China's last major war experience gave it virtually zero lessons to apply to future armed conflict. At some point the People's Liberation Army (PLA) will need to test its new capabilities and the training it has honed over time. There are at least three reasons why Vietnam is likely in the PLA's crosshairs.
China's military has an impressive high-tech arsenal, but its ability to use these weapons and equipment remains unclear. The one asset that the People's Liberation Army lacks is combat experience. But there is no consensus—either within Chinese military circles or among foreign analysts—on how much that matters.
The U.S. military generally believes it has little to learn from its allies. But during World War I, the more open the Americans were to their allies’ wisdom, the better they fought and the less they suffered.
The U.S. defense community can and should do what it can to get the most benefit from operating across domains. It just needs to remember to proceed carefully to discern between actual benefits and falsehoods that may do more harm than good.
United States presidential administrations from Clinton to Trump have championed different approaches to military and defense policy. The verbiage of the National Defense Strategy, however, remains relatively the same and the numbers reflect more incremental rather than monumental shifts.
Xi Jinping has emerged from the 19th Party Congress stronger than at least his past two predecessors. He solidified his grip on power and revealed significant changes to the Central Military Commission, which oversees the People's Liberation Army.
The People's Liberation Army has a lot at stake in China's Communist Party Congress. In addition to changes in military leadership, reports issued at a Party Congress invariably contain directives to the military that can add impetus to ongoing initiatives.
Recent bomber flights near Taiwan represent the most concerted training regimen yet aimed at improving Chinese airpower. China seeks to enhance the PLA Air Force's capabilities and signal Beijing's will to defend its territorial claims against the U.S. and its regional allies and partners, especially Taiwan and Japan.
China is investing heavily in its military modernization program as it aims to extend its power in the region as well as globally. How will China's growing ability to project power affect U.S. regional goals?
Grand strategy, acquisitions, and technological considerations may shape the debate about the future of the U.S. military for some time to come. Only where all three elements align are future offsets likely to succeed.
The Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx) aims to find new sources of advanced technology to give America an edge over potential foes. DIUx is evidence of another form of innovation: organizing in new ways to capture new ideas.
China's People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) has made great strides in recent years to transform its pilot training program. PLAAF leaders understand many of the institutional and cultural weaknesses that impede effectiveness and are taking measures to address them.
The prevailing view among Western observers is that Chinese fighter pilots lack the tactical mindset to engage and prevail in a dynamic, unscripted combat environment. But the PLAAF appears to have undertaken major reform in how it trains its pilots.
As long as political will for military measures to contain and deter Russian aggression remains limited, sustaining sanctions against Russia remains the only option to deal with a nation that is determined to revise the post-Cold War political and economic settlement in Europe in its favor.
The newest round of reforms to the People's Liberation Army (PLA) is expected to improve the military's efficiency, warfighting capability, and political loyalty, but entrenched interests within the PLA could lead to reluctance within the military to adjust to new realities.
Xi Jinping's reforms could result in a leaner, more combat-effective PLA that presents a more potent challenge to China's neighbors and to U.S. interests. But even successful reforms will not guarantee victory on the battlefield, and any hypothetical conflict involving the U.S. would carry tremendous risks.
China's military has undeniably made tremendous strides in recent years. You Ji's book provides a collection of interesting and often perceptive observations on political and intellectual aspects of a rapidly modernizing People's Liberation Army.
Xi Jinping is relying on an unprecedented anti-corruption campaign, echoing Mao Zedong's dictum that “the party commands the gun,” and implementing a sweeping reorganization of the PLA to ensure his personal dominance over the military and to strengthen its ability to deter or win future wars.
Reforms within the Chinese People's Liberation Army are in the process of delivering sweeping changes to its day-to-day operations, despite concerns held by some military members. Whether or not the overall implementation is successful as envisioned, assessing the operational implications of the reforms will require more time.
The PLA Navy is expanding its capabilities and operations to reduce vulnerabilities in China’s near seas, but also to aggressively support its expanding global ambitions and challenge U.S. leadership in Asia.
Although the People's Liberation Army has made impressive progress over the past 20 years, it still suffers from a number of potentially serious problems. Understanding its weaknesses — particularly what PLA officers themselves see as the most important shortcomings — is just as critical as studying its strengths.
China's challenge in defining the security role it will play in the region and the world in the coming years is to harmonize its own view of its security intentions with that of the outside world, writes Michael Lostumbo.