Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Birth of Chinese A2/AD

The military professional must be a student of history - he must be an agenda-free, objective consumer of current events, recent history, varied opinion, and clear-eyed analysis of past and present military operations.

The bureaucrat and fonctionnaire concern themselves with POM cycles and influence (both very important mind you - but not the place for strategic thinkers), but the path to winning tomorrow's conflict lies elsewhere.

In everyone's "Top-5" concerns with China's growing military capabilities, you will find the topic of Anti-Access/Area-Denial (A2/AD) strategy - with good reason.

For the US to create effects in WESTPAC - we will rely on sea power to do the heavy lifting both logistically and militarily. The further we can be pushed back from shore, the more the Chinese can play to their advantage - land power and near-shore operations.

Harry Kazianis at The Diplomat has the start of what looks like an ongoing series on Chinese A2/AD and I like the way he is setting the foundation of the subject - why?
China’s version of A2/AD was born from a complex but fascinating web of history, a revolutionary change in how wars are fought, and recent events that caused Chinese military planners to think outside of the box. What resulted is a powerful asymmetric strategy that will have U.S. military planners scratching their heads for years to come.
But a good place to start in understanding China’s A2/AD doctrine is in the mid-1980s. Chinese planners began to shift away from planning for a war with the Soviet Union, and began gradually to think about ways to modernize their armed forces and incorporate new technologies and fighting doctrine.

And there’s no better way to learn than by example. The rapid defeat of Iraqi forces during the 1991 Gulf War served as a shock to Chinese planners. The revolution of military affairs had arrived. Not only was some of the military equipment the Iraqis operated purchased from China, but the scope of the defeat seemed to catch the Chinese planners somewhat off guard. As one scholar noted: “The revolution in air-delivered weapons dramatized by the United States in the 1991 Gulf War shattered Beijing’s complacency. Time was no longer an ally. The danger ahead was total, perhaps permanent, obsolescence with the result that China’s air defenses couldn’t prevent surprise attacks deep into the nation’s heartland.”
Chinese planners would go into overdrive in response. In 1993, then-President Jiang Zemin ordered Chinese military planners to focus on preparing to wage “local wars under high technology conditions.”
There are obviously other events, recent or otherwise, that Chinese planners looked at when crafting A2/AD. The wars in Bosnia, Kosovo and the 1995-1996 Taiwan Strait crisis, as well as the 2001 Hainan Island incident, were all major factors for China when considering the development of its military strategy.
Learning institutions ....

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