08 August 2011

2 CMSI Volumes Praised by Gregory R. Copley in Defense & Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy

Gregory R. Copley, Focus on PLA(N),” Essential Reading: Important New Strategic Literature, Defense & Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy 4 (2011): 16.

To US policy analysts who want to move beyond the immediate wars, the focus has to be on the People’s Republic of China (PRC), now unequivocally the “main target” for US strategic preoccupation and study. PRC air and naval power — as well as its economic growth — are of prime concern.

Little wonder: Xia Ping, head of the Personnel Department of the People’s Liberation Army (Navy), told a military conference in Beijing on May 9, 2011, that the PLA(N) would be recruiting more than 2,000 PhDs in the next five years.

This statement, coming in the wake of earlier reports of plans to increase recruitment of technology-savvy cadres and officers into the PLA(N), has given rise to speculation that in addition to inducting an aircraft-carrier, the PLA(N) has embarked on a plan to expand its surface fleet to give it a greater power projection capability.

The US Naval Institute Press has, along with the China Maritime Studies Institute at the US Naval War College, published key studies on PRC maritime developments. Their July 2009 study, China Goes to Sea, was seminal. The new book by the two institutes, China, the United States and 21st Century Sea Power: Defining a Maritime Security Partnership, takes understanding of the PRC’s maritime ambitions to the next level.

What the book highlights is the profound difference between the way US maritime analysts view the PRC today, and the way they viewed the “main target”, the USSR, during the Cold War. This is a book about finding common ground between US and PRC maritime ambitions. …

For the book reviewed, see Andrew S. Erickson, Lyle J. Goldstein, and Nan Li, eds., China, the United States, and 21st Century Sea Power: Defining a Maritime Security Partnership (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2010).

For the first book mentioned, see Andrew S. Erickson, Lyle J. Goldstein, and Carnes Lord, eds., China Goes to Sea: Maritime Transformation in Comparative Historical Perspective (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, July 2009).