06 November 2017

Ronald O’Rourke’s Latest Congressional Research Service (CRS) Report: “China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities—Background and Issues for Congress”

Ronald O’Rourke, China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities—Background and Issues for Congress, RL33153 (Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, 1 December 2017).

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Summary

China since the early to mid-1990s has been steadily building a modern and powerful navy. China’s navy in recent years has emerged as a formidable military force within China’s near-seas region, and it is conducting a growing number of operations in more-distant waters, including the broader waters of the Western Pacific, the Indian Ocean, and waters around Europe. The question of how the United States should respond to China’s military modernization effort, including its naval modernization effort, is a key issue in U.S. defense planning.

Observers of Chinese and U.S. military forces view China’s improving naval capabilities as posing a challenge in the Western Pacific to the U.S. Navy’s ability to achieve and maintain control of blue-water ocean areas in wartime—the first such challenge the U.S. Navy has faced since the end of the Cold War. More broadly, these observers view China’s naval capabilities as a key element of a broader Chinese military challenge to the long-standing status of the United States as the leading military power in the Western Pacific.

China’s naval modernization effort encompasses a wide array of platform and weapon acquisition programs, including anti-ship ballistic missiles (ASBMs), anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCMs), submarines, surface ships, aircraft, and supporting C4ISR (command and control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance) systems. China’s naval modernization effort also includes improvements in maintenance and logistics, doctrine, personnel quality, education and training, and exercises.

Observers believe China’s naval modernization effort is oriented toward developing capabilities for doing the following: addressing the situation with Taiwan militarily, if need be; asserting or defending China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea and East China Sea; enforcing China’s view that it has the right to regulate foreign military activities in its 200-mile maritime exclusive economic zone (EEZ); defending China’s commercial sea lines of communication (SLOCs); displacing U.S. influence in the Western Pacific; and asserting China’s status as a leading regional power and major world power.

Consistent with these goals, observers believe China wants its military to be capable of acting as an anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) force—a force that can deter U.S. intervention in a conflict in China’s near-seas region over Taiwan or some other issue, or failing that, delay the arrival or reduce the effectiveness of intervening U.S. forces. Additional missions for China’s navy include conducting maritime security (including anti-piracy) operations, evacuating Chinese nationals from foreign countries when necessary, and conducting humanitarian assistance/disaster response (HA/DR) operations.

Potential oversight issues for Congress include the following:

  • whether the U.S. Navy in coming years will be large enough and capable enough to adequately counter improved Chinese maritime A2/AD forces while also adequately performing other missions around the world;
  • whether the Navy’s plans for developing and procuring long-range carrier-based aircraft and long-range ship-and aircraft-launched weapons are appropriate;
  • whether the Navy can effectively counter Chinese ASBMs and submarines; and
  • whether the Navy, in response to China’s maritime A2/AD capabilities, should shift over time to a more distributed fleet architecture.

 

The following Japanese translation was performed by Dr. Hirota Megumi, Naval Ship Magnetic and UEP Research Committee, and is published here with the translator’s permission.

「中国海軍の近代化:米海軍戦力への影響」ロナルド・オルーク氏による最新の議会あて調査報告-経緯と議会あて発行

2017年8月29日午後02:00投稿 PDT

ピーターダットン、ライアンマティソンがこの最近発行されたレポートを引用した。

ロナルド・オルーク「中国海軍の近代化:米海軍戦力への影響」-経緯と議会あて発行,

RL33153 (ワシントンDC、議会調査サービス、2017年8月18日)

要約

中国は近代的かつ地域的には強力な海軍を、同国の近海領域で作戦行動をする能力を限定的ではあるが向上させようとしている。米国が中国の海軍を含めた軍近代化についてどう対応すべきかは、米国が防衛計画を策定する際の要である。

中国と米国の軍事力を観測する者は、中国海軍の能力向上は、西太平洋において米国海軍が戦時に航行の自由を達成し維持することに対し妨げとなる可能性があると考えている。冷戦の終結時に米海軍が初めて直面したものである。さらに広域に目を広げれば、彼ら観測者は中国の海軍力が、米国が長期にわたり西太平洋を制する軍事力であることに対する軍事的挑戦となると考えている。

中国海軍の近代化が広範な武器と運搬手段の集積に及び、対船弾道弾、対船巡行誘導弾、潜水艦、水上艦、航空機、指揮通信情報探索システムに及ぶ。中国の海軍近代化は維持管理、補給、教範、要員の練度向上、教育訓練及び演習にも及ぶ。

観測者は中国海軍の近代化は台湾に軍事的に関与し、必要とあれば、南シナ海及び東シナ海の中国が領土と主張している領域を防衛し、200海里の排他的経済水域で外国軍の活動を規制する権利があるとの中国の見解を強化し、中国の通商水域を防衛し、米国の西太平洋における影響にとって代わり、中国の地位を地域的な指導的存在かつ世界の主要な存在としようとしていると考えている。この目標と一致して観測者は中国がその軍事力を領域を不可侵とする軍事力としたいと望んでいる。即ち、中国の近海領域の台湾あるいは他の部分での紛争に米国の介入を思いとどまらせるか、到着を遅らせるか介入の有効性を削減するかの軍事力としたいと望んでいる。中国海軍の他の行動として、海賊対処を含む海上保安活動、もし必要とあれば外国からの中国人の退避行動、人道的支援、災害派遣が含まれる。

議会のこの件に関する見解は次の内容を含む可能性がある。

・中国の改善された海洋排他的軍事力に、近年の米海軍が世界中に展開した他の行動を適切にこなしながら対抗するに足るだけの規模があるか。

・米海軍の艦載機、艦船搭載武器、航空機搭載武器の長期的調達計画は適切か。

・米海軍は中国の対船弾道弾及び潜水艦に有効に対処できるか。

・米海軍は中国の海洋排他能力に対抗して、より分散した艦隊配置としなくてはならないか。

 

Click below for the full text of publications selected publications cited in O’Rourke’s latest CRS report:

Andrew S. Erickson, “Steaming Ahead, Course Uncertain: China’s Military Shipbuilding Industry,” The National Interest, 19 May 2016.

Andrew S. Erickson, “China’s Naval Shipbuilding Sets Sail,” The National Interest, 8 February 2017.

Andrew S. Erickson, “How Good Are They? The Latest Insights Into China’s Military Tech,” War on the Rocks, 18 May 2016.

Andrew S. Erickson, “Clear Strengths, Fuzzy Weaknesses In China’s Massive Military Build-Up,” China Real Time Report (中国实时报), Wall Street Journal, 9 May 2015.

Andrew S. Erickson, “Showtime: China Reveals Two ‘Carrier-Killer’ Missiles,” The National Interest, 3 September 2015.

Andrew S. Erickson, “Raining Down: Assessing the Emergent ASBM Threat,” Jane’s Navy International, 16 March 2016.

Andrew S. Erickson and Gabriel B. Collins, “The Calm Before the Storm: China’s About to Find Out How Hard it is to Run an Aircraft Carrier,” Foreign Policy, 26 September 2012.

Gabe Collins and Andrew Erickson, “The ‘Flying Shark’ Prepares to Roam the Seas: Strategic Pros and Cons of China’s Aircraft Carrier Program,” China SignPost™ (洞察中国) 35 (18 May 2011).

Andrew S. Erickson, Abraham M. Denmark, and Gabriel Collins, “Beijing’s ‘Starter Carrier’ and Future Steps: Alternatives and Implications,” Naval War College Review 65.1 (Winter 2012): 14-54.

Andrew S. Erickson, “Satellites Support Growing PLA Maritime Monitoring and Targeting Capabilities,” Jamestown China Brief 11.3 (10 February 2011): 13-19.

Andrew S. Erickson, “Eyes in the Sky,” U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings 136.4 (April 2010): 36-41.

Andrew S. Erickson and Capt. Christopher P. Carlson, USNR (Ret.), “Sustained Support: the PLAN Evolves its Expeditionary Logistics Strategy,” Jane’s Navy International, 9 March 2016.