The Role of the Chinese Military in National Security Policymaking

by Michael D. Swaine


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China's rise as a major power constitutes one of the most significant strategic events of the post-Cold War period. This development has many policymakers, strategists, and scholars focusing growing attention on the determinants of Chinese behavior in the national security realm. Of particular interest are the behavior and outlook of the Chinese military, viewed by many as an increasingly important player in a host of policy arenas, both domestic and external. The report, the first effort ever to provide a comprehensive picture of the Chinese national security policy process, describes and analyzes the leadership, structures, and interactions governing the formulation and implementation of China's national security strategy and resulting foreign and defense policies, with particular attention to the role of the Chinese military. The report focuses on the military's ties to four subarenas — national strategic objectives, foreign policy, defense policy, and military and civilian research, analysis, and intelligence. The author concludes that under certain conditions future military involvement in each of these subarenas could increase dramatically.

Table of Contents

  • Preface PDF

  • Figures PDF

  • Summary

    Summary of Key Findings PDF

  • Acknowledgements

    Acknowledgments PDF

  • Acronyms PDF

  • Chapter One

    Introduction PDF

  • Chapter Two

    National Strategic Objectives Subarena PDF

  • Chapter Three

    Foreign Policy Subarena PDF

  • Chapter Four

    Defense Policy Subarena PDF

  • Chapter Five

    Strategic Research, Analysis, and Intelligence Subarena PDF

  • Chapter Six

    Conclusions PDF

  • Bibliography PDF

"It is vital for the United States to comprehend the influence of the PLA upon China's policy making. Swaine's monograph contributes to such comprehension…by providing a diagram of the PRC's national and security policy making. I enthusiastically recommend it."

- Airpower Journal

This report is part of the RAND Corporation monograph report series. The monograph/report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1993 to 2003. RAND monograph/reports presented major research findings that addressed the challenges facing the public and private sectors. They included executive summaries, technical documentation, and synthesis pieces.

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.