Don’t get me wrong: Just as the overhyping of the Soviet menace didn’t mean there was no threat at all from the Red Army, the emptiness of any Chinese aircraft carrier threat in the near term doesn’t mean there is nothing to worry about in the current Chinese military buildup.
Rather, as we wrestle with defense planning, we should focus less on fictional capabilities that will likely never match our strengths and more on the real, near-term capabilities the Chinese are building to defeat these strengths from other angles. Their computer hackers have reportedly obtained access to vital military and civil communications networks, as well as the designs of our latest jet fighters. Their submarines have snuck past the defenses of our aircraft carriers and surfaced, a little showoff of how they could have sunk them at will. Their army is presently obtaining anti-ship ballistic missiles able to target a warship 1,500 miles away, far past the range of the planes from our aircraft carriers.
In short, the military dynamic in the Pacific is changing. But it is not because the Chinese may one day gain a small number of their own, far-worse aircraft carriers. It is what they are planning to do to overcome our own aircraft carriers and other traditional strengths.
Never underestimate the Chinese --- and make sure you are prepared for the enemy you actually have.
The Soviet military menace I read about as a youth turned out not to be all that strong. Indeed, it was a good thing they invested so much in exactly what the report warned; it proved to be wasted energy that eventually ran their very economy into the ground. One hopes that we will think the same way eventually about a wasted Chinese investment in military capabilities like our own, rather our own investments to stop it, by looking in the wrong direction.
Me? I would look at realistic evaluation of our Light Weight Torpedoes in both function and quantity, and what it takes to realistically sustain long dwell ASW in depth in the littoral ..... and the ability to defend against a persistant ASUW attacks from both ASCM and ASBM. Carrier vs. Carrier ... not so much.