21 August 2010

The Revolution in Military Affairs with Chinese Characteristics

Jacqueline Newmyer, “The Revolution in Military Affairs with Chinese Characteristics,” Journal of Strategic Studies, Vol. 33, No. 4 (August 2010), pp. 483-504.

ABSTRACT Chinese strategists believe the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) offers a ‘historic opportunity’ to alter the military balance with the United States. Having long downplayed the People’s Liberation Army (PLA)’s capabilities and aims, China is now publicizing its capacity to inflict damage while cultivating uncertainty about its precise intentions to induce caution in adversaries. Key dimensions of China’s RMA include complementary kinetic and information attacks and the substitution of ‘information deterrence’ for nuclear deterrence. Contrary to earlier analyses focused on a decisive surprise strike, current journal articles emphasize the need for ‘serialized’ information and kinetic attacks. Chinese strategists may err in three ways, however: They may underestimate US resilience; they may overestimate the PLA’s ability to conduct ‘warfare engineering’; and China’s peacetime preparations for the RMA may incite an unexpected response.

KEY WORDS: China, People’s Liberation Army, Military Modernization, Revolution in Military Affairs

This article cites Andrew S. Erickson and David Yang, “On the Verge of a Game-Changer,” U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, Vol. 135, No. 3 (May 2009), pp. 26-32.