18 October 2014

“Not an Idea We Have to Shun”: Chinese Overseas Basing Requirements in the 21st Century

NDU’s China Center has done it again! This is the very model of taking a controversial emerging topic of great importance and analyzing it systematically to yield insights that are innovative yet completely reasonable. We need less sloganeering and recycling of platitudes, and more research like this!

Christopher D. Yung and Ross Rustici with Scott Devary and Jenny Lin, “Not an Idea We Have to Shun”: Chinese Overseas Basing Requirements in the 21st Century, National Defense University Institute for National Security Studies China Strategic Perspective 7 (October 2014).

NDU’s Institute for National Strategic Studies Center for the Study of Chinese Military Affairs (CSCMA) has released China Strategic Perspectives 7, the most recent in its series of occasional papers. The October 2014 issue, “Not an Idea We Have to Shun”: Chinese Overseas Basing Requirements in the 21st Century, addresses China’s expanding international economic interests, which are likely to generate increasing demands for the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) to operate out of area to protect Chinese citizens, investments, and sea lines of communication. The frequency, intensity, type, and location of such operations will determine the associated logistics support requirements, with distance from China, size and duration, and combat intensity being especially important drivers.

The publication is available free online.

Authors Christopher D. Yung and Ross Rustici, with Scott Devary and Jenny Lin, ask how the PLAN will employ overseas bases and facilities to support these expanding operational requirements and offer an assessment based on Chinese writings, comments by Chinese military officers and analysts, observations of PLAN operational patterns, analysis of the overseas military logistics models other countries have employed, and interviews with military logisticians.

The mission of the Center is to serve as a national focal point and resource center for multidisciplinary research and analytic exchanges on the national goals and strategic posture of the People’s Republic of China and the ability of that nation to develop, field, and deploy an effective military instrument in support of its national strategic objectives. The Center keeps officials in the Department of Defense, other government agencies, and the Congress apprised of the results of these efforts. The Center also engages the faculty and students of the National Defense University and other components of the Department of Defense Professional Military Education (PME) system in aspects of its work and thereby assists their respective programs of teaching, training, and research. The Center also has an active outreach program designed to promote exchanges among American and international analysts of Chinese military affairs.

For full text of two of the publications cited here, see:

Andrew S. Erickson and Gabriel B. Collins, “China’s Oil Security Pipe Dream: The Reality, and Strategic Consequences, of Seaborne Imports,” Naval War College Review 63.2 (Spring 2010): 88-111.

Andrew S. Erickson and Austin M. Strange, No Substitute for Experience: Chinese Anti-Piracy Operations in the Gulf of Aden, Naval War College CMSI China Maritime Study 10 (November 2013).