01 October 2012

National Bureau of Asian Research to Launch “Strategic Asia 2012-13: China’s Military Challenge” on Wednesday 3 October

Strategic Asia 2012-13: China’s Military Challenge – Book Launch Event

The National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR) will hold the launch of the twelfth volume in the Strategic Asia series this Wednesday, 3 October 2012, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC.

Select contributors from Strategic Asia 2012-13: China’s Military Challenge will present research findings that assess China’s growing military capabilities, regional responses to China’s increasing military strength, and the implications for U.S. interests in the Asia-Pacific.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012


8:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m.


Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Flom Auditorium, 6th Floor
1300 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.
Washington, D.C.


Space is limited. Click here to RSVP.

Please RSVP no later than September 28.


For media inquiries, please contact Sonia Luthra, Assistant Director of Outreach at (202) 347-9767 or media@nbr.org.



9:00 a.m. – WELCOME

Remarks by:

Robert M. Hathaway
Asia Program Director, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Richard J. Ellings
President, The National Bureau of Asian Research


Ashton B. Carter
Deputy Secretary of Defense


Land Forces: Priorities and Capabilities

Roy Kamphausen
The National Bureau of Asian Research

Naval and Air Force Modernization

Andrew S. Erickson
U.S. Naval War College

Long-Range Precision Strike

Mark A. Stokes
Project 2049 Institute

Space, Cyber and Information Warfare

Kevin Pollpeter
Defense Group Inc.


Asia Responds to China’s Growing Power

Ashley J. Tellis
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Preserving U.S. Extended Deterrence

Dan Blumenthal
American Enterprise Institute


Richard J. Ellings
President, The National Bureau of Asian Research

12:00 p.m. – ADJOURN


For further information, please contact Greg Chaffin at 202-347-9767 or at psa@nbr.org.

Praise for NBR’s Strategic Asia Series

“As America bolsters its engagement with Asia there has never been a more pressing need for careful and thorough analysis of the world’s rising military power, China. The National Bureau of Asian Research has answered that call with its latest volume, building on the excellence of previous volumes. Strategic Asia 2012–13: China’s Military Challenge is absolutely essential reading for policymakers, government officials, and military officers alike who seek a greater understanding of what China’s expanding military capabilities mean for the United States and our relationships throughout the region.”
Dennis C. Blair, Former Director of National Intelligence and Former Commander, U.S. Pacific Command

“This is an especially important time in America’s security relationships in the Asia-Pacific. NBR’s Strategic Asia Program provides the vital expert insights necessary to understand new policies, new positions, and the strategic dynamic challenges emerging in the region.”
Thomas B. Fargo, Former Commander, U.S. Pacific Command, and John M. Shalikashvili Chair in National Security Studies, The National Bureau of Asian Research

“NBR’s Strategic Asia series is an unparalleled resource for the classroom, the board room, and the situation room. My staff used it at the NSC and it is serves as a core text for courses I now teach at Georgetown.”
Michael J. Green, Former Senior Director for Asian Affairs, National Security Council, and Professor, Georgetown University

“For those interested in Asia, NBR’s Strategic Asia series is invaluable in identifying and clarifying the strategic imperatives that our nation must confront in dealing with the most vibrant region of the world.”
Carla A. Hills, Chair and CEO, Hills and Company International Consultants, and Chair, National Committee on United States-China Relations

“Now well into the Asia-Pacific century, it is critical that U.S. policymakers, academics, and citizens understand the salient forces driving events in the region. For the past twelve years I have relied upon NBR’s Strategic Asia Program for clear and penetrating studies that provide me a handle on what’s going on now and what’s likely ahead. This year’s volume, Strategic Asia 2012–13: China’s Military Challenge,addresses the core issue in the region with extraordinary results, making it once more a must read for practitioners as well as analysts and students.”
Jon M. Huntsman Jr., Former U.S. Ambassador to China and Former Governor of Utah

“The balkanized American governing system needs help in grounding policy in sound strategic assessments—Strategic Asia is an essential tool in this task. The Strategic Asia series offers deliberate and precise analyses for scholars, students, and policy makers. Twenty years from now, we will look back at this moment in Asia as one that required wisdom—this series is wise.”
David M. Lampton, Professor and Director of China Studies, Johns Hopkins–School of Advanced International Studies

“At a time when the world’s attention is increasingly focused on the ramifications of China’s rapid military modernization and the implications of America’s growing strategic emphasis on East Asia, this latest volume in the insightful Strategic Asia series will be an essential reference for scholars, students, and policymakers, seeking to understand these momentous developments.”
James B. Steinberg, Dean, The Maxwell School of Syracuse University, and Former Deputy Secretary of State

“At this time of immense global change and challenge, NBR’s Strategic Asia series delivers the complex perspectives that will well serve our nation’s decision-makers. Their latest volume, Strategic Asia 2012–13: China’s Military Challenge, in particular, masters the topic upon which Asia’s future security balance pivots.”
Robert F. Willard, Former Commander, U.S. Pacific Command



Ashley J. Tellis and Travis Tanner, eds., Strategic Asia 2012-13: China’s Military Challenge (Seattle, WA: National Bureau of Asian Research, 2012).

Electronic version available since 25 September 2012

Paperback Release: 3 October 2012

Paperback edition now available for pre-order

ISBN: 978-0-9818904-3-2
Paperback: $34.95

Pre-Order Now

The Strategic Asia annual edited volume incorporates assessments of economic, political, and military trends and focuses on the strategies that drive policy in the region.

Learn more about the Strategic Asia Program.

In Strategic Asia 2012-13: China’s Military Challengeleading experts assess and forecast the impact of China’s growing military capabilities. What are China’s strategic aims? What are the challenges and opportunities facing the United States? How is the region responding to China’s military power and to the U.S. policy of “strategic rebalancing”?


Table of Contents 

Uphill Challenges: China’s Military Modernization and Asian Security
Ashley J. Tellis

China’s Land Forces: New Priorities and Capabilities 
Roy D. Kamphausen

China’s Modernization of Its Naval and Air Power Capabilities
Andrew S. Erickson

The Second Artillery Force and the Future of Long-Range Precision Strike
Mark A. Stokes

Controlling the Information Domain: Space, Cyber, and Electronic Warfare
Kevin Pollpeter

China’s Military Modernization: U.S. Allies and Partners in Northeast Asia
Christopher W. Hughes

Southeast Asia and Australia: Case Studies in Responding to China’s Military Power
Andrew Shearer

China’s Military Modernization: Responses from India
Arun Sahgal

The U.S. Response to China’s Military Modernization
Dan Blumenthal

China’s Vision of World Order
Thomas Fingar

Strategic Asia by the Numbers 2012-13



Andrew S. Erickson, “China’s Modernization of Its Naval and Air Power Capabilities,” in Ashley J. Tellis and Travis Tanner, eds., Strategic Asia 2012-13: China’s Military Challenge (Seattle, WA: National Bureau of Asian Research, 2012), 60-125.


This chapter assesses China’s modernization of its naval and air power capabilities and draws implications for U.S. interests in the Asia-Pacific.

Main Argument

At the strategic and tactical levels, China’s naval and air forces can now achieve a variety of effects unattainable a decade or two ago. Although these capabilities are concentrated on operations in the near seas close to mainland China, with layers radiating outward, the PLA is also conducting increasing, albeit nonlethal, activities farther from China’s periphery, including in the Indian Ocean. Over the next decade and beyond, China’s naval and air power forces could assume a range of postures and trajectories. At a minimum, a greater diversity of out-of-area missions will depend on strengthening and broadening anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) capabilities. While China is likely to develop and acquire the necessary hardware should it elect to expend sufficient resources, “software” will be harder to accrue.

Policy Implications

  • The PLA will continue to focus on high-end A2/AD capabilities to secure China’s maritime periphery, along with its growing but low-intensity capabilities farther abroad.
  • U.S. policymakers should seek ways to resist Chinese pressure in the near seas and cooperate with China in areas of mutual interest farther afield.
  • The U.S. must demonstrate the ability to persist amid A2/AD threats, in a manner that is convincing to China, allies, and the general public.
  • The U.S. must demonstrate a commitment to sustaining a properly resourced and continually effective presence in the Asia-Pacific. Rebalancing by redirecting resources from elsewhere will be essential and determine the success of these initiatives.


From the introduction by Ashley J. Tellis, “Uphill Challenges: China’s Military Modernization and Asian Security,” 2-24:

… Given the emphasis that China has placed on defeating the U.S. ability to reinforce its forward-operating military forces in Asia in a crisis, Andrew Erickson’s chapter on the transformation of Chinese naval and air power demonstrates that Beijing takes the threats emerging off its seaboard all too seriously. Since the most important military constraints on China today are levied by maritime and aerospace powers, it is not surprising to find China focused on integrating combat aviation (across the PLA Air Force and the PLA Navy), advanced tactical missilery (of different kinds), modern surface and subsurface combatants, and unmanned aerial vehicles—all supported by various combat support aircraft and advanced air defenses—to create a barrier that limits both its regional competitors and the United States from operating freely in its vicinity. Erickson emphasizes that although these capabilities are still uneven and subject to various limitations, they are constantly improving and now bestow on China the ability to control the air and sea spaces proximate to its mainland, with decreasing control as a function of distance from its coastline. Because China’s ability to dominate the water and air space of its near seas automatically impacts the security of key U.S. allies such as Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, the stage is set for a vigorous offense-defense contest throughout the East Asian littoral. This competition in fact threatens to expand to Southeast Asia and possibly over time to the Indian Ocean as well, depending both on how China reorients its current “reconnaissance-strike complex” and on its evolving ambitions in more distant seas. Erickson’s chapter serves as a critical reminder that naval and air power not only constitute key warfighting instruments for China but will increasingly be its principal tools of influence in an area that will witness greater competition because of Beijing’s desire for preclusive control. …


For Part 2 of a related interview, see Greg Chaffin, China’s Navy and Air Force: Advancing Capabilities and Missions—An Interview with Andrew S. Erickson,” Policy Q&A, National Bureau of Asian Research, 27 September 2012.

For Part 1 of this two-part interview, see Greg Chaffin, “Building an Active, Layered Defense: Chinese Naval and Air Force Advancement—An Interview with Andrew S. Erickson,” Policy Q&A, National Bureau of Asian Research, 10 September 2012.

Click here for information on the 3 October Strategic Asia 2012–13 volume rollout and how to obtain a copy.