01 May 2010

Response to “Get Off the Fainting Couch,” C. Hooper and C. Albon, pp. 42-47, April 2010 Proceedings

Andrew S. Erickson, Response to “Get Off the Fainting Couch,” C. Hooper and C. Albon, pp. 42-47, April 2010 Proceedings, U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings 136.5 (May 2010): 8-12.

Andrew S. Erickson, Associate Professor, China Maritime Studies Institute, Naval War College—I welcome the authors’ forceful contribution concerning Chinese antiship ballistic missile (ASBM) development. They correctly underscore Chinese sensitivity, and vulnerability, to foreign prompt global strike systems. Respectfully, however, the following points warrant clarification:

  • Contrary to the assertion that recent research brings “very little new information to the table,” such publications offer a tremendous amount of new data, particularly through analysis of authoritative, primary Chinese sources. Science of Second Artillery Campaigns, for example, reveals considerable new information about how China would plan to employ the ASBM as a deterrent and how it might use it operationally if deterrence fails.
  • Regarding the claim that “The hand wringing has, at a minimum, confused our regional allies and legitimized China’s ASBM program,” it is not the hand wringing that has legitimized China’s ASBM program. Rather China itself has legitimized it through its well-documented processes of research, development, and testing (as reflected by public comments of Admiral Robert Willard, Scott Bray, and other U.S. officials). … …