long-range weapons that extend the Army’s reach well beyond the land. China is “building land… to project power outward from land into the maritime and aerospace domains,” the Army’s chief futurist, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, argued yesterday at the Center for Strategic & International Studies. Much like the Japanese in World War II, he said, the Chinese see island bases as a means to dominate the seas and airspace around them, allowing them to sink ships and down aircraft. The Chinese strategy has only become more effective in the modern era with the proliferation of long-range precision-guided missiles.

China Still Invited to RIMPAC 2016 Despite South China Sea Tension

USNI News – The United States has not revoked its invitation to China to participate in this year’s Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise despite increasingly aggressive behavior towards its neighbors in the South China Sea because the U.S. hopes China may still participate in a “system of cooperative nations,” Defense Secretary Ash Carter said April 15 aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74).

China Outlines Plan for Military Buildup on Disputed Island

Washington Free Beacon – China’s plan for a new military buildup on a disputed island near the Philippines shows the future deployment of Chinese warships close to where U.S. naval forces will be stationed in the future. Details of the militarization plan for Scarborough Shoal in the Spratly Islands were obtained by U.S. intelligence agencies over the last several months, according to defense officials.

What makes just 16 missiles such a deadly threat in the South China Sea

Reuters – James Holmes writes that “In a move that should surprise precisely no one, China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has positioned surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) on one of its South China Sea islands — namely Woody Island, home to Sansha, the administrative capital for the islands, atolls, and other geographic features Beijing claims in the Paracels and Spratlys. For Beijing this move makes eminent sense on many levels: it constitutes yet another reply to American and Southeast Asian challenges to its claims of “indisputable sovereignty” over most of the South China Sea.”

Beijing plans S. China Sea buildup after US warship makes second pass near island

Asia Times – China toned down vitriolic rhetoric in response to the recent passage of a US warship near a disputed island in the South China Sea…But the restraint may come with a cost: China is now showing signs that the two warship visits are likely to speed up plans to militarize the South China Sea islands.

Powers Jockey for Pacific Island Chain Influence

Defense News – The extensive chains of Pacific islands ringing China have been described as a wall, a barrier to be breached by an attacker or strengthened by a defender. They are seen as springboards, potential bases for operations to attack or invade others in the region. In a territorial sense, they are benchmarks marking the extent of a country’s influence.

This Is China’s Master Plan to Destroy the U.S. Navy in Battle

National Interest – When Chinese officers go to bed at night, what do they fear most? Despite all the hard work, all the billions of dollars spent, no Chinese sailor wants to tangle with the U.S. Navy. As one retired Chinese senior defense official told me in late 2014: “The 3 A.M. crisis ‘call’ I feared the most is that we were at war with your navy.”

Can China Copy the U.S. Marine Corps?

National Interest – Much has been reported about the recent structural reforms undertaken by China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA)—the end goal being a leaner and meaner military force, capable of undertaking a broad spectrum of missions under modern, high-tech conditions. Part of this drive towards a “new-age” PLA has been efforts to modernize the PLA Marine Corps (PLAMC).

China on ‘High Alert’ to Prevent Japan from Entering South China Sea Disputes

USNI News – Chinese officials claim to be on “ high alert against Japan’s attempt to poke its nose in the issue of the South China Sea,” following an interview published Sunday in which Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for the international community to “raise its voice” against Chinese encroachment.