China's Search for a "Strategic Air Force"

Published in: Journal of Strategic Studies, v. 39, no. 1, 2016, p. 4-28

Posted on RAND.org on August 11, 2016

by Michael S. Chase, Cristina L. Garafola

Read More

Access further information on this document at Journal of Strategic Studies

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

Once dismissed by many outside observers, the Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) has undergone an impressive transformation over the past two decades, emerging as one of the world's premier air forces. As it continues to modernize, it is focused on becoming a "strategic air force." PLAAF strategists suggest this means it should play a decisive role in protecting Chinese national interests, field modern capabilities commensurate with China's standing as a major power, and enjoy the institutional status befitting its role as a "strategic service," an important consideration given the historical dominance of the ground force in China's military.

Research conducted by

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.