PAF News Archive

  • Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy soldiers patrol in the Spratly Islands, February 9, 2016, photo by China Stringer Network/Reuters

    Vietnam Is the Chinese Military's Preferred Warm-Up Fight

    May 15, 2019

    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.

  • Russia's Tu-160 bomber at the military air base Libertador in Palo Negro, Venezuela, September 11, 2008

    In Venezuela, a Potential U.S.-Russian Crisis?

    Jan 8, 2019

    In December, two supersonic nuclear-capable Russian bombers visited Venezuela, the third such excursion for the warplanes since 2008. Might Moscow intend to pose a threat, perhaps even nuclear, to the Western Hemisphere? If so, how could Washington respond?

  • Harold Brown, 14th U.S. Secretary of Defense

    Harold Brown, Former U.S. Defense Secretary and Secretary of the Air Force, Dies at 91

    Jan 5, 2019

    Harold Brown, a nuclear physicist and weapons designer who helped shape America's Cold War-era national security policy during a career that included terms as secretary of defense and secretary of the Air Force, died January 4, 2018.

  • Chinese People's Liberation Army soldiers take part in a combat training in the Gobi desert in Jiuquan, Gansu province, China, May 18, 2018

    China's Military Has No Combat Experience: Does It Matter?

    Nov 27, 2018

    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.

  • Airman 1st Class Summer Toney, 1st Lt. Ashley Guthrie Capt. Kate Bufton, Capt. Emily Nelson, Tech. Sgt. Lori Tascione and Staff Sgt. Krysteena Scales make up an 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron flight crew, March 19, 2005

    The U.S. Air Force Is Working Harder to Retain Female Officers, and Here's How

    Aug 6, 2018

    Women are underrepresented among the U.S. Air Force's senior leadership. This could be robbing the service of the potential to improve innovation, agility, and performance. The Air Force is working to address diversity in the service, and it continues to work to improve representation of women within its ranks.

  • Air Force Maj. Travis Tucker, right, explains an AC-130U Spooky gunship’s weapons systems to Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein during a mission orientation flight at Hurlburt Field, Florida, Oct. 19, 2016

    Improving the Effectiveness of Air Force Squadron Commanders

    May 23, 2018

    U.S. Air Force commanders around the world understand their responsibilities. But they believe that many unrecognized duties interfere with mission performance. They are generally prepared by professional education and career progression to fulfill their responsibilities, but they could use more instruction on how to command.

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers his speech during the opening session of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China October 18, 2017

    Xi's Consolidation of Power at the 19th Party Congress: Implications for PLA Aerospace Forces

    Dec 11, 2017

    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.

  • Soledad O’Brien, General Larry D. Welch, Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, and Michael D. Rich at the One Night with RAND event at Hotel Casa del Mar in Santa Monica, California, November 9, 2017

    Exploring Trust, Leadership, and 'Analytic Courage'

    Nov 15, 2017

    Leaders in business, government, academia, and philanthropy gathered at RAND's headquarters in Santa Monica to pay tribute to the seven-decade relationship between RAND and the U.S. Air Force. Panelists discussed the importance of trusted advice to inform national security descisonmaking.

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives for the opening of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, October 18, 2017

    What Does the 19th Party Congress Mean for the PLA?

    Oct 18, 2017

    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.

  • A Chinese military plane H-6 bomber flies over the Pacific October 27, 2013

    Chinese Bomber Flights Around Taiwan: For What Purpose?

    Sep 13, 2017

    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.

  • An Airman assigned to the 480th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron reunites with his family during the squadron’s return to Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Oct. 12, 2016

    RAND Corporation Administering 2017 Air Force Community Feedback Tool

    Sep 5, 2017

    Researchers from the RAND Corporation are administering an Air Force-sponsored survey to provide members of the Air Force community an opportunity to speak out on the challenges they face and the services they find most helpful.

  • A Chinese naval ship departs after a visit in Davao city, southern Philippines, May 2, 2017

    Enhancing China's Status as a Great Power

    Aug 1, 2017

    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?

  • New U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis is greeted by Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as he arrives at the Pentagon outside Washington, U.S.,  January 21, 2017

    Five Simple Strategy Lessons for a New Secretary of Defense

    Mar 2, 2017

    Secretary of Defense James Mattis will need to lay the intellectual groundwork to fulfill President Trump's promise of “a great rebuilding” of the United States military. History suggests that how the strategies are developed may be as important to their success as what they say.

  • A PLAAF B-6K strategic bomber at the China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai, Guangdong province, October 25, 2016.

    China's PLAAF Pilot Training Program Undergoes Major Overhaul

    Oct 27, 2016

    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.

  • Pilots of China's J-10 fighter jet from a PLAAF Aerobatics Team prepare before a media demonstration at the Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, November 24, 2015

    China's Air Force Is Fixing Its Shortcomings

    Oct 14, 2016

    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.

  • PLA Reforms and Their Ramifications

    Sep 23, 2016

    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.

  • People's Liberation Army soldiers take part in a search and rescue exercise near Qilian Yu subgroup in the Paracel Islands, known in China as Xisha Islands, South China Sea, July 14, 2016

    China's Military Reorganization Aims to Tighten Party Control and Strengthen Warfighting Capabilities

    Sep 6, 2016

    Xi Jinping's sweeping 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 in the region. But even successful reforms will not guarantee victory on the battlefield, and any hypothetical conflict involving the U.S. would carry tremendous risks.

  • People's Liberation Army naval soldiers stand on a military vessel at a naval base in Hong Kong, July 1, 2016

    Book Review: 'China's Military Transformation' by You Ji

    Jul 5, 2016

    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.

  • China's President Xi Jinping reviews an honour guard during a welcoming ceremony for Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari (not pictured) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, April 12, 2016

    Xi's Purge of the Military Prepares the Chinese Army for Confrontation

    Apr 21, 2016

    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.

  • Taiwan-made MK-30 rockets are launched from Thunderbolt-2000 multiple rocket launchers during the annual Han Kuang military exercise in Penghu, west of Taiwan

    Taiwan Forced to Rethink Its Air Defense Strategy

    Apr 14, 2016

    Taiwan's defense problem is challenging, but it will spend a considerable sum on air defense capabilities in the coming years, and those investments could be made much more effective.

  • Soldiers of China's PLA take part in winter training at temperatures around -22 degrees Fahrenheit at China's border with Russia in Heihe, Heilongjiang province, January 31, 2016

    Will the PLA Reforms Succeed?

    Apr 1, 2016

    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 Chinese Luyang II-class guided missile destroyer Jinan and other ships in formation during a passing exercise, November 7, 2015

    China's Naval Modernization: Where Is It Headed?

    Feb 10, 2016

    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.

  • A 509th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief marshals a B-2A Spirit bomber during an orientation flight at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., May 27, 2015

    Inside the Fish Bowl: High Stakes Acquisition Protests

    Dec 3, 2015

    The Boeing-Lockheed Martin team filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office asserting that the U.S. Air Force's selection of Northrop Grumman to build the Long Range Strike-Bomber was fundamentally flawed. Work on the program, valued at approximately $80 billion, is now paused.

  • Staff raise Pakistan's flag in front of the Great Hall of the People ahead of a welcome ceremony for Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Beijing, July 5, 2013

    Pakistan and China's Almost Alliance

    Oct 16, 2015

    Policymakers in the United States and throughout Asia should take note of why the Sino-Pakistani relationship has endured for so long, what each partner gets from the other, and what inherent limitations prevent the union from developing into a true alliance.

  • Men search for survivors at a site hit by shelling in Damascus, Syria, June 16, 2015

    A No-Fly Zone Over Syria: Q&A with Karl Mueller

    Oct 15, 2015

    Some are advocating a no-fly zone in Syria to protect civilians from both ISIS and forces loyal to Assad. What constraints complicate establishing a no-fly zone and realizing its expected benefits? And how might Assad supporters, such as Russia, respond?