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美國觀點中的中國反進入和區域封鎖能力: 對於美國西太平 洋軍事行動之潛在影響 AMERICAN PERCEPTIONS OF CHINA‘S ANTI-ACCESS AND AREA-DENIAL CAPABILITIES: IMPLICATIONS FOR U.S. MILITARY OPERATIONS IN THE WESTERN PACIFIC
研究生: 沙普瑞 撰 指導教授: 林文程 博士 中華民國 100 年 6 月
AMERICAN PERCEPTIONS OF CHINA’S ANTI-ACCESS AND AREA-DENIAL CAPABILITIES: IMPLICATIONS FOR U.S. MILITARY OPERATIONS IN THE WESTERN PACIFIC Gary J. Sampson1 Captain, U.S. Marine Corps B.S., University of Nebraska, 2004
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of
MASTER OF SCIENCE IN CHINA AND ASIA-PACIFIC STUDIES
NATIONAL SUN YAT-SEN UNIVERSITY June 2011
Gary J. Sampson
Wen-cheng Lin Thesis Advisor
Teh-cheng Lin Chairman, Institute of China and Asia-Pacific Studies
1 The views expressed herein are solely those of the author and in no way represent the official policies or estimates of the U.S. Marine Corps or any other organization of the U.S. Government.
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The post-Cold War world has created a number of important new challenges to the United States‘ power projection capabilities. The worldwide network of bases and stations that enabled the U.S. to contain the Soviet Union have, in many cases, been made into liabilities. U.S. dependence on fixed, vulnerable ports and airfields for the buildup of combat power, as seen in the 1990-91 Gulf War and 2003 Iraq War, have shown potential foes like China and Iran that it doesn‘t pay to allow penalty-free access and freedom of action in maritime, air, and space commons. In the Western Pacific, China has pursued an anti-access and area-denial (A2/AD) strategy, developing capabilities designed to deny U.S. freedom of movement in the region. This study examines U.S. perceptions of China‘s growing A2/AD capabilities and their implications for U.S. military operations in the Western Pacific through the analysis of authoritative official and unofficial U.S. documents and studies. This work establishes a comprehensive, up-to-date picture of Chinese A2/AD capabilities through American eyes, updating previous comprehensive works in key areas such as the status of China‘s anti-ship ballistic missile, conventional ballistic and cruise missile capabilities and their implications for key U.S. facilities in the region, and new technology and platforms like China‘s first aircraft carrier and stealth aircraft. The thesis concludes that the U.S. has been slow in reacting to Chinese A2/AD developments and that it is unlikely that continued Chinese military modernization (including the refinement and development of additional A2/AD capabilities) will end in the near future. For the U.S., this means that development and implementation of a truly joint concept for counter-A2/AD operations, as well as the right mix of military capabilities to carry out such operations, cannot be delayed any longer.
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冷戰後的世界產生許多對美國權力投射能力重要的新挑戰。美國原有的全球軍事基 地網，在許多案例中，從針對以蘇聯為首，擴展到對全球其他地區的防禦與攻擊能 力。美國（執行其全球軍事網的有效利器）依賴於融合許多各式各樣且又多變的港 口和飛機場之建立及其彼此間組合起來之戰力，比如説在 1990-91 年波斯灣戰爭以 及 2003 伊拉克戰爭，其於美國可能的敵人，如中國和伊朗等，這些國家並不願意 讓美國免費取得（戰略上）使用海洋、空域、及其他空間，以有效執行全球軍事基 地網的行動力。所以在西太平洋的部份，中國追求反進入(anti-access)和區域封鎖行 動(area-denial)的計劃，發展出嚇阻美國無法於各區域間恣意行動的阻力。 本篇論文將檢視美國對於中國成長中之能力及其對美國於西太平洋軍事運作潛在影 響之觀點，透過對部分具有權威性的正式或非正式的官方文件之檢視，檢閱本文中 所要探討美國關於中國軍事成長對其（全球軍事基地網）之軍事影響的看法。本篇 論文嘗試建立全面且較新的關於融合從美國的觀點反觀中國的反進入和區域封鎖之 行動能力，包括中國的反艦彈道導彈， 常規彈道和巡航導彈及其對美國在西太平 洋最重要基地之影響，論文分析範圍尚涵蓋中國最新的軍事設備，包括中國第一航 空母艦與隱形戰鬥機。 在結論處，本篇論文歸結出美國於軍事上以降低對中國的反進入和區域封鎖行動發 展的反應，但中國快速的軍事發展（包括另一些反進入和區域封鎖行動能力的發展） 在可預期的未來不可能呈現停滯的狀態。所以美國仍需要發展與實施具有效力的聯 合反制進入和區域封鎖行動的概念，以及具有正確的軍事能力之組合以執行此新戰 略思維的操作。
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. INTRODUCTION........................................................................................................1 A. THE END OF THE COLD WAR, U.S. “DECLINE”, AND THE RISE OF CHINA: THE BIRTH OF “ANTI-ACCESS” ..............................1 B. STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM .............................................................4 1. U.S. Perceptions of Chinese A2/AD Capabilities ..............................5 2. Specific Chinese A2/AD Capabilities Not Fully Integrated Into Comprehensive Treatments ................................................................5 3. U.S. Counter-A2/AD Operational Concepts and Countermeasures .................................................................................6 4. Summary ...............................................................................................6 C. BACKGROUND AND NEED ........................................................................7 1. U.S. Perceptions of Chinese A2/AD Capabilities ..............................9 2. Specific Chinese A2/AD Capabilities Not Fully Integrated Into Comprehensive Treatments ..............................................................10 3. U.S. Counter-A2/AD Operational Concepts and Countermeasures ...............................................................................10 D. PURPOSE OF THE STUDY ........................................................................11 E. RESEARCH QUESTION .............................................................................11 F. SIGNIFICANCE TO THE FIELD...............................................................11 G. DEFINITIONS ...............................................................................................12 1. Anti-access ..........................................................................................12 2. Area-denial .........................................................................................12 3. Asymmetric .........................................................................................13 4. Battle network ....................................................................................13 5. Boost-glide missile ..............................................................................13 6. Contingency ........................................................................................14 7. Defense transformation .....................................................................14 8. Initial Operational Capability ..........................................................14 9. Open-source ........................................................................................15 10. Probability of kill (Pk) ........................................................................15 H. LIMITATIONS ..............................................................................................15 I. METHODOLOGY ........................................................................................16 J. THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK ...............................................................16 K. THESIS OVERVIEW ...................................................................................18 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE .........................................................................20 A. INTRODUCTION..........................................................................................20 1. Research Problem ..............................................................................20 2. Three Areas of Focus .........................................................................20 B. LITERATURE REVIEW .............................................................................20 1. U.S. Perceptions of Chinese A2/AD Capabilities ............................20 a. DoD China Military Power Reports: From 2000 to 2010 .....21 vii
Entering the Dragon’s Lair: Chinese Antiaccess Strategies and Their Implications for the United States (2007) .......................................................................................25 c. Why AirSea Battle? (2010) .....................................................30 2. Chinese A2/AD Capabilities Not Fully Integrated Into Comprehensive Studies .....................................................................34 a. Using the Land to Control the Sea: Chinese Analysts Consider the Antiship Ballistic Missile (2009).......................34 b. China’s Evolving Conventional Strategic Strike Capability: The Anti-ship Ballistic Missile Challenge to U.S. Maritime Operations in the Western Pacific and Beyond (2009) .........................................................................41 c. ASBM Targeting and Cueing Systems ...................................49 d. The PRC’s Evolving Conventional Missile Forces as A2/AD Assets ...........................................................................53 3. U.S. Counter-A2/AD Operational Concepts and Countermeasures ...............................................................................63 a. Meeting the Anti-Access and Area-Denial Challenge (2003) .......................................................................................64 b. Why AirSea Battle? (2010) .....................................................78 c. AirSea Battle: A Point-of-Departure Operational Concept (2010) .......................................................................................80 CHAPTER SUMMARY ................................................................................88 b.
CHINESE A2/AD CAPABILITIES: A COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATION ........................................................................................................91 A. INTRODUCTION..........................................................................................91 1. A Framework for Assessment ...........................................................91 B. AIR ASPECTS OF CHINESE A2/AD .........................................................92 1. People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF)...............................92 2. People’s Liberation Army Navy Air Force (PLANAF) ..................95 3. PLA Air Defenses ...............................................................................98 C. MARITIME DIMENSIONS OF CHINESE A2/AD .................................102 1. The PLAN Submarine Force ..........................................................104 2. Anti-Ship Ballistic Missiles (ASBMs) .............................................108 3. Naval Anti-Ship Cruise Missiles (ASCMs) ....................................109 4. Maritime Surveillance Networks ....................................................110 D. MISSILES IN PRC A2/AD .........................................................................111 1. Ballistic Missiles ...............................................................................111 2. Land Attack Cruise Missiles (LACMs)..........................................112 E. CHINA’S “COUNTER-BATTLE NETWORK” CAPABILITIES AS A2/AD ASSETS ............................................................................................113 1. Counter-space capabilities ..............................................................113 2. Computer Network Operations (CNO) .........................................115 F. CHAPTER SUMMARY ..............................................................................117 1. A Comprehensive Picture of Chinese A2/AD Capabilities ..........117 viii
IMPLICATIONS OF THE PERCEIVED PRC ANTI-ACCESS THREAT TO U.S. MILITARY OPERATIONS IN THE WESTERN PACIFIC ...............121 A. INTRODUCTION........................................................................................121 1. Research Generates Questions........................................................121 B. IMPLICATIONS OF PLA AIR A2/AD CAPABILITIES .......................121 1. Proximity is Key ...............................................................................121 2. J-20: An Airborne Game-Changer?...............................................122 3. Will U.S. UCAS Live Up to the Hype? ...........................................122 C. IMPLICATIONS OF PLA MARITIME A2/AD CAPABILITIES ........123 1. The Original Game-Changer ..........................................................123 2. Submarines: The “Poor Man’s A2/AD Weapon” .........................123 D. IMPLICATIONS OF PLA MISSILE FORCE A2/AD CAPABILITIES ...........................................................................................124 1. Whither Kadena? .............................................................................124 2. Hafa Adai: Guam as “The” Pacific Base?......................................124 E. IMPLICATIONS OF PLA COUNTER-BATTLE NETWORK A2/AD CAPABILITIES ...........................................................................................125 1. E.T. No Phone Home? .....................................................................125 2. Patriotic Hackers Unite! ..................................................................126 F. OTHER IMPLICATIONS OF PLA A2/AD CAPABILITIES ................127 1. It’s the Politics, Stupid .....................................................................127 2. CPGS: Reach Out and Touch Someone ........................................128 G. CHAPTER SUMMARY ..............................................................................130 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS.................................................132 A. CONCLUSIONS ..........................................................................................132 B. RECOMMENDATIONS.............................................................................133 1. Invest in Passive Defenses ...............................................................133 2. Expand and Refine AirSea Battle ...................................................134 3. Develop Unmanned Systems ...........................................................135 C. CLOSING THOUGHTS AND SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH .................................................................................................136 1. Further Research .............................................................................137
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LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 1. Figure 2. Figure 3. Figure 4. Figure 5. Figure 6. Figure 7. Figure 8. Boost-glide missile trajectory ..........................................................................14 FCS ―System of Systems‖ ...............................................................................73 Select PLA Modernization Areas, 2000-2009 .................................................94 Major PRC Air Defense and Ballistic Missile Installations ..........................100 Taiwan Strait SAM and SRBM Coverage .....................................................101 PRC Conventional Anti-Access Capability Range Estimates, with First and Second Island Chains Indicated ..............................................................103 Diesel-Electric Submarine Quieting Trends ..................................................106 Range of PRC Missiles and Strike Aircraft ...................................................118
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LIST OF ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS
AD AESA AFB AIP APEC ASAT ASBC ASBM ASCM ASEAN ASW AWACS A2/AD BMD CASC CASIC CIWS CNA CND CNE CNO COMINT CONUS CPC CPGS CRS CSBA C3ISR C4I C4ISR DDG DEW DoD DoN ECM ECCM EEZ EFV EIS Area-denial Airborne electronically scanned array Air Force Base Air independent propulsion Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Anti-satellite AirSea Battle Concept Anti-ship ballistic missile Anti-ship cruise missile Association of Southeast Asian Nations Anti-submarine warfare Airborne warning and control systems Anti-access/area-denial Ballistic missile defense China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation Close-in Weapons System Computer network attack Computer network defense Computer network exploitation Computer network operations Communications intelligence Continental United States Communist Party of China (also CCP, Chinese Communist Party) Conventional Prompt Global Strike Congressional Research Service Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments Command, control, communications, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance Command, control, communications, computers and intelligence Command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance Guided missile destroyer Directed energy weapon Department of Defense Department of the Navy Electronic countermeasures (also called ―electronic attack‖ or EA) Electronic counter-countermeasures (also called ―electronic protection‖ or EP) Exclusive Economic Zone Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle Environmental Impact Statement xiii
ELINT EMCON EO EW FCS FISINT FY GSTF HF ICBM IMINT IADS IO IOC IPB IR ISR IW I&W JDAM JHSV JSF LCS LEO MaRV MEADS MEB MRBM NATO NDAA NEO NGB NOSS NSC ONI OSD OSINT OTH OTH-B OTH-SW PAC-3 PA&E PGM PLA PLAAF
Electronic intelligence Emissions control Electro-optical Electronic warfare Future Combat System Foreign instrumentation signals intelligence Fiscal year Global Strike Task Force High-frequency Intercontinental ballistic missile Imagery intelligence Integrated air defense system Information operations Initial operational capability Intelligence preparation of the battlespace Infrared Intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance Information warfare Indications and warning Joint Direct Attack Munition Joint High-Speed Vessel Joint Strike Fighter Littoral Combat Ship Low-earth orbit Maneuverable reentry vehicle Medium Extended Air Defense System Marine Expeditionary Brigade Medium-range ballistic missile North Atlantic Treaty Organization National Defense Authorization Act Noncombatant Evacuation Operation Next Generation Bomber Naval ocean surveillance system National Security Council Office of Naval Intelligence Office of the Secretary of Defense Open-source intelligence Over-the-horizon Over-the-horizon backscatter Over-the-horizon skywave Patriot Advanced Capability-3 U.S. DoD Office of Program Analysis and Evaluation Precision guided munition People‘s Liberation Army People‘s Liberation Army Air Force xiv
PLAN People‘s Liberation Army Navy PLANAF People‘s Liberation Army Navy Air Force PRC People‘s Republic of China QDR Quadrennial Defense Review REE Rare earth element RF Radio frequency ROC Republic of China (Taiwan) ROCAF Republic of China Air Force SAC Second Artillery Corps SAF Second Artillery Force SAM Surface-to-air missile SAR Synthetic aperture radar SDI Strategic Defense Initiative (―Star Wars‖) SIGINT Signals intelligence SLAMRAAM Surface-Launched Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile SLOC Sea line of communication SM-3 Standard Missile-3 SOF Special operations forces SSN Nuclear attack submarine SRBM Short-range ballistic missile START Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty STOVL Short take-off and vertical landing TEL Transporter-erector-launcher THAAD Terminal High Altitude Area Defense TLAM Tomahawk Land Attack Missile TMD Theater missile defense TRA Taiwan Relations Act of 1979 UAS Unmanned aerial system UAV Unmanned aerial vehicle UCAS Unmanned combat air system UCAV Unmanned combat air vehicle UCLASS Unmanned carrier-launched airborne-surveillance and strike UNCLOS United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea U.S. United States USA United States Army USAF United States Air Force USCC U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission USMC United States Marine Corps USN United States Navy USPACOM United States Pacific Command USSR Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (Soviet Union) VSTOL Vertical/short take-off and landing WMD Weapons of mass destruction WWII World War II xv
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First of all, I am deeply indebted to the George and Carol Olmsted Foundation, which has sponsored my studies over the past three years, first at the Defense Language Institute and for the last two years in Taiwan. The Olmsted Scholar Program has been a wonderful experience for my family and I and we are proud to be associated with both the program and the Foundation. The opportunity to spend two years as a full-time graduate student at a foreign university, to travel widely throughout the surrounding region, and to truly become acquainted with the language and culture of another country is rare and unique, particularly in a military stretched by a decade of war and deployments. At the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, luck was with me and the department I was assigned to had as its chairperson a wonderful instructor from Kaohsiung, Marn-ling Wang. While she had been teaching at DLI for quite some time, I was her first student who was actually heading to Taiwan. Wang Laoshi took a special interest in me and did her best to get me ready for Taiwan. Dr. Wen-cheng Lin was a wonderful thesis advisor and I was lucky to have him. His broad experience in government and academia, his time abroad in the U.S., and his passion for teaching and leading the College of Social Science were a boon to me as a student in his classes, as a researcher, and to all who are fortunate enough to cross paths with him. My wife, Barbara, and our boys, John and Lance, have been infinitely patient and understanding as I have locked myself in my home office or secluded myself away in the campus library to work on this thesis and other papers. None of this would be possible without you – thank you. Long before I learned a single Chinese character or dreamed of sitting in a threehour long lecture delivered in Mandarin (and actually understanding a good portion of it), Tim Borstelmann, the Elwood N. and Katherine Thompson Professor of Modern World History at the University of Nebraska, was a fabulous mentor for me. His encouragement to pursue graduate school and to study foreign languages truly aided me not only in applying for the Olmsted program, but also in my studies once accepted into the program. Now he wants to know when I plan to start a PhD program! Major General Rex C. McMillian, USMC, has been a wonderful professional influence on me. I applied for the Olmsted Scholar Program in 2007 while working for him at U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, where I very fortunate to obtain a ―general officer-level operational education on the Asia-Pacific region.‖ General McMillian, who had traveled to Taiwan during college, still recalled some of the Mandarin Chinese he learned years later, and actually taught me my first words in Chinese. My parents, Brent and Betty Sampson, have always been a steady and positive influence in my life. Thank you for getting me to the point that I am at now. Thanks also to my friend in Taiwan, Isaiah Priest. He was always there to help if I was struggling through a lecture or if I wanted to chat. Finally, I am sincerely grateful to my brother Patrick Sampson and my former colleague Hunter Wagner for comments and feedback on several drafts of this thesis. xvii
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THE END OF THE COLD WAR, U.S. “DECLINE”, AND THE RISE OF CHINA: THE BIRTH OF “ANTI-ACCESS” China‘s rise and America‘s relative decline are two of the defining issues in
the international relations of the modern age. These phenomena can be traced back to the end of the Cold War. America, seemingly dumbfounded by its sudden unipolar moment after the collapse of the bipolar system that characterized competition between the U.S. and the USSR after World War II (WWII), searched for a new grand strategy in a world not as straightforward as the one just passed. Challenges to the new unipolar power were not long in coming. Saddam Hussein invaded and annexed Kuwait in 1990, and the resulting U.S.-sponsored coalition that ejected him in early 1991 embodied the signal importance that the Middle East region would have in U.S. foreign policy over the next two decades. Meanwhile, with the U.S. preoccupied in managing thorny issues in the Arabian Gulf region mainly for reasons of assured access to cheap petroleum, China, fueled by a roaring economic engine in the years after 1979, pursued a variety of other ends designed to assert its hegemony over the East Asian region. Practicing ―dollar diplomacy‖ in locations around the globe, 2 China‘s ―new mercantilism‖ was fueled by ravenous resource requirements driven by its world-topping population and rapidly improving standard of living (particularly for its urban citizens). This has included extractive policies and large raw materials contracts in Africa, South America, and Central America, among other places.3 While China‘s economy roared along, seemingly unaffected by the 2008 global financial crisis, the U.S. and much of the Western world was laid low by the same, with America under a particular burden due to the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. China took advantage of the post-9/11 American preoccupation with the so-called ―Global War on Terror‖ primarily in the Middle East and South Asia to bolster its
2 For a description China‘s dollar diplomacy in the Southwest Pacific, see Thomas Lum and Bruce Vaughn, ―The Southwest Pacific: U.S. Interests and China‘s Growing Influence,‖ CRS Report for Congress RL3408, July 6, 2007, http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/RL34086.pdf (accessed on May 13, 2011). 3 See, for example, Xan Rice, ―China's economic invasion of Africa,‖ The Guardian, February 6,
2011, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/feb/06/chinas-economic-invasion-of-africa (accessed on May 14, 2011); and ―UN body: China is new major investor in Latin America,‖ Xinhua, May 5, 2011, http://china-wire.org/?p=11517 (accessed on May 7, 2011).
position in East and Southeast Asia, and only now, a decade later, is the U.S. making an attempt to ―return‖ to Asia (though not everyone is convinced that the Obama Administration‘s efforts to do this have been successful).4 The effects of China‘s rise in Asia include a growing arms buildup by many of China‘s neighbors uncertain of her intentions with her newfound strength (and possibly uncertain of U.S. resolve or ability to respond in light of her relative decline and ―attention deficit‖ in the region) and an increased wariness of Chinese influence overall. One aspect of China‘s rise has been its so-called ―charm offensive‖, which is nothing more than attempting to put a benign face on China‘s growing power and influence in East Asia and around the globe. It consisted mainly of economic cooperation and diplomatic enticements. The strategy was effective from the late 1990s through the late 2000s, especially in Southeast Asia – manifest chiefly in China‘s increasingly broad and robust cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) starting in 1997 – but it began to break down in 2009 as a newly assertive China sought to exert control over long-disputed territorial claims along her periphery (primarily in the East and South China Seas). Beijing responded to complaints about its aggressiveness in the South China Sea by claiming that China is a big country and the nations of Southeast Asia who have competing claims there are small countries, implying that the issues raised by such smaller countries are somehow less relevant because of their size.5 Moreover, in the East China Sea, China used diplomatic and economic levers to secure the release of a ship captain who rammed a Japanese coast guard vessel near the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. Aggressive moves such as these have made neighboring countries wary of China‘s
―[w]e‘ve been on a little bit of a Middle East detour over the course of the last ten years,‖ adding that, ―our future will be dominated utterly and fundamentally by developments in Asia and the Pacific region.‖ Ryan Lizza, ―The Consequentialist: How the Arab Spring remade Obama‘s foreign policy,‖ The New Yorker, May 2, 2011, http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/05/02/110502fa_fact_lizza?currentPage=all (accessed on May 13, 2011).
5 John Pomfret, ―U.S. takes a tougher tone with China,‖ Washington Post, July 30, 2010,
4 U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell recently said
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/29/AR2010072906416.html (accessed on May 14, 2011).
intentions with its newfound strength, and in many cases seeking greater engagement with America as a result.6 The U.S. response to newfound Chinese aggression has been a clear statement of American intent, first, to remain a power in East Asia and the Western Pacific, and second, to emphasize the importance of access to the global commons, including maritime, air, space, and cyberspace, to the United States and to all nations. In the maritime realm, the U.S. has demonstrated that it supports fully the provisions of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and that it expects China, a ratified signatory of the same, to abide by it as well (something China has neglected to do in the South China Sea and elsewhere).7 U.S. concerns about the maintenance of free access to space were heightened in 2007 when China tested a direct-ascent antisatellite (ASAT) weapon, destroying an old Chinese satellite in orbit and creating a vast amount of ―space junk‖ which endangered all nations‘ space vehicles.8 To bolster the confidence of smaller nations along China‘s periphery, the U.S. has expanded its cooperation with Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, and other countries in military and economic realms. The U.S. maintains formal security treaties with several East and Southeast Asian nations, including Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines, and it also has an obligation to keep Taiwan free from coercion under the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979 (TRA).
6 Vietnam is probably the foremost example of this ―balancing‖ behavior. In actions seen as stemming from uneasiness about China‘s intentions, in 2010 the U.S. and Vietnam conducted largescale combined naval exercises in the South China Sea and Vietnam agreed to host a port call by a U.S. warship at one of its major ports. See ―US and Vietnam stage joint naval activities,‖ BBC News, August 10, 2010, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-10925061 (accessed on May 14, 2011). Even more disturbing for China was the announcement around the same time that Vietnam and the U.S. were ―in advanced negotiations to share nuclear fuel and technology‖ that would allow Hanoi to enrich its own nuclear fuel. See Jay Solomon, ―U.S., Hanoi in Nuclear Talks,‖ Wall Street Journal, August 3, 2010, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704741904575409261840078780.html (accessed on May 14, 2011). 7 It is important to note that the U.S. has not ratified the UNCLOS, something that the PRC brings
up virtually any time American diplomats or policymakers mention that China needs to do a better job of adhering to its provisions. Despite the fact that the US has not ratified the UNCLOS, in practice the U.S. observes its significant measures, such as the designation of a 200-nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) off the coast of a given country. However, the U.S. differs from Chinese interpretation of the EEZ in that the Chinese strongly feel that any foreign military operations conducted there (surveillance, for instance) must be approved in advance. The U.S. does not agree with this interpretation.
8 Shirley Kan, ―China‘s Anti-Satellite Weapon Test,‖ CRS Report for Congress RS22652, April 23, 2007, p. 2. Accessed at http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/RS22652.pdf on May 5, 2011.
The last time the U.S. exercised its obligations under the portion of the TRA that deal with ensuring Taiwan‘s security was in response to Chinese coercion in 1995-96. Two American aircraft carrier battle groups deployed to waters near Taiwan after the People‘s Liberation Army (PLA) conducted missile tests near Taiwan and engaged in an increasingly belligerent series of exercises in and around the Taiwan Strait aimed at punishing Taiwan for its president‘s trip to the U.S. in 1995 and at influencing the results of Taiwan‘s 1996 elections. The Chinese chose not to escalate further in the face of the U.S.‘s actions and were surprised that such an audacious deployment of U.S. military power was exercised against them. They were also humiliated that their arsenals held no weapons capable of deterring such a bold U.S. move. The desire to avoid a repeat of such a humiliation fed an increased focus on developing new anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) capabilities that would be able to limit U.S. access to bases and other facilities in the region and also could target U.S. ships at sea at very long range (particularly aircraft carriers, as the ―crown jewel‖ of U.S. naval power projection).9 Development of these ―asymmetric‖ capabilities have changed how the U.S. must plan to respond to a possible China contingency because these A2/AD capabilities appear to be designed to deny the U.S. the use of the strategic commons of sea, air, space, and cyberspace. B. STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM Chinese advances in A2/AD technologies and capabilities have created a problem for U.S. decision-makers and military professionals. On the one hand, the U.S. wants to show strong resolve in stating that these developments will not affect U.S. operations in the Western Pacific, and high-level Department of Defense (DoD)
9 Definitions of the terms anti-access and area-denial can be found on page 12 of this thesis. Some
American scholars, such as Flaherty and Wortzel, believe that China became serious about pursuing an access denial strategy aimed at the U.S. after the Taiwan Strait Crisis of 1995-96 (also known as the Third Taiwan Strait Crisis). See Michael P. Flaherty, ―Red Wings Ascendant: The Chinese Air Force Contribution to Antiaccess,‖ Joint Forces Quarterly, Issue 60, 1st Quarter 2011, p. 95; and Larry Wortzel, quoted in Andrew S. Erickson and David D. Yang, "Using the Land to Control the Sea: Chinese Analysts Consider the Antiship Ballistic Missile." Naval War College Review, 2009, p. 56.
leaders have recently done just that.10 On the other hand, it is illogical to think that these threats are not being taken into account by U.S. military officers designing war plans and by acquisitions professionals who are working with U.S. defense companies to develop the means to mitigate or defeat specific Chinese A2/AD capabilities. Thus, a thorough examination of U.S. perceptions of Chinese A2/AD capabilities is needed to establish a baseline for the U.S. response, including in the realms of Chinese technological developments, U.S. operational concepts to deploy into what can be presumed to be a robust A2/AD environment in any China contingency plan for the Western Pacific, as well as to discover where exactly the U.S. counter-A2/AD strategic messaging campaign ends and reality begins. This will be performed by examining three problem areas: 1. U.S. Perceptions of Chinese A2/AD Capabilities
In order to do a creditable job in assessing Chinese A2/AD capabilities, this research must first examine how the U.S. perceives the capabilities. While it is not possible to know with full certainty what the institutional beliefs of such a bureaucratic behemoth as the U.S. DoD are relative to Chinese A2/AD capabilities, official statements and other reports, both from the within the government and from without, offer some clues to the DoD‘s views on Chinese capabilities and will be explored here in depth. 2. Specific Chinese A2/AD Capabilities Not Fully Integrated Into Comprehensive Treatments
Scholars from various U.S. research institutes have recently conducted research into specific weapons systems or capabilities associated with China‘s A2/AD capability set. 11 These studies have in many cases surpassed what was previously
10 For example, Vice Admiral Scott van Buskirk, commander of the U.S. Seventh Fleet, the naval command that would fight China in the event of a contingency in the Western Pacific, stated on the Chinese ASBM in early 2011, ―[i]t‘s not the Achilles‘ heel of our aircraft carriers or our Navy — it is one weapons system, one technology that is out there.‖ Eric Talmadge, ―Admiral: China‘s ‗carrier killer‘ missile won‘t stop U.S. Navy,‖ Associated Press, February 15, 2011, http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/feb/15/admiral-chinas-carrier-killer-missile-wont-stopus/?page=all#pagebreak (accessed April 14, 2011).
research into the Chinese ASBM and other Chinese naval and air platforms associated with the PRC‘s military modernization. Mark Stokes from the Project 2049 Institute has also researched the Chinese ASBM, PRC satellite capabilities, and air platforms.
11 For example, Andrew Erickson from the U.S. Naval War College has produced a great deal of
known about the specific capabilities covered and have not been incorporated into comprehensive U.S. assessments of the Chinese A2/AD threat. Specifically, information on a new Chinese anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) capability, as well as the associated intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR) and battle management networks required to field it, has bloomed in recent months. 12 Additionally, a great deal of information about the specific capabilities and proposed means of employment of conventional PRC ballistic and cruise missiles as anti-access means has also come to the fore. This thesis will incorporate this new information into an updated comprehensive treatment. 3. U.S. Counter-A2/AD Operational Concepts and Countermeasures
The U.S., with a real need for continued access to the Western Pacific, has little choice but to develop concepts and capabilities for operating in the perceived A2/AD threat environment presented by China. The working-level capabilities that will allow such a doctrine or concept of operations to succeed or fail are the tactics, techniques, and procedures involved in the employment of specific countermeasures or counterstrike capabilities designed to defeat Chinese A2/AD threats. It is unclear if the U.S. has developed these means to a sufficient extent. This thesis will examine what open-source materials say on this issue. 4. Summary
By examining existing comprehensive U.S. assessments of the Chinese A2/AD threat, fortifying these comprehensive assessments with more contemporary data produced by research on individual A2/AD capabilities, and finally by comparing the updated and expanded assessment of the threat to what is known about how the U.S. would go about operating in such a robust A2/AD threat environment, this research can analyze the veracity of such U.S. approaches. The next section will focus on solutions to problems associated with this research.
12 Studies from Erickson and Stokes, mentioned in the previous footnote, concerning the Chinese ASBM and their supporting ISR infrastructure will be examined at length later in this paper.
BACKGROUND AND NEED In the early 1990s, U.S. defense planners identified the emergence of the
conditions that became the modern A2/AD threat.13 As the Pentagon looked for postCold War roles and missions for the U.S. military, the proliferation of military technology from large, technologically advanced nations to relatively undeveloped nations, and to non-state actors, began to change the way that potential enemies viewed fighting the U.S. 14 Observers, while impressed with American technical prowess in the 1990-91 Persian Gulf War and the 1999 Kosovo War, saw that an overdependence on technology (particularly space-based communications and surveillance platforms) and an aversion to casualties (especially as in Somalia in 1993) were important weaknesses of a seemingly very capable American military.15 The Chinese were among those who noted these American weaknesses, among other flaws. The 1995-96 Taiwan Strait Crisis reinforced several of these lessons to the Chinese, including an overdependence on the use of aircraft carrier battle groups as the principal means of U.S. power projection, particularly in a ―show of force‖ scenario like what took place near Taiwan at that time. In addition, the Chinese viewed American logistics as inadequate to support an extended, large-scale
13 Andrew Krepinevich, Why AirSea Battle? (Washington, DC: Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, 2010), p. 8. 14 Posen describes how several factors have come together in the post-Cold War world to create what he calls a ―contested zone‖ where U.S. advantages of technology and firepower are limited. The contested zone is airspace below 15,000 feet; the littoral sea regions adjacent to land; and land combat in cities, mountains, and swamps. The existence of this contested zone does not mean the U.S. cannot win inside it; it only means that U.S. planners and commanders should realistically evaluate the costs involved in fighting there. Barry R. Posen, ―Command of the Commons: The Military Foundations of U.S. Hegemony,‖ International Security, Vol. 28, No. 1 (Summer 2003), pp. 23-24. Krepinevich, Watts, and Work also note the trend of the ―diffusion‖ of military technology as a post-Cold War phenomenon that has changed the prospects for ―asymmetric‖ challenges to U.S. military power. See Andrew Krepinevich, Barry Watts, and Robert Work, Meeting the Anti-Access and Area-Denial Challenge (Washington, DC: Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, 2003), p. 1. 15 For a useful overview of Chinese views on U.S. overdependence on information technology, see Roger Cliff, Mark Burles, Michael S. Chase, Derek Eaton, and Kevin L. Pollpeter, Entering the Dragon‘s Lair: Chinese Anti-access Strategies and Their Implications for the United States (Santa Monica: RAND Corporation, 2007), pp. 44-45.
In 1993, after sustaining 18 killed and 73 wounded in urban combat operations against local clans, U.S. troops were withdrawn from Somalia. (See Mark Bowden, ―A Defining Battle,‖ Philadelphia Inquirer, November 16, 1997, http://inquirer.philly.com/packages/somalia/nov16/rang16.asp [accessed on May 14, 2011].) Osama bin Laden, among others, claimed that this showed the risk and casualtyaverse nature of the U.S., and further asserted that the U.S. military were ―cowards who only fight with high-tech, airborne-delivered munitions.‖ Bruce Hoffman, ―Rethinking Terrorism and Counterterrorism Since 9/11,‖ Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 25 (2002), p. 310.
conflict, particularly over the extended battle lines that would be in place in a conflict in the Western Pacific.16 The People‘s Republic of China (PRC) began addressing these perceived American weaknesses by developing the means to exploit them. In order to defeat U.S. carrier battle groups, the PRC developed or greatly expanded several capabilities, including the Dong Feng-21D (DF-21D) ASBM (a modified version of the CSS-5 nuclear-capable medium-range ballistic missile [MRBM]), families of sea-, air-, and surface-launched anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCMs) were developed and deployed, and the PLA Navy (PLAN) submarine fleet was modernized and expanded. To blind the heavily satellite-dependent U.S. military, direct-ascent ASAT weapons and lasers capable of ―dazzling‖ satellites in orbit were developed. In addition, to address the issue of negating the effectiveness of U.S. bases and facilities in the region (with the dual purpose of cowing Taiwan), Chinese conventional ballistic missile forces were expanded to become the world‘s leader, in terms of short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) and MRBMs. Finally, Chinese cyber-warfare capabilities were also greatly expanded, leading many Western defense analysts to presume that the opening stages of any conflict with China would be marked by extensive use of PLA-sponsored or PLA-affiliated ―hacker armies‖ which would degrade U.S. computer data networks and battle command systems.17 There is evidence that the Chinese A2/AD threat is viewed as a significant challenge by influential thinkers inside the Beltway. John Nagl, president of the Center for a New American Security, a defense policy think tank in Washington, DC, and author of an influential book on counterinsurgency warfare, commenting on the top threats to the U.S. facing the successor to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, recently wrote in Defense News, that ―[t]he most serious of these threats will be asymmetric in nature – that is, they will target American weaknesses to circumvent its conventional superiority.‖ Nagl further went on to explain that these asymmetric threats came in two categories: the first was the low-tech version, in the form of
16 Cliff, et al., pp. 60-62. 17 See, for example, Cliff, et al., pp. 51-56; and Erik Sofge, ―What a War Between China and the
United States Would Look Like,‖ Popular Mechanics, December 29, 2010, http://www.popularmechanics.com/print-this/what-a-war-between-china-and-the-us-would-look-like (accessed on May 13, 2011).
terrorism and insurgency; while the second, and most significant, asymmetric threat was ―the use of high-technology capabilities to negate traditional American military strengths.‖ ―The most prominent looming asymmetric challenge is in the Asia-Pacific region. China has the potential to present a significant military threat but not in a strictly conventional sense,‖ wrote Nagl. Noting that China is expanding its conventional military strength in the form of a new aircraft carrier and fifthgeneration fighter aircraft, Nagl emphasizes that ―more worrisome is [China‘s] improving ability to threaten America's allies and interests in this region with missile, cyber and other asymmetric capabilities.‖18 It is precisely these types of asymmetric threats with which this thesis is concerned. The preceding section (―Statement of the Problem,‖ beginning on page 4) described several problems associated with U.S. perceptions of Chinese A2/AD capabilities. The below section will indicate how these problems can be addressed. 1. U.S. Perceptions of Chinese A2/AD Capabilities
This research will draw upon open source materials published by the DoD and other organs of the U.S. government as well as non-governmental reports to shed light on likely U.S. perceptions of Chinese A2/AD capabilities. While imperfect, these sources offer about as much information as can be definitively determined about American thinking on the topic.19 Notably, it will compare the assessments of China‘s A2/AD threat in a key DoD annual report on Chinese military power from its initial report in 2000 to the most recent assessment (2010).
Systems,‖ Defense News, April 24, 2011, http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?i=6315479 (accessed on April 26, 2011). Nagl is a member of the Secretary of Defense‘s Defense Policy Board, which provides the Secretary of Defense and his top two civilian subordinates with ―independent, informed advice and opinion concerning matters of defense policy.‖ The board is strictly advisory and has no policy-making role, but the exclusivity and access of the board contribute to its influential reputation. Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs), ―DoD Announces New Defense Policy Board Members,‖ U.S. Department of Defense News Release, July 1, 2009, http://www.defense.gov/releases/release.aspx?releaseid=12783 (accessed on April 24, 2011).
19 Understandably, much of what is truly known and thought about the Chinese A2/AD threat by
18 John Nagl, ―After Gates: Asymmetric Threats: U.S. Should Target Partner Capacity, Unmanned
the U.S. Government is appropriately classified national security information that is not available to the average researcher. However, important clues to what the actual assessment and perception is can be obtained from the open source materials, which is what this research has done.
Specific Chinese A2/AD Capabilities Not Fully Integrated Into Comprehensive Treatments
This research will present some of the most recent scholarship on specific Chinese A2/AD threats such as the ASBM and conventional ballistic and cruise missile forces that have been presented in a non-comprehensive environment. It will add this newer scholarship to what has been presented in past comprehensive accounts of the Chinese A2/AD threat. Synthesizing this newer research with older, more comprehensive sources on the Chinese A2/AD threat will yield an up-to-date, fullscale picture of the perceived threat. 3. U.S. Counter-A2/AD Operational Concepts and Countermeasures
Examination of U.S. capabilities to operate in an A2/AD environment in the early 2000s revealed that each service had its own proposed way to deal with such operations. More strikingly, these concepts were not coordinated among the various services. However, by late 2009 this lack of cooperation amongst the services on counter-A2/AD operations had begun to be addressed by the Air Force and the Navy as they developed a joint operational concept to counter China‘s A2/AD capabilities. Later, the Marines would be added to the mix (though it is still unclear exactly how they will be expected to contribute to the joint concept).20 Comparing what is known of this new battle concept with the most updated and current perceptions of the Chinese A2/AD challenge will be useful in assessing whether or not the U.S. is on the correct path to effectively deal with the Chinese A2/AD threat or if it should consider changing course. This section has shown that the Chinese adoption of policies promoting the development of A2/AD capabilities has led to a great asymmetric challenge to American freedom of movement in the Western Pacific. By conducting a thorough examination of how the threat appears to the U.S. Government and to American experts on the region and matching that up with U.S. military designs to operate in the
20 One analyst recently opined that the addition of the Marine Corps to what is essentially a very
large Navy and Air Force ―party‖ was intended to ―complicate the planning of potential adversaries‖ and reassure U.S. allies in the region. Robert Haddick, ―This Week at War: Qaddafi‘s Collapsible Military: For the Marine Corps, it‘s nice to feel needed,‖ Foreign Policy: Small Wars, February 25, 2011, http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/02/25/this_week_at_war_qaddafis_collapsible_military?pa ge=0,1 (accessed on April 23, 2011).
A2/AD environment presented, this study addresses a need for a comprehensive, upto-date assessment of Chinese A2/AD capabilities and potential U.S. responses. D. PURPOSE OF THE STUDY While the concepts underlying the use of an A2/AD strategy in warfare have been under consideration by American defense analysts since at least the early 1990s and the terms and definitions associated with the concept have been included in official DoD reports for almost a decade, realistic discussion of how the U.S. military would truly operate in such an environment has largely been relegated, until fairly recently, to the theoretical realm. Only in the past few years have defense planners and analysts begun to see China‘s A2/AD capabilities standing at the intersection between China‘s rise and the relative decline of the U.S. as a serious challenge requiring the expenditure of mental and fiscal capital to address. The purpose of this study was to explore how the Chinese A2/AD threat was perceived by the U.S. in order to assess the impact that this threat might present to U.S. forces in the Western Pacific and how such forces might be constrained in responding to a China contingency. E. RESEARCH QUESTION How do U.S. perceptions of Chinese development of A2/AD capabilities affect the U.S. military response calculus in the event of a military contingency in the Western Pacific? F. SIGNIFICANCE TO THE FIELD This research provides a comprehensive assessment of Chinese A2/AD capabilities, updated with the latest resources, and also explores the most recent thinking on how the U.S. would go about countering such threats. There is no other study that provides these things in one place. A number of prior researchers have explored China‘s A2/AD capabilities, but oftentimes a given work has related only to a single piece of hardware or system
within what can be described as a ―system of systems.‖21 In other cases, the research has been more thorough and broad-based, but may be a bit outdated and in need of refreshing in light of new developments. This research integrates new sources of authoritative research on individual systems to provide a much-needed comprehensive look at U.S. perceptions of China‘s A2/AD capabilities and uses these new materials to supplement the somewhat-dated comprehensive analysis that does exist. Together, these sources provide a contemporary look at U.S. perceptions of the Chinese A2/AD threat as well as an idea of the latest thinking on how U.S. forces can best operate effectively within it. G. DEFINITIONS This section contains definitions for a number of terms the meaning of which may be unknown to the average reader, or which might have multiple meanings. In such a case, the definition specified in this section indicates the intended meaning. (Definitions are listed in alphabetical order.) 1. Anti-access
The term anti-access refers to ―any action by an opponent that has the effect of slowing the deployment of friendly forces into a theater, preventing them from operating from certain locations within that theater, or causing them to operate from distances farther from the locus of conflict than they would normally prefer.‖22 2. Area-denial
Area-denial ―aims to prevent U.S. freedom of action in the more narrow confines of the area under an enemy‗s direct control.‖23 Area-denial can be thought of as a smaller subset of anti-access operations.
―system-of-systems‖ in testimony to the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission in January 2011. See Cortez A. Cooper, ―Joint Anti-Access Operations: China‘s ―System-of-Systems‖ Approach,‖ RAND Corporation, January 27, 2010, p. 5. Available at http://www.rand.org/pubs/testimonies/CT356/.
22 Cliff, et al., p. 11. 23 Krepinevich, Watts, and Work, p. 5.
21 Chinese joint anti-access operations were described by a RAND Corporation expert as a
The term ―asymmetric‖ as used herein is based on an explanation presented in 1997 by the National Defense Panel, which stated, in relevant part, that:
We can assume that our enemies and future adversaries have learned from the Gulf War. They are unlikely to confront us conventionally with mass armor formations, air superiority forces, and deep-water naval fleets of their own, all areas of overwhelming U.S. strength today. Instead, they may find new ways to attack our interests, our forces, and our citizens. They will look for ways to match their strengths against our weaknesses.24
A battle network, as related to precision guided munitions, is ―the communications and data links that bring together the various elements of a military‘s intelligence, reconnaissance surveillance (ISR) and targeting systems along with its command and control elements to provide prompt, precise guidance to munitions that can exploit it (e.g., laser-guided munitions, GPS-guided munitions such as the Joint Direct Attack Munition, or JDAM, etc.).‖25 5. Boost-glide missile
A ―boost-glide‖ missile is one that does not have a typical ballistic trajectory that takes it into outer space, but instead skips and glides through the upper reaches of the atmosphere over great distances, still fully capable of lateral maneuver, until entering its dive trajectory and striking a given target. See Figure 1 on the following page for an illustration of a boost-glide missile‘s trajectory.
24 Transforming Defense: National Security in the 21st Century, Report of the National Defense Panel, Arlington, VA, December 1997, p. 11. 25 Andrew F. Krepinevich, Why AirSea Battle? (Washington, DC: Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, 2010), p. 6n6.
Boost-glide missile trajectory
Source: Yu Li and Nai-gang Cui, ―Maximum Crossrange for Hypersonic Boost-Glide Missile,‖ Proceedings of the 2nd Annual International Symposium on Systems and Control in Aerospace and Astronautics (2008), doi:10.1109/ISSCAA.2008.4776361, p. 1, Fig. 1, Sketch of the trajectory. 6. Contingency
A contingent event or condition is an event (e.g. an emergency) that may, but is not certain to, occur.26 It is often used in the U.S. military as a type of preparatory planning – ―contingency planning.‖ 7. Defense transformation
The Congressional Research Service provided a good definition of defense transformation when, in 2005, it wrote that ―defense transformation can be thought of as large scale, discontinuous, and possibly disruptive changes in military weapons, concepts of operations (i.e., approaches to warfighting), and organization that are prompted by significant changes in technology or the emergence of new and different international security challenge.‖27 8. Initial Operational Capability
―Initial operational capability‖ (IOC) is defined by the Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms as ―[t]he first attainment of the capability to employ effectively a weapon, item of equipment, or system of approved
26 ―Contingency,‖ Merriam-Webster Online,
http://www.merriamwebster.com/dictionary/contingency (accessed on February 22, 2011).
27 Ronald O‘Rourke, Defense Transformation: Background and Oversight Issues for Congress
(Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, 2005), p. 3. Available at http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/report/crs/crs_rl32238_apr05.pdf (accessed on April 26, 2011).
specific characteristics that is manned or operated by an adequately trained, equipped, and supported military unit or force.‖28 Perhaps a better definition of the term IOC as used in the context of this thesis is provided by the Defense Acquisition University, which states that ―[i]n general, [IOC is] attained when some units and/or organizations in the force structure scheduled to receive a system 1) have received it and 2) have the ability to employ and maintain it.‖29 9. Open-source
Open-source, as used in this text, means that all sources are openly available to the average person with access to a decent library or internet connection. It excludes entirely classified, compartmented, or restricted information sources. This definition is derived from the definition of open-source intelligence, or OSINT, which is ―intelligence that is produced from publicly available information and is collected, exploited, and disseminated in a timely manner to an appropriate audience for the purpose of addressing a specific intelligence requirement.‖30 10. Probability of kill (Pk)
According to Hall, probability of kill is a statistical measure of the likelihood that a target will be incapacitated. In most military engagements, it only matters that a given target is removed from action (―incapacitated‖), not necessarily that it is truly ―killed.‖31 H. LIMITATIONS This research is based on an assessment of U.S. perceptions of a threat made from afar, and therefore is inherently subject to both the researcher‘s personal biases and also potentially a lack of true understanding of the key issues involved in the subject that would be more apparent to an insider. However, it attempts to deal with
28 See ―initial operational capability,‖ Joint Publication 1-02, Department of Defense Dictionary of
Military and Associated Terms, November 8, 2010 (as amended through December 31, 2010).
29 See ―Initial Operational Capability (IOC),‖ Defense Acquisition University, April 6, 2010,
https://acc.dau.mil/CommunityBrowser.aspx?id=28937 (accessed on February 8, 2011).
30 Congress of the United States, ―National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006,‖
http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgibin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=109_cong_public_laws&docid=f:publ163.1 09 (accessed on February 22, 2011).
31 Joseph Hall, ed., Principles of Naval Weapons Systems, undated, http://www.scribd.com/doc/50124958/211/Probability-of-Kill-Pk (accessed on April 22, 2011).
this limitation by examining a large number of studies in the literature review. These studies are drawn from U.S. government sources as well as academic studies unaffiliated with the U.S. government. This thesis is also limited by the fact that it uses only English-language materials. In some cases, English-language materials used herein contained translations from Chinese. Depending on the skill of the translator, errors and omissions may have resulted. While this is not as good as relying first-hand on Chinese language sources, it does at least include viewpoints taken from Chinese language sources second-hand. I. METHODOLOGY This thesis employed primarily document analysis to explore the research question. When possible, it used primary source materials, but when using such primary sources was impractical or not feasible, secondary sources were also used.32 The author made an effort to judge the impartiality of source materials, particularly U.S. defense industry-related materials. 33 Independent sources were preferred and preferentially sought out. J. THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK Three levels of analysis are thought to exist in international politics: the individual level (sometimes referred to as the ―micro‖ level); the state, nation, or unit
32 Primary source material this study will examine include official U.S. government reports such as the annual Department of Defense reports to Congress on China‘s military power, reports of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, and other Congressional reports. It will also use the national defense white papers issued bi-annually by the government of the People‘s Republic of China as an insight into Chinese thinking on their own defense issues. 33 One resource that will be used for assessing the quality of research from selected think tanks is
the guide to global think tanks published annually by James G. McGann of the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program at the University of Pennsylvania. The latest version of this guide (2009) can be found at http://www.ony.unu.edu/2009_Global_Go_To_Report_(Think_Tank_Index)_1.31.10.pdf. While the rating of a think tank in general may not be the most accurate depiction of the quality or impartiality of a particular study or work from a given think tank, it provides a starting point for such an assessment.
level; and the system or international level.34 The individual level places emphasis on the characteristics and traits of leaders and other significant individuals who are in positions of influence. The state level is concerned with the internal characteristics of a state, such as demographics, political parties, and interest groups. The system level primarily emphasizes anarchy and the structure of the international system and how these characteristics affect the behavior of states. The level of analysis for this thesis is the system (international) level. This analysis will not place emphasis on states‘ internal makeup or the traits of the people who lead them, but will instead emphasize states‘ relative power in the international system and their interactions. 35 Both PRC actions and U.S. perceptions of those actions are conducted within the international system of states. The research is also based on a framework of rationality. It assumes that the states examined are capable of identifying their interests and that they seek to maximize what they see as their interests. Further, it assumes that in doing so, they make use of a cost-benefit analysis procedure.36 It is where the interests of the states examined herein collide that the possibility for conflict arises. For example, China views developing capabilities that would allow it to restrict American access to the Western Pacific as serving its national interests. The U.S., on the other hand, sees maintaining free access to the Western Pacific as serving its interests. If these opposing viewpoints are not in some way tempered, at some point there will be conflict.
34 The three-level system is based on Kenneth N. Waltz, Man, the State, and War: A Theoretical
Analysis (New York: Columbia University Press, 2001). Waltz believes that the system level is the most important in understanding the behavior of states. Other theorists disagree: Singer asserts that there are but two levels, system and state. See J. David Singer, ―The Level-of-Analysis Problem in International Relations,‖ World Politics, Vol. 14, No. 1, The International System: Theoretical Essays (October 1961), pp. 77-92. Yet another theorist agrees with Waltz on the three levels but disagrees as to which level has the greatest utility in explaining the behavior of states. Kaplan writes that the state level is of the greatest importance in international politics. See Morton A. Kaplan, System and Process in International Politics (Colchester: ECPR Press, 2005). This researcher agrees with Waltz‘s theory.
35 Joshua S. Goldstein and Jon C. Pevehouse, International Relations (Ninth Edition) (New York: Longman, 2010), p. 18. 36 Goldstein and Pevehouse, p. 74.
THESIS OVERVIEW This chapter (chapter one) has briefly introduced the topic, provided key
definitions, stated the problem and the research question, and explained the theoretical framework and research method employed. Chapter two will be the literature review, examining comprehensive works on the A2/AD threat environment in the Western Pacific, indicating where they need updating, and then introducing newer studies with more narrow focus on specific aspects of the Chinese A2/AD threat which present information that can be integrated into a comprehensive, updated work. It will also examine what is known about U.S. concepts for fighting in a robust A2/AD environment. In chapter three the thesis will present an updated and comprehensive examination of Chinese A2/AD capabilities based on U.S. sources (U.S. perceptions), drawn from materials presented in the literature review and other resources. Chapter four will be an assessment of the implications of the perceived threat on U.S. military operations in the Western Pacific. The fifth and final chapter will offer conclusions and a set of recommendations for U.S. policymakers.
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REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE
INTRODUCTION 1. Research Problem
Since China has undertaken the task of creating various A2/AD capabilities to deter or slow U.S. intervention in a potential Western Pacific contingency, the U.S. is forced to respond. The U.S. response is shaped by its perception of the threat, or its interpretation of the seriousness of the Chinese A2/AD capabilities as compared to its own strategy, operational concepts, tactics, techniques, procedures, and potential countermeasures, just to name a few factors. 2. Three Areas of Focus
The literature review will address three areas related to China‘s development of A2/AD capabilities. In an effort to present the U.S. perception of the threat, the first section will address comprehensive U.S.-produced research related to China‘s A2/AD capabilities, specifically indicating areas where the existing scholarship is in need of updating. The second section will examine research focusing on specific aspects or single areas or capabilities in China‘s A2/AD capability suite, aiming to show how this body of research can be integrated into a more comprehensive study, creating as robust a picture of the US threat perception as possible. The third and final section will discuss research related to U.S. operational designs for functioning within a robust A2/AD environment like the one presented by modern-day China and what is known about U.S. countermeasures, mainly in terms of systems or hardware, against Chinese A2/AD threats. By examining these three areas, the stage will be set for the subsequent comprehensive presentation of the Chinese A2/AD threat, as the US perceives it, in chapter three. B. LITERATURE REVIEW 1. U.S. Perceptions of Chinese A2/AD Capabilities
Several recent U.S.-produced works have examined the Chinese A2/AD challenge in a comprehensive fashion. These works will serve as the foundation and 20
starting point for this research. This section begins with a comparison of two editions – 2000 and 2010 – of the most authoritative open-source DoD document that describes Chinese A2/AD capabilities: its annual Report to Congress on PRC military power.37 Then, it examines the most complete single comprehensive U.S. work on Chinese A2/AD capabilities, a 2007 report by the RAND Corporation. Finally, this section ends with a look at the most recent comprehensive work on Chinese A2/AD capabilities, a 2010 report from the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA). a. DoD China Military Power Reports: From 2000 to 2010
The Fiscal Year (FY) 2000 (FY 00) National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) mandated that each year the DoD report to Congress on China‘s military power.38 Since these reports represent the official view of not just the DoD, but the entire U.S. government writ large regarding Chinese military power, 39 they have come to be quite influential and highly anticipated in some circles, while at the same time being very unpopular with the Chinese themselves.40 These reports are anonymously authored purportedly by China and East Asia experts in the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) at the Pentagon. OSD is the bureaucratic entity at the pinnacle of the DoD hierarchy that encompasses
37 The first such report was issued in 2000 pursuant to requirements levied in the FY 2000 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The report is typically released to the public in the spring, though political and other considerations sometimes delay its release. For example, the 2010 report was delayed until Fall because of a desire not to negatively impact other bilateral Sino-U.S. initiatives. An archive of the FY 2002 to FY 2008 reports can be found at http://www.defense.gov/pubs/china.html. 38 The U.S. Government‘s fiscal year begins on October 1 each year and continues through the end of the following September. For example, fiscal year 2012 (FY 2012) will begin on October 1, 2011 and end on September 30, 2012. 39 According to a high-level DoD official whose office has overall responsibility for drafting the
annual report speaking in 2008 upon the release of that year‘s report, the report is coordinated across the entire interagency, to include the White House, the National Security Council, the Department of State, the intelligence community and others, meaning that it truly represents a collective view. At the same time, there is little doubt that the extensive coordination required for the report is at least partially responsible for the frequent delays in its release. See Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs), ―DoD News Briefing with David Sedney from the Pentagon Briefing Room, Arlington, Va.,‖ U.S. Department of Defense News Transcript, March 3, 2008, http://www.defense.gov/transcripts/transcript.aspx?transcriptid=4165 (accessed on April 24, 2011).
40 Ibid. The release of the report invariably sours Sino-U.S. relations. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia David Sedney (mentioned in ibid.) noted that the DoD anticipates negative feedback from the Chinese each year upon the report‘s release, and that in fact the DoD makes a point of briefing the PRC‘s Defense Attaché on the report soon after the report is briefed to the U.S. Congress in order to minimize official friction.
the secretary of defense as well as various subordinate bureaucratic divisions responsible for high-level defense-related policymaking and decision-making. The purpose of these reports on China‘s military is primarily to inform Congressional leaders about the PLA‘s current and probable future technological development, as well as their primary military and security strategies, military organization and operational concepts.41 Secondarily, they serve to provide the same information to members of the general public interested in the PLA. The report is produced in both classified and unclassified forms, but only the unclassified version is released to the public. The first report, issued in 2000, was relatively short, consisted only of text (no charts, maps, or other graphics were included), and had little to say about the Chinese A2/AD threat. In fact, Chinese A2/AD capabilities warranted only a single mention in the entire report, in a section dealing with information operations (IO) and information warfare (IW):
China has the capability to penetrate poorly protected US computer systems and could potentially use CNA [computer network attack] to attack specific US civilian and military infrastructures. This anti-access strategy is centered on targeting operational centers of gravity, including C4I [command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence] centers, airbases, and aircraft carrier battle groups located around the periphery of China.42
The 2005 edition marked a departure in the series of annual China military power reports in that it was the first time the DoD explicitly stated that the PRC was focusing on developing an anti-access strategy.43 By then ―anti-access‖ had garnered its own heading in the report‘s table of contents (in the chapter entitled ―Force Modernization Goals and Trends‖). The report noted that at the time, China seemed only to be aiming for control of their local seas (that is, the waters
41 Section 1246, ―Annual Report on Military and Security Developments Involving the People‘s
Republic of China,‖ National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010, Public Law 111-84. See http://intelligence.senate.gov/pdfs/military_act_2009.pdf.
42 Taken from Office of the Secretary of Defense, ―Annual Report on the Military Power of the
People‘s Republic of China,‖ June 22, 2000, http://www.defense.gov/news/jun2000/china06222000.htm (accessed on April 6, 2011). The report is only available online in HTML format and thus has no page numbers. The quoted material is taken from Section II.C.1.c, ―Information Operations/Information Warfare‖ approximately half-way through the report. Antiaccess,‖ Joint Forces Quarterly, Issue 60, 1st Quarter 2011, p. 96. Available at http://www.ndu.edu/press/lib/images/jfq-60/JFQ60_95-101_Flaherty.pdf.
43 Michael P. Flaherty, ―Red Wings Ascendant: The Chinese Air Force Contribution to
immediately adjacent to its Eastern seaboard, including Taiwan), but stated that several indicators would mark Chinese aspirations for a broader anti-access approach. These indicators included: the development of an aircraft carrier, the cultivation of robust anti-submarine warfare (ASW) skills, the genesis of a genuine anti-air combat capability, extensive expansion of the PLAN nuclear attack submarine fleet, increased ―blue water‖ training, and, finally, the establishment of efficacious maritime command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) networks.44 As will be covered more extensively later in this thesis, several of these indicators have since been attained by the PRC. By 2010, the report had swollen to over 70 pages in length, complete with multiple full-color maps, charts, and graphs. Several sections of the report were considered compulsory (i.e. they were included in each year‘s report), while other special sections were added or removed on an annual basis depending on that year‘s events and so forth. The 2010 report, in an effort to quell some of the negative reactions typically encountered from the Chinese in response to its release, had a slight name change. Instead of simply being a Report to Congress on the military power of the PRC, this new report concerned ―military and security developments‖ involving the PRC. The FY 2010 NDAA amended the original FY 2000 requirement for the report to add coverage of U.S.-PRC engagement, including military-to-military contacts, and perhaps most importantly, to describe the U.S. plan for greater engagement and cooperation in the future.45 The 2010 report contained a specific section on Chinese A2/AD capabilities as a subset of a chapter about force modernization goals and trends.46 Importantly, it specifically frames Chinese A2/AD efforts as part of PRC strategy to seize Taiwan. Moreover, the 2010 report asserts that to keep third parties from intervening in what it considers its own internal matters, China is pursuing a mixture
44 Office of the Secretary of Defense, The Military Power of the People’s Republic of China 2005
(Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 2005), p. 33. Available at http://www.defense.gov/news/jul2005/d20050719china.pdf (accessed on April 6, 2011).
45 Section 1246, Public Law 111-84. 46 For a useful resource specifically on PLA Navy (PLAN) modernization, see Ronald O‘Rourke,
―China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities—Background and Issues for Congress,‖ Congressional Research Service RL33153, February 3, 2011, http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/RL33153.pdf.
of air, space, counter-space, surface, underwater and IW systems, and operational ideas designed to engage military forces attempting to operate in the Western Pacific at long-range.47 A crucial prerequisite to any and all parts of these A2/AD efforts is dominance of the ―information spectrum,‖ which runs the gamut from computer network operations (CNO), advanced electronic warfare (EW), and counter-space operations on the high end of the technological spectrum, to traditional Communist Party of China (CPC) strongholds like propaganda and information denial by way of subterfuge on the low end. The report surmises that gaining information superiority early in a conflict will enable the PLA to also seize air and sea superiority.48 More traditionally, the PRC‘s A2/AD advances have largely been maritime in nature. The PLAN continued to develop its surface and subsurface fleets, expanding and modernizing its conventional and nuclear-powered submarines and making more of them capable of firing advanced anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCMs). Meanwhile, the PLAN also expanded its surface forces, outfitting its guided missile destroyers with advanced long-range anti-air and anti-ship missiles. Maritime strike aircraft capable of firing ASCMs and the land-based counter-naval ASBM completed the PRC‘s conventional A2/AD capability suite. In total, these maritime capability developments, along with special operations forces (SOF) and CNO capabilities, would enable the PLA to strike at regional air bases, ports, and other logistics and manpower-related facilities critical to U.S. force generation.49 In terms of air aspects of China‘s A2/AD capability set, the 2010 report states that China‘s anti-air capabilities are well-developed, featuring long-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems purchased from Russia as well as indigenouslydeveloped systems. These systems are thought to have a good capability against cruise missiles but to have a limited effect against all but the shortest-range tactical ballistic missiles. China is also developing a separate ballistic missile defense capability that will be effective against a greater variety of ballistic missiles using
47 Office of the Secretary of Defense, Annual Report to Congress: Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2010 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 2010), p. 29. 48 Office of the Secretary of Defense (2010), p. 30. 49 Office of the Secretary of Defense (2010), pp. 30-31.
kinetic energy intercepts of targets in the upper atmosphere and even exo-atmospheric missiles.50 The report also mentions China‘s air forces (the PLAAF and PLANAF – People‘s Liberation Army Navy Air Force [naval aviation]) and their role in A2/AD. The PLAAF would use fourth-generation aircraft to fight for local air dominance, including variants of the Russian Su-27 and Su-30 and the indigenous F10 design.51 The PLANAF would use Russian Su-30MK2 fighters armed with antiship missiles as well as FB-7 fighter-bombers in maritime interdiction scenarios.52 While the 2010 DoD report covered all the bases in discussing PRC anti-access capabilities, it did not go into much depth about any of them. Additionally, when specifically examining the section about the air component of the PRC A2/AD effort, there is no mention of the J-20 stealth fighter-bomber unveiled in January 2011. The surprise (and quite public) roll-out of this aircraft, conducted at the same time that U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates was visiting Beijing in an effort to mend military ties between the two countries, was quite provocative and signals what is potentially a significant new platform in China‘s A2/AD suite of capabilities.53 b. Entering the Dragon’s Lair: Chinese Antiaccess Strategies and Their Implications for the United States (2007)
Researchers from the RAND Corporation authored a study of Chinese A2/AD capabilities in 2007. The report was produced in response to growing concerns among U.S. defense analysts about a potential adversary‘s use of anti-access strategies to limit U.S. force deployments into particular areas or regions, restricting
50 Office of the Secretary of Defense (2010), p. 33. 51 According to the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission‘s 2010 report, fourthgeneration fighters were developed between 1970 and 1990 and ―were equipped with increasingly sophisticated avionics and weapon systems. A key area of emphasis was maneuverability rather than speed.‖ See U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, 2010 Report to Congress, November 2010, p. 77. 52 Office of the Secretary of Defense (2010), p. 33. 53 Andrew Scobell‘s recent testimony before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review
Commission posits that the manner in which the J-20 was unveiled may have been intended to send the U.S. a message about its technological and military capabilities. It is more likely, Scobell believes, that this development signals a significant disconnect in Chinese civil-military relations and indicates the continued weakness and lack of credibility that post-Deng PRC paramount leaders have had in the eyes of the PLA. See Andrew Scobell, The J-20 Episode and Civil-Military Relations in China (Product CT357), Written testimony submitted to the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission on March 10, 2011.
locations U.S. forces could effectively operate from, or forcing them to operate from bases much farther away from the location of the conflict than optimal. The purpose of the report, entitled Entering the Dragon’s Lair: Chinese Antiaccess Strategies and Their Implications for the United States, was to ―determine what types of anti-access measures China might employ in the event of a conflict with the United States, assess the potential effects of such measures, and identify actions the United States can take and capabilities it should acquire to reduce these effects.‖ Their report was the first published comprehensive work that explored specific anti-access methods under consideration for use by the Chinese.54 RAND Corporation is a major American think-tank headquartered at Santa Monica, CA, but that also maintains a large presence in Washington, DC and other major U.S. cities as well as in several major international cities. A non-profit institution established after WWII under a mandate with the U.S. Army Air Forces and chartered exclusively with national security-related research, RAND was spun off from military affiliation in 1948. Its mission is ―[t]o help improve policy and decision-making through research and analysis.‖55 According to a ranking of global think-tanks published in 2010, RAND was regarded as the fourth best overall (out of over 6,300 entities) and also the fourth best worldwide on security and international affairs issues.56 This study on Chinese anti-access strategies was co-sponsored by U.S. Air Force headquarters and the commander of U.S. Air Forces in the Pacific region.57 The research was done by a specific division of the RAND Corporation known as Project AIR FORCE (PAF), which is the U.S. Air Force‘s federally funded center for independent studies and analysis.58 The researchers‘ methods in this study included thorough examination of Chinese military doctrinal writings drawn from articles in professional journals,
54 Cliff, et al., p. iii. 55 ―RAND at a Glance,‖ http://www.rand.org/about/glance.html. 56 James G. McGann, ―The Global ‗Go-To Think Tanks‘ 2009‖ (Revised January 31, 2010), p. 29
(overall ranking); p. 43 (security and international affairs ranking), http://www.ony.unu.edu/2009_Global_Go_To_Report_(Think_Tank_Index)_1.31.10.pdf. This report has been issued annually since 2006 by the University of Pennsylvania Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program and is based on survey data from scholars, experts, and policy makers worldwide.
57 Cliff, et al., p. iii. 58 Ibid., p. v. For more information about RAND‘s Project AIR FORCE, see http://www.rand.org/paf/about.html.
reportage in Chinese military newspapers, books on Chinese military doctrine, and contemporary Western works on Chinese strategic thought. They developed an assessment of the potential effectiveness of Chinese anti-access capabilities by analyzing the probability of the PLA actually implementing a given capability and, in turn, examining how said implementation would affect U.S. military operations (based on the opinion of both RAND and outside military experts).59 Entering the Dragon‘s Lair presented a comprehensive assessment of China‘s anti-access capabilities as of June 2006. Such capabilities included the ability to attack American command and control, intelligence, and networked computer systems; anti-satellite capabilities; attacks on air bases and ports in the region; blockades; interdicting sea lines of communication (SLOCs); attacking aircraft carriers; and one final non-weapons-system-based capability that may be of the most significance: Chinese political pressure on U.S. allies in the region, which might be able to prevent the use of U.S. bases in these countries in the event of a Western Pacific contingency involving China. RAND‘s analysis of authoritative Chinese sources concluded that the critical vulnerabilities of U.S. forces operating against China in the Western Pacific included supply lines and networked data systems.60 The RAND report‘s key finding was that development of Chinese A2/AD capabilities may actually increase the PRC leadership‘s perception of their chances of defeating the U.S. in a Western Pacific conflict, thereby increasing the chances of miscalculation at the point of conflict initiation. China may overestimate the effectiveness of its A2/AD capabilities as a deterrent against U.S. intervention in a Western Pacific contingency.61 The RAND report also presented a number of useful suggestions for American defense planners and policymakers to ameliorate the effectiveness of the Chinese A2/AD strategy as well as suggestions for new or improved U.S. capabilities toward the same ends. Suggested actions included the deployment of additional air defense assets near critical facilities, diversifying basing options for aircraft in the Asia-Pacific region, developing counter-special operations forces (SOF) capabilities,
59 Ibid., p. xiv. 60 Ibid., pp. xv-xvi. 61 Ibid., pp. xvii-xviii.
hardening communications electronics to protect from harmful effects of high-altitude nuclear detonations, reducing the vulnerability of C4ISR capabilities to jamming and other means of attack, and building allied capabilities. Ideas offered for new or improved capabilities were improved ballistic missile defense (BMD) systems, antisatellite weapons (and the means to protect or harden our satellites from ASAT threats), more responsive ISR capabilities, improvements in minesweeping and antisubmarine warfare (ASW) proficiency, improved land- and sea-based cruise missile defenses, and finally, extended-range air defense capabilities (as well as counters to enemy long-range surface-to-air and air-to-air missile capabilities).62 Several conclusions are evident from this RAND study. It makes plain that the threat is real, and that it is significant, but notes that it is not one which cannot be countered. RAND presents options for both current-day fixes and improvements that can be implemented relatively easily and cheaply, as well as more involved, longer-term, and more costly ideas for weapons systems or countermeasure development and changes to doctrine and employment of resources.63 In considering regional scenarios likely to lead to U.S.-China conflict, Cliff, et al., indicate that questions remain as to whether the Chinese A2/AD threat might be able to delay U.S. intervention in a potential Taiwan Strait conflict long enough to effect a collapse of military resistance in Taiwan, thereby presenting the U.S. with a fait accompli. 64 Likewise, a U.S. military slowed by robust A2/AD measures would be less likely to be able to successfully resist a combined Chinese-North Korean push to occupy the Korean Peninsula due to the fact that such a campaign would be heavily dependent on U.S. ground forces, which take longer to surge into a theater of operations than do naval and air forces.65
62 Ibid., pp. xviii-xix. 63 Ibid., p. 111, 116. 64 Ibid., pp. 112-113. Berkowitz, writing in 2003, described how such an attack might succeed. In his hypothetical scenario, the PRC caused just a 30-minute outage of U.S. reconnaissance satellites in the Western Pacific by way of computer network attack (CNA). The outage was just enough time to roll out their road-mobile short-range ballistic missile forces and use them to destroy one hundred key targets in Taiwan. Then, taking advantage of the ensuing chaos, China launched additional missile attacks and air strikes, and by the end of the day was ready to conduct a cross-strait surface assault. Temporarily blinded and unable to prevent the attacks from starting, the U.S. was then faced with the decidedly unpalatable prospect of going to war with China over Taiwan without a foothold on Taiwan itself. See Bruce Berkowitz, The New Face of War: How War Will Be Fought in the 21 st Century (New York: The Free Press, 2003), pp. 165-168. 65 Cliff, et al., p. 113.
In some areas the RAND report‘s information is a bit dated or inadequate. For instance, its coverage of the ASBM as an anti-carrier weapon is quite short (a single paragraph), but understandably so as the technology was still largely theoretical at the time the report was published in 2007.66 Since then, U.S. military sources have indicated that the ASBM can be considered to be at an ―initial operational capability‖, which means that the system has been fielded to some PLA units and that it has performed satisfactorily in operational tests – though notably in this case, not in a full profile overwater test.67 Therefore, it is important to update the scholarship presented in the RAND report in this particular area. Entering the Dragon’s Lair is also somewhat out-of-date in its assessment of Chinese missile capabilities, mainly owing to the fact that China has continued to vigorously expand and improve its missile forces in the time since the report was released nearly five years ago. Recent developments in China‘s conventional missile forces will be explored further later in this thesis. Cliff, et al., raise an important point about the highly escalatory nature of some of these A2/AD weapons and capabilities, particularly if used against U.S. bases and facilities hosted by allies in the region, such as those in Japan and South Korea. Such attacks might very well strengthen the resolve of the Japanese or South Koreans to aid the U.S. against China, or at the very least, to not impede U.S. use of the bases and other facilities in their country, something that was mentioned earlier as a potentially significant political outcome seen as desirable to Beijing. Additionally, attacks on U.S. military facilities in Guam (a U.S. territory) or Hawaii (a U.S. state) could be seen as a casus belli by the American people for a wider war beyond the limited conflict possibly envisioned as winnable by the PRC leadership.68
66 Ibid., pp. 92-93. 67 A December 28, 2010 article in the Tokyo newspaper Asahi Shimbun quoted U.S. Pacific
Command Commander Admiral Robert Willard as saying that ―I would gauge it [the Chinese anti-ship ballistic missile] as about the equivalent of a U.S. system that has achieved IOC [initial operational capability].‖ See Yoichi Kato, ―U.S. commander says China aims to be a 'global military' power,‖ Asahi Shimbun, December 28, 2010. The Kato article is also the source of the material about not having seen an overwater full-profile test of the ASBM system. Willard is quoted as saying that ―[w]e have not seen an over-water test of the entire [ASBM] system.‖ ‗Initial operational capability‘ is defined on page 14 of this thesis.
68 Cliff, et al., p. 115.
Why AirSea Battle? (2010)
The most recent comprehensive U.S. work on China‘s A2/AD capabilities was released by the Washington, DC-based Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) in early 2010. The report was published on the heels of the 2009 decision within the DoD to explore a new multi-service operational concept to address what was seen as a growing threat to access in the Western Pacific by China, and to a lesser extent, in the Arabian Gulf by the Iranians. 69 (The operational concept was originally envisioned as a joint Air Force – Navy project, based on the predominant forces that would be employed in these regions.) The purpose of CSBA‘s report was to explain the A2/AD threat environment as a means of introduction for thinking about a new U.S. operational concept to combat the threat, referred to as ―AirSea Battle‖ or the ―AirSea Battle Concept‖ (sometimes abbreviated ASBC) and to argue for the necessity of such a joint AirSea Battle concept. CSBA is ―an independent, nonpartisan policy research institute established to promote innovative thinking and debate about national security strategy and investment options.‖70 Though they are not ranked on the 2009 list of global ―goto‖ think-tanks, CSBA has earned a reputation for focusing their research on defense policy issues like A2/AD threats, and several of its former employees have gone on to hold influential positions in the defense establishments of both the George W. Bush administration and the current Obama administration.71 The report is based almost entirely on the author‘s experience, expertise, and views. Dr. Andrew F. Krepinevich, Jr., served over twenty years on active duty in the U.S. Army (USA), with much of that time spent on high-level planning staffs in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Since his retirement from the
69 Andrew Krepinevich, Why AirSea Battle?, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, February 2010, p. 1. 70 Krepinevich (2010), section entitled ―About the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments,‖ n.p. 71 For example, Robert O. Work, co-author of the 2003 paper Meeting the Anti-Access and AreaDenial Challenge, is now the Under Secretary of the Navy (the second-ranking civilian official in the Department of the Navy), a position where he likely is able to exert considerable influence over how the Navy prepares to execute its part in a potential AirSea Battle Concept designed to address A2/AD threats. See ―Under Secretary of the Navy, The Honorable Robert O. Work,‖ U.S. Navy, http://www.navy.mil/navydata/bios/navybio.asp?bioID=507 (accessed April 6, 2011).
military, he has served on numerous influential defense advisory boards and panels, most recently on the Secretary of Defense‘s prestigious Defense Policy Board, of which he is currently a member. Dr. Krepinevich was educated at the U.S. Military Academy and at Harvard University. He has taught national security and defense policymaking courses at the U.S. Military Academy, George Mason University, Georgetown University, and the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. He is the president of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.72 In the CSBA report, Krepinevich described the layered and overlapping means by which the PRC would use its various A2/AD capabilities, ranging from ASAT and cyber attacks; ballistic missile and long-range aviation threats to theater ports, airfields, and other U.S. troop concentrations and bases; ASBMs; ASCMs (land-, sea-, and air-launched); submarines; and an extremely robust air defense system.73 The unique contribution of the CSBA report lies in its coverage of what could be referred to as Chinese counter-battle network capabilities such as ASAT and CNO.74 These capabilities would be instrumental for the PRC in degrading U.S. ISR and communications capabilities in the opening stages of a potential conflict in the Western Pacific. 75 Since it was published relatively recently, this report includes coverage of China‘s 2007 successful direct ascent ASAT test, importantly framing this event with an account of previous U.S. intelligence estimates on when the PRC might be able to attain such a capability. The trend here, as can almost be said to be applicable across the board with regard to U.S. assessments of Chinese military capability development, is that the U.S. consistently misunderstands when
72 Biographical information from Krepinevich (2010), front matter section entitled ―About the Author,‖ n.p.; also ―Andrew F. Krepinevich,‖ Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments website, http://www.csbaonline.org/about/people/akrepinevich/ (accessed on April 6, 2011). For information about the Defense Policy Board, see footnote 18 on page 8 of this thesis. 73 Krepinevich (2010), pp. 13-25. 74 See page 12 of this thesis for the definition of a battle network. 75 Ibid., p. 16.
various capabilities will be operational (that is, overestimates how long it will take for China to attain a given capability).76 On the CNO front, while little information about the PRC‘s true capability is available publicly,77 it is widely believed that China is quite advanced. In fact, an element of the U.S. intelligence community has publicly decried China‘s daily interference and probing of both military and private sector networks in the U.S.78 Yet despite the inclusion of these discussions on Chinese CNO and ASAT capabilities in this report, and despite the fact that the U.S. and PRC governments go to great pains to keep silent about one of them (CNO – for reasons articulated above), much more can be said about them, and indeed has been said. Contemporary reports released under the auspices of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission (in the case of Chinese CNO capabilities) and the writings of Saunders, Lutes, Hagt, and Zhang on Chinese ASAT developments can and should be more fully exploited for additional insights into how this pair of critical capabilities affect potential U.S. military operations in the Western Pacific.79 Regarding more conventional aspects of China‘s A2/AD arsenal, after examining the capabilities of the Chinese ASBM and the PLAN submarine fleet, Krepinevich concludes that even if U.S. carrier strike groups were able to survive
76 Krepinevich (2010), p. 15; Ehrhard attributes this analytical deficit to a lack of understanding of Chinese strategic thinking and what he refers to as America‘s ―attention deficit disorder‖ – an inability to keep focused on important threats for a sufficient amount of time. See Tom Ehrhard, ―Maintaining an Effective Deterrent Posture in the Pacific,‖ testimony before the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, February 2, 2007, pp. 4-5. Available at http://www.uscc.gov/hearings/2007hearings/written_testimonies/07_02_01_02wrts/07_02_1_2_ehrhar d_tom_statement.pdf (accessed on April 6, 2011). 77 Obviously the PRC would be foolish to confirm any alleged CNO capability. Likewise, U.S.
intelligence would be remiss be to reveal any clandestinely-obtained information confirming any true PRC CNO capability, potentially revealing extremely sensitive sources and methods.
78 Krepinevich (2010), p. 16. 79 On Chinese CNO capabilities, see Bryan Krekel, ―Capability of the People‘s Republic of China
to Conduct Cyber Warfare and Computer Network Exploitation,‖ Prepared for The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, Oct. 9, 2009, available at http://www.uscc.gov/researchpapers/2009/NorthropGrumman_PRC_Cyber_Paper_FINAL_Approved %20Report_16Oct2009.pdf (accessed on April 6, 2011). On Chinese ASAT capabilities, see Phillip C. Saunders and Charles D. Lutes, ―China‘s ASAT Test: Motivations and Implications,‖ Joint Forces Quarterly, Issue 46, 3rd Quarter 2007, pp. 39-45 (available at https://digitalndulibrary.ndu.edu/u?/ndupress,19897); Eric Hagt, ―China‘s ASAT Test: Strategic Response,‖ China Security, Winter 2007, pp. 31-51; and Hui Zhang, "China's ASAT Capabilities: As a Potential Response to US Missile Defense and 'Space Control' Plans." Ensuring America's Space Security: Report of the FAS Panel on Weapons in Space, Federation of American Scientists (October 2004), available at http://www.fas.org/resource/10072004164453.pdf (accessed on April 6, 2011).
ASBM attacks at the far edge of China‘s A2/AD envelope and make it into the western Philippine Sea near Taiwan, these ships would then be threatened by ―barrages‖ of submarine-launched ASCMs and ―multiple‖ torpedo attacks.
Additionally, Krepinevich is particularly impressed with the PRC‘s SAM capabilities. He stated that ―[t]he density and sophistication of this [surface-to-air missile] network threatens the ability of even low-observable aircraft to operate effectively in Chinese airspace.‖81 The study‘s conclusion intones that the development of a ―no-go‖ zone in the Western Pacific by China leaves the U.S. with a strategic choice: develop the means necessary to counter the threat, or accept the loss of access. As the primary military services involved with air and naval force projection, the U.S. Air Force and Navy have received the task of figuring out how to project power into a robust A2/AD environment in the Western Pacific.82 The report overreaches somewhat in at least one place. In his conclusion, Dr. Krepinevich casts allusions of China‘s A2/AD efforts being akin to Imperial Japan‘s Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. 83 While the Chinese A2/AD capability can certainly be construed as a threat, leaps like this detract from the credibility of his report.
80 Krepinevich (2010), p. 23. 81 Ibid., pp. 23-24. 82 Ibid., p. 37. 83 Ibid., p. 25. The passage reads, ―As the great Chinese military theoretician, Sun Tzu, observed,
the acme of generalship is being able to win without fighting. It appears the PLA is incorporating this philosophy in its efforts to create an A2/AD network, whose ultimate goal appears to be to raise the U.S. cost of power-projection operations in the Western Pacific to prohibitive levels, thereby deterring any American effort to meet its defense obligations to allies in the region while setting the conditions for a potential latter-day Chinese Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere of influence‖ [emphasis added]. The Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere was essentially an analogue of the Imperial Japanese Empire which ―[a]t the peak of its expansion in early 1942…bestrode Asia like a colossus, one foot planted in the mid-Pacific, the other deep in the interior of China, its ambitious grasp reaching north to the Aleutian Islands and south to the Western colonial enclaves of Southeast Asia.‖ It was comprised of, in time, China, the Netherlands East Indies (Indonesia), French Indochina (Vietnam), the British colonial possessions of Burma, Malaya, and Hong Kong, and the U.S. colony in the Philippines. It aspired to reach India, Australia, and possibly even Hawaii. In the end, its ―most obvious legacy was death and destruction,‖ with as many as 15 million people dead in China alone. See John W. Dower, Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1999), pp. 21-22.
The research literature presented in this section of the literature review indicates that the DoD‘s interest in Chinese A2/AD developments has only grown over the past decade. As early as the mid-2000s, U.S. analysts were already setting benchmarks for indicators that would indicate that China‘s interests in maritime sea control had expanded beyond just their local waters. Meanwhile, analysts with the RAND Corporation and CSBA developed comprehensive pictures of the Chinese A2/AD threat, and, perhaps more importantly, began thinking about ways that the U.S. might be able to transcend the A2/AD challenge presented by China in the Western Pacific. Nonetheless, the research described above fails to incorporate the most recent developments in areas such as the Chinese ASBM, ballistic and cruise missile advances, and counter-battle network capabilities such as anti-space weapons and CNO. This thesis will address these shortfalls. 2. Chinese A2/AD Capabilities Comprehensive Studies Not Fully Integrated Into
This thesis will now engage research on specific Chinese A2/AD capabilities that have not been adequately integrated into overall assessments of China‘s A2/AD capabilities to date, focusing mainly on one type of threat (missiles, mainly ballistic missiles but also cruise missiles) with two important sub-sets (land and sea attack). China‘s focus on development of intermediate-range surface-to-surface ballistic missiles capable of performing an anti-access mission against U.S. bases or other facilities in the region or to strike ships at sea is an important asymmetric advantage over the U.S. and other countries in the region because the U.S. is unable to respond in kind, and because no other country in the region is pursuing these kinds of weapons.84 a. Using the Land to Control the Sea: Chinese Analysts Consider the Antiship Ballistic Missile (2009)
Erickson and Yang published a 2009 article in the peer-reviewed Naval War College Review on the ASBM that has come to be regarded as a standard-bearer
84 Krepinevich, p. 19. The U.S. is constrained by the 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with Russia that bans ballistic missiles with ranges from 300 to 3,500 miles. See also Mark Stokes, China’s Evolving Conventional Strategic Strike Capability: The anti-ship ballistic missile challenge to U.S. maritime operations in the Western Pacific and beyond (Arlington, VA: Project 2049 Institute, 2009), p. 37.
on the topic (though not everyone thinks their research is making a useful contribution).85 The ASBM is a capability currently unique to the PLA.86 The Naval War College Review is a publication of the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. Founded in 1948, the Review is a ―forum for discussion of public policy matters of interest to the maritime services.‖87 The Review does have its critics, though. A former American journalist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author on defense issues, Thomas E. Ricks, recently criticized the quality of material carried by the Review, causing a retired U.S. Navy officer to point out merit-worthy articles from recent issues.88 Andrew S. Erickson is a an associate professor at the U.S. Naval War College‘s Strategic Research Department and a founding member of the College‘s China Maritime Studies Institute. He was educated at Amherst College and Princeton University, has worked for a U.S. defense contractor as a Chinese translator and
85 Hooper and Albon find the ―raising [of] a hue and cry‖ over the Chinese ASBM with the publication of Erickson and Yang‘s research in 2009 to be unnecessary and too late. See Craig Hooper and Christopher Albon, ―Get Off the Fainting Couch,‖ U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings 136, No. 4 (April 2010), pp. 42-47. The other piece Hooper and Albon refer to in their critique, by the same authors, ran in the May 2009 edition of the U.S. Naval Institute‘s journal Proceedings. See Andrew S. Erickson and David D. Yang, ―On the Verge of a Game-Changer,‖ U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings 135, No. 5 (May 2009), pp. 26-32. Tangredi also weighed in on Erickson and Yang‘s contention that the Chinese ASBM somehow changed the rules of the game, assessing that it did not and that the authors‘ claims were overblown. See Sam J. Tangredi, ―No Game –Changer for China,‖ U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings 136, No. 2 (February 2010), pp. 24-29. 86 In fact, the PRC is the second country to develop an ASBM, though the first to do so, the Soviet Union, scrapped their system not long after it came on line, making the PRC the sole ASBM-capable country today. See Norman Polmar, ―Antiship Ballistic Missiles…Again,‖ U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, 131, No. 7 (July 2005), pp. 86-87. 87 ―Naval War College Review: Overview,‖ U.S. Naval War College,
http://www.usnwc.edu/Publications/Naval-War-College-Review.aspx (accessed April 14, 2011).
88 Thomas E. Ricks was a national security and defense reporter for the Wall Street Journal and
the Washington Post, and at each newspaper was part of a team of reporters who won the Pulitzer Prize (in 2000 and 2002, respectively). See ―Military Beat: Thomas E. Ricks,‖ Washington Post, 2006, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/linkset/2006/07/06/LI2006070600612.html (accessed on April 26, 2011). For critical views of the Naval War College Review, see Thomas E. Ricks, ―Military journalism roundup: Recently, Army magazine has surged ahead,‖ The Best Defense: Tom Ricks’s Daily Take on National Security, September 15, 2010, http://ricks.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/09/15/military_journalism_roundup_recently_army_magazin e_has_surged_ahead, and ―Proceedings editorial board takes on Naval Institute board over their mission,‖ The Best Defense: Tom Ricks’s Daily Take on National Security, March 9, 2011, http://ricks.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/03/09/proceedings_staff_takes_on_usni_board (both accessed on April 14, 2011). Giarra writes to defend the Review in the same forum. See Paul Giarra, ―The Naval War College Review: Why Tom's harsh assessment is off target,‖ The Best Defense: Tom Ricks’s Daily Take on National Security, April 7, 2011, http://ricks.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/04/07/the_naval_war_college_review_why_tom_s_harsh_ass essment_is_off_target?wpisrc=obinsite (accessed on April 14, 2011).
technical analyst, as well as at the U.S. embassy in Beijing and the U.S. consulate in Hong Kong. He has traveled extensively in Asia and lived in China, Japan, and Korea. His works have been published in numerous defense and foreign policy journals and he is co-editor and contributor to the ―Studies in Chinese Maritime Development‖ book series, which currently consists of five volumes.89 He is probably the premier U.S. researcher on the Chinese ASBM and Chinese A2/AD capabilities. David D. Yang is an associate political scientist with the Washington, DC office of the RAND Corporation where he focuses on Chinese and East Asian security issues and international political economy. Previously he was a visiting scholar at the Freeman Spogli Institute at Stanford University and before that a software engineer. He recently co-authored the RAND monograph Ready for Takeoff: China's Advancing Aerospace Industry.90 The purpose of this study was to ―investigate and assess Chinese views on developing, fielding, and ultimately…using‖ an ASBM system. 91 Erickson and Yang assessed Chinese aims in acquiring an ASBM capability to be directly related to their desire to limit other nations‘ ability (chiefly the U.S.) to project military power into ―disputed zones of core strategic importance‖ along China‘s maritime periphery. The authors assert that weapons like the ASBM are attractive to ―technologically limited developing countries‖ like China because they are an asymmetric way to overcome qualitative conventional inferiority.92 Erickson and Yang examined open-source Chinese language writings on the ASBM and distilled them into three categories – doctrinal, specialized technical, and generalist works. Through examination of literature in each category, they built a multi-faceted picture of how the ASBM might be used in operational
89 ―About Andrew Erickson,‖ http://www.andrewerickson.com/about/, 2011 (accessed April 14, 2011). One popular book in the series is Andrew S. Erickson, Lyle J. Goldstein, and Carnes Lord (eds.), China Goes to Sea: Maritime Transformation in Comparative Historical Perspective (Annapolis: U.S. Naval Institute Press, 2009). 90 Biographical information derived from ―David D. Yang‘s profile,‖ Amazon.com,
http://www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/A1M0EXNAM09BVF; ―David D. Yang: Visiting Scholar 2007-2008, CDDRL Pre-Doctoral Fellow 2006-2007 (former),‖ Stanford University Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law, http://cddrl.stanford.edu/people/daviddyang/ (both accessed on April 14, 2011); and Erickson and Yang, p. 53. Yang‘s monograph can be accessed at http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/MG1100.html.
91 Erickson and Yang, p. 55. 92 Ibid., p. 53.
scenarios, the specific technical characteristics of the weapon, its supporting infrastructure, and general deliberations on feasibility of its use.93 Doctrinal writings examined in aggregate indicated that an ASBM capability either already existed at the time the research was being done (2009) or was assumed to eventually exist (in other words, the doctrinal writings betrayed no doubts about the feasibility of such an ASBM system) and were considered to be the most authoritative of the categories of documents examined. At the same time, the generalist literature contained a great deal of variance about whether or not an ASBM was truly feasible and the debate between optimists and pessimists was described by the authors as being ―contentious.‖94 The three elements of the system that appeared most often in pessimistic works – possibly representing some of the most difficult to develop technologies – were real-time satellite reconnaissance, target tracking during the critical terminal reentry phase, and terminal maneuvering.95 Erickson and Yang‘s research also revealed that optimism or pessimism about the ASBM could often be attributed to interservice rivalry, with authors loyal to the Second Artillery Corps coming down most often on the optimist side and those with allegiance to the PLAN in the pessimist camp. This is thought to be based on the presumed operational control of the weapons falling under the Second Artillery.96 A final important dynamic they uncovered was the debate about the costeffectiveness of the ASBM as compared to other long-range strike media, most
93 Ibid., p. 57. 94 Ibid., p. 72. 95 Ibid., p. 72. On the difficulties inherent in the terminal reentry phase, including heat mitigation
and communications problems, see Stokes, ―China’s Evolving Conventional Strategic Strike Capability,‖ pp. 25-26.
96 While the ASBM would serve in a (counter) maritime role, which would logically be in the PLAN‘s realm, apparently since the weapon is ground-based and has as a progenitor the nuclearcapable CSS-5 (DF-21) missile, it was (or will be) given to the Second Artillery. See Erickson and Yang, p. 73. The Second Artillery is the PLA‘s strategic rocket force with primary responsibility for the PRC‘s nuclear arsenal as well as short-, medium-, and long-range strategic missiles and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). See James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Monterey Institute of International Studies, ―Second Artillery Corps (SAC),‖ Nuclear Threat Initiative, 2007, http://www.nti.org/db/china/sac.htm (accessed on April 14, 2011). Note that in the recently released China defense white paper (China’s National Defense in 2010), the Second Artillery is no longer referred to as the Second Artillery Corps (SAC), but instead the Second Artillery Force (SAF) [emphasis added]. See Information Office of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, China’s National Defense in 2010 (Beijing: State Council of the People's Republic of China, 2011), p. 9 and passim. Available at http://merln.ndu.edu/whitepapers/China_English2010.pdf (accessed on April 20, 2011).
notably cruise missiles. The debate was not simply one over how much each respective system or weapon cost (though that certainly was one aspect), but also one of effectiveness, particularly in relation to damaging maritime targets like carrier battle groups. The majority of the studies examined indicated that the effectiveness of the ASBM in penetrating the defenses of a carrier battle group was markedly greater than that of a cruise-type missile, thus creating a strong argument in favor of the ASBM over cruise missiles.97 Further, harking back to the asymmetric appeal of the ASBM alluded to at the beginning of the review of this article, Chinese authors see that foreign advantages in their own cruise missile technology and capabilities will not be easy to match, to say nothing of surpassing. The ASBM avoids the symmetrical attempt at parity and is regarded as the ―poor man‘s sea denial‖ weapon when compared to the costs of developing aircraft carriers and their attendant air wings. 98 The authors‘ overall assessment was that if viable, the ASBM would be an extremely hard weapon to defend against due to its high speed (Mach 10-12 at reentry), its radical maneuvering capability, 99 and the fact that it appears to target ―specific characteristics and limitations inherent in immutable physical laws and thus place the United States on the ‗wrong end of physics.‘‖100 The bottom line, according to Erickson and Yang, was that regardless of the feasibility of implementing the weapon system, the mere fact that foreign audiences might accept that it was possible would have an effect on decision makers‘ willingness to send forces within ASBM range. The Chinese ASBM threat is qualitatively different than that posed by anti-ship cruise missiles because intercepting an ASBM would be much more difficult (but not
97 Erickson and Yang, pp. 73-75. 98 Ibid., p. 75. 99 Ibid., p. 54. 100 Ibid., p. 80n12.
necessarily more time sensitive, as Erickson and Yang state).101 They also state that the U.S. has not had decades to prepare for an ASBM threat, while ASCMs have been part of the maritime threat picture for decades. Again true, but one must also consider that the U.S. has been developing ABM capabilities essentially since the missile age began. As a part of this U.S. ABM effort at sea, the Aegis combat system is a proven, comprehensive anti-air, anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare system for U.S. Navy carrier escorts that has been installed on dozens of ships worldwide and that has been in service since the 1980s.102 A final shortcoming of Erickson and Yang‘s analysis is that they posit that one of the reasons the ASBM threat is qualitatively different from that of another
101 Ibid., p. 77. Erickson and Yang allude to the U.S. Navy having less time to react to an ASBM attack due to the high speed at which a ballistic missile travels, which is true on the face of things, but if you consider that air- and sea-launched antiship cruise missiles would necessarily be launched much closer in to U.S. naval forces (owing to their shorter ranges) and also recognize that certain models of ASCMs in the Chinese inventory (namely the SS-N-27 Sizzler, a Russian-built weapon capable of being launched from China‘s Russian-built Kilo class submarines) can travel at speeds approaching Mach 3 (note that this is only during their terminal phase, or the last 10 miles or so to the target), their assertion of the ASBM being much more time sensitive a concern falls somewhat flat. Even presuming that a Sizzler were launched at its maximum range (220 kilometers), it would require just over 12 minutes to reach its target (approximately 12 minutes at 0.8 Mach cruising speed for about 200 kilometers, and about 15 seconds for the last 20 kilometers at 2.9 Mach [author‘s calculations]). See Office of the Secretary of Defense, Military and Security Developments Involving the People's Republic of China, p. 2; Defense Science Board, Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Aerial Targets (Washington, DC: Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, 2005), pp. 15-16; Lyle Goldstein and William Murray, ―Undersea Dragons: China's Maturing Submarine Force,‖ International Security, Vol. 28, No. 4 (Spring, 2004), pp. 165-166; and ―The Klub Missile Family,‖ Defense Threat Information Group, May 2005, http://www.dtig.org/docs/Klub-Family.pdf (accessed on April 18, 2011). ―Klub‖ is the Russian name for the SS-N-27 Sizzler ASCM (SS-N-27 and Sizzler are the NATO designations for the weapon). By contrast, Hoyler estimates that it would take at least 32 to 35 minutes (including a 12 to 15 minute flight time) for a Chinese ASBM to target, be prepared, launch, and fly to a target. (The distance to target used to estimate this flight time was not specified.) See Marshall Hoyler, ―China‘s ‗Antiaccess‘ Ballistic Missiles and U.S. Active Defense,‖ Naval War College Review Vol. 63 No. 4 (Autumn 2010), p. 93.
http://www.navy.mil/navydata/fact_display.asp?cid=2100&tid=200&ct=2; ―Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense,‖ Missile Defense Agency, http://www.mda.mil/system/aegis_bmd.html (both accessed on April 18, 2011); and Ronald O‘Rourke, ―Navy Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) Program: Background and Issues for Congress,‖ Congressional Research Service, March 17, 2011, p. 1. Hoyler shows (below) that the Aegis BMD is not a legitimate defense against Chinese ASBMs simply based on the limited numbers of SM-3 interceptor missiles projected to be available to U.S. forces. See Hoyler, p. 85. Erickson also shows that the Chinese ASBM is designed with the capability to make mid-course corrections, differentiating it from an ―ordinary‖ ballistic missile that the Aegis system is designed to counteract (based mostly on the ballistic missile‘s launch trajectory). See Andrew S. Erickson, ―Chinese ASBM Development: Knowns and Unknowns,‖ Jamestown Foundation China Brief Volume 9 Issue 13 (June 2009), http://www.jamestown.org/single/?no_cache=1&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=35171&tx_ttnews%5Bba ckPid%5D=7&cHash=3ac55b5a15 and Galrahn, ―Important Chinese ASBM Article,‖ Information Dissemination, June 25, 2009, http://www.informationdissemination.net/2009/06/important-chineseasbm-article.html (both accessed on April 18, 2011).
102 See ―Aegis System,‖ U.S. Navy Fact File,
anti-access weapon -- the ASCM -- is because its ―launch platforms cannot be targeted (‗shooting the archer instead of the arrows‘) without contemplating highly escalatory strikes in mainland China.‖
This is flawed for two reasons,
notwithstanding the problems attendant with locating and targeting the mobile ASBM launchers in the first place.104 First, launching a ballistic missile at a U.S. naval vessel would likely be considered grounds for escalation in and of itself – after all, whoever launched the missile at the ship willfully targeted it and is trying to destroy sovereign U.S. territory and take American lives. Secondly, the concept of nuclear ambiguity applies to the Chinese ASBM.105 This refers to the delivery of conventional weapons by way of known nuclear strike platforms. 106 The ASBM is a modification of the nuclear-capable CSS-5 medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM),107 and there would be little way to know at the time of launch which type of warhead – conventional or nuclear – sat atop the ballistic missile arcing toward U.S. forces. The safe bet would
103 Erickson and Yang, p. 77. 104 Hoyler, p. 98. Hoyler‘s argument is based on the U.S.‘s inability to locate and target Iraqi Scud
missiles in both the 1990-91 Persian Gulf War and the subsequent 2003 invasion of Iraq. Even in a very manageable air defense threat environment, U.S. air assets found no Iraqi Scud TELs (transportererector-launchers). Like the Scud, the Chinese ASBM is also a truck-mounted TEL (which augurs toward the challenge in targeting it), but Chinese air defense capabilities are far more advanced than those of the Iraqis. See Ch. 3 of this thesis for a more detailed discussion of Chinese air defense capabilities. For more detail on the difficulties involved in locating and destroying elusive ground targets such as TELs from the air with the aid of ground reconnaissance teams based on case studies from U.S. experiences in the Vietnam War and the first Persian Gulf War, see William Rosenau, Special Operations Forces and Elusive Enemy Ground Targets: Lessons from Vietnam and the Persian Gulf War (Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2001), available at http://www.rand.org/pubs/monograph_reports/MR1408.html (accessed on April 8, 2011). The report does note the prospects for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) – still relatively obscure at the time the report was published (2001) – in potentially providing a much-needed boost to persistent ISR requirements necessary to successfully complete this type of mission (p. 48), though the use of UAVs over China would still be contingent on the defeat or serious degradation of the PRC‘s air defense systems. Northrop Grumman‘s internal think tank published a paper in 2001 that dealt specifically with targeting mobile ground targets in an anti-access environment. The paper showed that large, stealthy aircraft offered the best capability to destroy mobile targets and that mission success would be critically dependent on the acquisition and deployment of sufficient numbers of ISR platforms to maximize search areas, as well as the battle network capability to rapidly distribute information and intelligence to then necessary customers. See Christopher J. Bowie, Destroying Mobile Ground Targets in an AntiAccess Environment (Washington, DC: Northrop Grumman Analysis Center, 2001). Available at http://www.northropgrumman.com/analysis-center/paper/assets/mobile_ground_targets.pdf (accessed on April 26, 2011).
105 As will be examined later in this thesis, nuclear ambiguity also applies in spades to a U.S. capability some feel is an important possible counter to the Chinese A2/AD concept, called Conventional Prompt Global Strike (CPGS). 106 Hooper and Albon, p. 45. 107 Office of the Secretary of Defense, Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2010 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 2010), p. 2.
be to assume nuclear. Either way, the use of this weapon by the PRC against U.S. forces in and of itself could open up PRC soil to U.S. attacks. b. China’s Evolving Conventional Strategic Strike Capability: The Anti-ship Ballistic Missile Challenge to U.S. Maritime Operations in the Western Pacific and Beyond (2009)
Stokes also wrote a report on the ASBM in 2009. His work, entitled China’s Evolving Conventional Strategic Strike Capability: The Anti-ship Ballistic Missile Challenge to U.S. Maritime Operations in the Western Pacific and Beyond, is the most comprehensive coverage of the Chinese ASBM this researcher has yet found, filling over one hundred pages.108 Stokes brings his extensive military and regional experience to bear in writing this report. He is fluent in Mandarin Chinese109 and examined authoritative Chinese writings as the primary basis of his research.110 He is the executive director of the Project 2049 Institute, a small Washington, DC-based think tank that focuses on Asian security and policy issues. The institute brings an interdisciplinary approach to its work, leveraging contacts in the region along with analysis of social science, military, and technological issues. Stokes served twenty years in the U.S. Air Force (USAF), including duty as team chief and senior country director for the PRC, Taiwan, and Mongolia in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs and as Assistant Air Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in
108 Mark Stokes, China’s Evolving Conventional Strategic Strike Capability: The Anti-ship
Ballistic Missile Challenge to U.S. Maritime Operations in the Western Pacific and Beyond (Arlington, VA: Project 2049 Institute, 2009). Note that more than half of the report is taken up by a pair of expansive appendices discussing two important Chinese aerospace contracting companies with ties to ASBM and other extended-range conventional strike research and development, the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC) and the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC). These appendices are a unique contribution to the scholarship on the topic but not something of particular relevance to this thesis, and thus will not be mentioned further herein.
109 ―Mark Stokes,‖ Project 2049 Institute website, http://www.project2049.net/who_we_are_stokes.html (accessed on April 7, 2011). 110 Stokes, China’s Evolving Conventional Strategic Strike Capability, p. 1.
Beijing. He was educated at Texas A&M University, Boston University, and the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.111 The purpose of Stokes‘ report was to examine the implications of China‘s research and development on extended-range conventional strike capabilities such as the ASBM (but also possible future systems and capabilities) for the U.S. The report sets its foundation by discussing why China developed the ASBM, and then covers technical and industrial issues associated with the development of such capabilities (a unique contribution). The report also included considerable coverage of the surveillance and battle network requirements for the effectiveness of such a system. Finally, it discussed a campaign theory that could be used in the employment of ASBMs and offered observations on the implications of such a system on U.S. deterrence against the PRC with regard to Taiwan and other U.S. allies in the region.112 China’s Evolving Conventional Strategic Strike Capability showed that the ASBM is most useful to China in a Taiwan scenario – that is, keeping the U.S. from effectively intervening militarily in any potential actions the PRC might take against Taiwan – but noted that it might also play a role in some of Beijing‘s other contested territorial claims in the region, such as the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands (disputed with Japan) and in the South China Sea, (where the PRC‘s claims are contested with at least five other nations).113 Stokes asserted, based on his review of technical writings, that China‘s research and development related to conventional strategic strike capabilities greatly resembles that of the U.S. Conventional Prompt Global Strike (CPGS) program.114 Stokes, based on a Chinese-language technical analysis, indicated that Chinese long-range precision strike acquisition is envisioned to proceed over four
111 Biographical information from ―Mark Stokes,‖ Project 2049 Institute website,
http://www.project2049.net/who_we_are_stokes.html (accessed on April 7, 2011) and ―Mark Stokes: Strategic Planner, Taiwan and China, Project 2049 Institute,‖ LinkedIn profile, http://www.linkedin.com/in/stokestaiwan?goback=.npp_%2Fphilip*5nosa*5evbuomwan*5fellow*5te mic*5canada%2F8%2F512%2F41a (accessed on April 8, 2011). Information about the Project 2049 Institute‘s mission from ―About Us,‖ Project 2049 Institute website, http://www.project2049.net/about_us.html (accessed on April 7, 2011).
112 Stokes, China’s Evolving Conventional Strategic Strike Capability, p. 5. 113 Ibid., pp. 6-7. 114 Ibid., p. 8.
phases: (1) complete an ASBM with a range of up to 2,000 kilometers by the end of China‘s 11th Five Year Plan in 2010; (2) introduce advancements and modifications to the ASBM to enhance its survivability and range by the end of the 12th Five Year Plan (2015); (3) deploy a ―boost-glide‖ missile with intercontinental range by 2020; and (4) field of a hypersonic cruise vehicle enabling global strike no later than 2025.115 In Stokes‘ judgment, this type of approach to developing long-range precision strike capabilities is in consonance with previous Chinese research and development practices. 116 If his assessment is accurate, it provides an interesting insight into desired future Chinese conventional strike capability plans and possible development. Regarding the ISR assets and battle network capabilities required to effectively employ the ASBM or other precisions long-range strike capabilities, Stokes stated that ―maritime surveillance is a national-level priority‖ for China and was a key area of focus (one of eight) under the program considered to be the Chinese response to the U.S. Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). 117 The Chinese maritime surveillance architecture is perceived to consist of four parts. The first is a fleet of near-space vehicles (airships) that provides the user the same ISR capabilities as a low-earth orbit (LEO) satellite, including reconnaissance (SAR and electronic intelligence [ELINT] collection), communications relay capability, electronic
115 KKTT, ―China‘s Development Concept for Theater Missile Strike Power,‖ April 2009,
http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_596bff040100d5rd.html, cited in Stokes, China’s Evolving Conventional Strategic Strike Capability, p. 10. According to Stokes (p. 107-8n26), the hyperlink is now broken (confirmed by this author on April 8, 2011). The definition of a ―boost-glide‖ missile is found on page 13 of this thesis.
116 Stokes, China’s Evolving Conventional Strategic Strike Capability, p. 10. 117 Ibid., p. 14. This is the PRC‘s 863 Program. Stokes indicated that the 863 Program was initiated in 1986. See ibid., p. 3. SDI was a Reagan-era plan for U.S. ballistic missile defense sometimes derisively referred to as ―Star Wars‖ that proposed to develop ground and space-based defenses to protect against Soviet strategic missile attacks. See Steven A. Hildreth, ―Ballistic Missile Defense: Historical Overview,‖ CRS Report for Congress, January 5, 2007, p. 3-4, http://www.cdi.org/PDFs/RS22120.pdf (accessed on April 12, 2011). The U.S. quest for a genuine ballistic missile defense capability has never stopped. The SDI office was re-named the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization in the early 1990s after the end of the Cold War and is now known as the Missile Defense Agency (MDA). See Missile Defense Agency, ―History of the Agency,‖ http://www.mda.mil/about/history.html (accessed on April 12, 2011). There was much more to the Chinese 863 Program than just space applications, though. Osnos writes that the program originally encompassed fields ranging from biotechnology to space research. But in the new century, the program began to heavily emphasize researching alternate energy sources to help assuage China‘s tremendous appetite for legacy fuel sources, chief among them coal and imported oil, dependence on which have resulted in the high levels of environmental pollution now so prevalent in China. See Evan Osnos, ―Green Giant: Beijing‘s Crash Program for Clean Energy,‖ The New Yorker, December 21, 2009, http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/12/21/091221fa_fact_osnos?currentPage=all (accessed on May 11, 2011).
countermeasures (ECM; commonly known as ―jamming‖), and precision strikeenabling. These airships are said to be highly survivable, with very small radar and thermal cross-sections, making them very difficult to detect using traditional targeting technologies. They are also relatively inexpensive and provide persistent target coverage.118 The second element of the PRC‘s maritime surveillance architecture is the space-based portion. The ASBM strategic targeting system is said to be heavily dependent on dual-use satellites. These satellites provide China with electro-optical (EO), SAR, and ELINT coverage of large areas of the Pacific Ocean, with the preponderance of the focus being on SAR because of its all-weather capability and because it can cover extremely large tracts such as the vast Pacific Ocean.119 The third leg of China‘s maritime surveillance network is somewhat old-fashioned: an over-the-horizon-backscatter (OTH-B) radar system. Despite its venerable status, the OTH-B system may best describe the limits of China‘s longrange maritime precision strike capability. Although the system‘s resolution is poor, its advantage over more modern ISR systems like satellites is that it is always available, rather than the limited period of time an orbiting satellite is above a given objective. The Chinese network is said to consist of at least one skywave system and one surface wave system, providing a measure of redundancy. One key drawback of these systems, however, is the large size of their receiving antenna arrays. These arrays can sometimes exceed one mile in length, and, as a result, are extremely vulnerable to attack.120 The fourth and final aspect of China‘s maritime surveillance system is conventional unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The Chinese seek a high-altitude, high endurance platform with EO, SAR, EW, and communications relay capabilities.121 In fact, these capabilities are quite similar to the U.S. Global Hawk
118 Stokes, China’s Evolving Conventional Strategic Strike Capability, p. 15. 119 Ibid., pp. 16-17. 120 Ibid., pp. 18-19. 121 Ibid., p. 19.
UAV‘s capabilities.122 According to Stokes, the Chinese UAV was scheduled for its maiden flight in 2009, 123 but subsequent reporting indicates that the PRC has developed literally dozens of models of UAVs in the interim, with at least two types already in operation by the PLA.124 Stokes also revealed several previously unavailable aspects of the ASBM system‘s technical characteristics. First among these was that China‘s successful 2007 direct-ascent ASAT test showed that its guidance technology was sound. This is significant because the ASBM shares many of the same guidance characteristics the ASAT missile possesses.125 Stokes stated that the system itself is envisioned to have four components: (1) the ocean surveillance system (discussed above); (2) a mid-course guidance system; (3) a terminal guidance system (referred to as an active millimeter wave seeker, which shares technology with hit-to-kill missile defense systems like the U.S. Patriot PAC-3); and (4) the command and control system used to move the maneuverable reentry vehicle (MaRV) to its target. 126 Finally, Stokes explained that as a result of the 863 Program (mentioned in footnote 117 on page 43 above), the ASBM has benefitted from various methods for
122 ―The RQ-4 Global Hawk is a high-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aircraft system with an
integrated sensor suite that provides intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, or ISR, capability worldwide.‖ It includes SAR, EO, and infrared (IR) imagery intelligence (IMINT) payloads and will eventually carry a signals intelligence (SIGINT) collection payload. ―RQ-4 Global Hawk,‖ U.S. Air Force Fact Sheet, November 19, 2009, http://www.af.mil/information/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=13225 (accessed on April 13, 2011). According to the Federation of American Scientists, it can remain on station over a target area for up to twenty-four hours and has a range of up to 3,000 nautical miles (over 5,500 kilometers). See ―RQ-4A Global Hawk (Tier II+ HAE UAV),‖ Federation of American Scientists, undated, http://www.fas.org/irp/program/collect/global_hawk.htm (accessed on April 13, 2011).
123 Stokes, China’s Evolving Conventional Strategic Strike Capability, p. 19. 124 According to the Wall Street Journal, China displayed at least 25 different UAV models at the
2010 Zhuhai Air Show and one exhibitor confirmed that the PLA had deployed at least two propellerdriven reconnaissance UAVs. Moreover, several models of the displayed UAVs featured weapons payloads, much like the so-called ―killer drones‖ the U.S. deploys over Iraq and Afghanistan like the Predator and Reaper, and one drone featured jet propulsion (much like the Global Hawk discussed in footnote 122 above). Jeremy Page, ―China's New Drones Raise Eyebrows,‖ Wall Street Journal, November 18, 2010, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703374304575622350604500556.html (accessed on April 13, 2011). See also Wendell Minnick, ―China developing armed/recon UAVs,‖ C4ISR Journal, November 24, 2010, http://www.c4isrjournal.com/story.php?F=5101428 (accessed on April 20, 2011) and Graham Warwick, ―China Targets UAS [Unmanned aerial systems] As Growth Sector,‖ Aviation Week, May 5, 2011, http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_channel.jsp?channel=defense&id=news/awst/2011/04/ 25/AW_04_25_2011_p62-312195.xml (accessed on May 7, 2011).
125 Stokes, China’s Evolving Conventional Strategic Strike Capability, p. 24. 126 Ibid., p. 20.
countering missile defenses, to include technical countermeasures such as ECM and electronic counter-countermeasures (ECCM), operational techniques like ―saturation and exhaustion‖ strikes and multi-access strikes, stealth technology, decoys, fasterburning motors, and ballistic missile ―spinning‖ (or hardening) to reduce the missile‘s signature and thus increase survivability. The effectiveness of the ASBM could be further bolstered through counter-space operations to effectively blind U.S. satellites and through the destruction of theater missile defense (TMD) radars using antiradiation missiles.127 Stokes‘ report is one of the few ASBM-related documents this researcher has reviewed which looks beyond the present first-generation capability. Regarding post-ASBM long-range conventional precision strike capabilities, Stokes wrote that the Chinese are primarily targeting Guam because of its runways, port facilities, and command and control assets. 128 Striking Guam would require a precision strike capability with a range of at least 3,000 kilometers. Such distance could be achieved through the use of a boost-glide missile, which adopts characteristics of both a ballistic missile and a cruise missile, thereby extending the missile‘s range by up to 30 percent, and, in doing so, confounding the abilities of midcourse missile defense systems like the ones that the U.S. employs. Eventually, the Chinese plan to develop a capability equal to the CPGS system which would allow the Chinese to have global coverage using hypersonic cruise vehicles.129 They also would like to transition from a relatively simple ground-based ASBM capability to a system adding air and sea launch functions.130 To this end, the Chinese have examined the capability of an air-launched ASBM variant to penetrate the protection provided by
127 Ibid., p. 26-27. 128 Ibid., p. 32. 129 Ibid., pp. 32-34. For more on potential future Chinese long-range precision strike ambitions,
see Mark Stokes, ―Beyond the Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile (ASBM): China‘s Next Generation Long Range Precision Strike Systems,‖ AsiaEye: The Official Blog of the Project 2049 Institute, December 30, 2010, http://blog.project2049.net/2010/12/beyond-anti-ship-ballistic-missile-asbm.html (accessed on April 20, 2011).
130 Ibid., p. 32.
the U.S. Navy‘s mainstay terminal anti-ship missile defense weapon, the Mk-15 Phalanx Close-In Weapons System (CIWS).131 Stokes concluded that ―sufficient evidence indicates that China is serious about fielding a capability that could undercut the capacity of the United States to assist Taiwan in a conflict against China‖ and that ―PRC ASBMs and an integrated sensor network could indeed pose a significant challenge to United States military operations in the Asia-Pacific region.‖132 He offered a prediction based on history: Stokes believes that 2011 will be a signal year for a full, integrated ASBM test flight designed to intimidate Taiwan‘s voters ahead of the 2012 presidential elections, mirroring the 1995-96 missile tests aimed at affecting the 1996 presidential election in Taiwan.133 He also made explicit the point that the ASBM is just one part of a larger network of A2/AD capabilities, and stated that it appears that these capabilities have boosted Beijing‘s confidence in its ability to deny access to traditional U.S. naval force projection. Further, while the first-generation ASBM has a purported range of about 1,500 to 2,000 kilometers, second-generation ASBM variants such as those incorporating boost-glide technology would extend the ASBM‘s effective range to 3,000 kilometers within the next five to ten years, while later generations could reach distances of 8,000 kilometers or more, possibly putting to the test the U.S.‘s theater missile defense capabilities in places like Guam and Hawaii. 134 These developments have the potential to erode confidence in U.S. security guarantees among partners and allies in the region.135 Stokes‘ suggestions for possible U.S. actions to counter the burgeoning Chinese long-range precision strike capability include: fielding smaller ships that present a less significant target signature, including more submarines (as that they are not able to be targeted via the long-range precision strike capabilities China is
131 Yang Jian, Xu Cheng, Song Yang, and Shi Weiwei, ―Analysis on Ability of Air-Launched Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile to Penetrate Close-In Weapons System,‖ Journal of Naval Aeronautical and Astronautical University, 2008, Issue 23, No. 5 (abstract only), cited in Stokes, China’s Evolving Conventional Strategic Strike Capability, p. 32. On the CIWS, see ―MK 15 Phalanx Close-In Weapons System (CIWS),‖ Federation of American Scientists, January 9, 2003, http://www.fas.org/man/dod101/sys/ship/weaps/mk-15.htm (accessed on April 13, 2011). 132 Stokes, China’s Evolving Conventional Strategic Strike Capability, pp. 35-36. 133 Ibid., p. 35. 134 Ibid., pp. 36-37. 135 Ibid., p. 36.
developing); hardening facilities in the regions that fall under the Chinese strike umbrella; and, finally, developing long range unmanned combat air systems (UCAS).136 Regarding the first suggestion, carrier admirals have dominated the U.S. Navy for so long that it is hard to imagine that they would stand by and allow their preferred means of global power projection to be marginalized, regardless of the threat. 137 Moreover, while the U.S. is shifting a greater percentage of its nuclear attack submarines (SSNs) to the Pacific, 138 its future procurement plan does not preferentially favor submarine purchases over surface ships in the coming years. In fact, instead of increasing the number of submarines in the fleet, the U.S. Navy will see the number of SSNs in its fleet fall below the requisite number in FY 2022 and decrease as a percentage of the overall U.S. Navy fleet over the next 30 years.139 Indeed, SSN stocks will still remain below the required number through the end of the current 30-year shipbuilding plan in FY 2040.140) Virtually every report discussing Chinese A2/AD capabilities and potential U.S. responses includes hardening facilities as a suggestion and it is a good suggestion, but does not take into account that even aircraft parked in hardened shelters can be destroyed by cruise missiles, another capability area that China is greatly expanding in its overall A2/AD strategy, or the fact that even the largest U.S. bases in the region still have limited numbers of shelters that can only accommodate a fraction of vulnerable aircraft. It is also expensive and
136 Ibid. 137 Talmadge. 138 Shirley A. Kan and Larry A. Niksch, ―Guam: U.S. Defense Deployments,‖ Congressional Research Service, January 7, 2010, p. 1. By the end of 2009, the U.S. planned to have shifted almost 60% of its total nuclear attack submarine force from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean (that is, 31 out of a total of 51 boats). 139 According to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, the percentage of the overall naval
battle force that will be submarines in FY 2016, FY 2028, and FY 2040 (near-, mid-, and long-term, respectively) will be 23.6 percent, 17.8 percent, and 18.9 percent, respectively. The total number of SSNs planned to be in service in these same years are 51, 41, and 45, respectively, meaning that according the Navy‘s own shipbuilding plan, at no time in the forecast future after roughly 2020 will the U.S. SSN fleet be as large as it is today. Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Report to Congress on Annual Long-Range Plan for Construction of Naval Vessels for FY 2011, February 2010, p. 5, available at http://www.militarytimes.com/static/projects/pages/2011shipbuilding.pdf (accessed on April 14, 2011).
140 The required number of SSNs is 48. According to the Congressional Research Service, the U.S. SSN fleet will drop below this number in 2022 and remain there for the remainder of the 30-year shipbuilding plan. Ronald O‘Rourke, ―Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress,‖ Congressional Research Service, August 17, 2010, p. 7-8, http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/weapons/RL32665.pdf (accessed on April 14, 2011).
time-consuming to build hardened shelters. 141 Finally, while the U.S. Navy is developing a carrier-launched unmanned combat air system (UCAS) capability called the X-47, it is unlikely that this capability will be operationally available before the end of the decade.142 Even the most thorough coverage of a topic will still have weaknesses. Stokes‘ coverage of China‘s ELINT satellite capabilities presented here was surpassed by his own co-authored work in 2011 (which will be covered in the next section). Further, the report relies on the sole expertise of the author, which, while considerable, cannot be all encompassing. Additional sources are needed to balance this contribution. c. ASBM Targeting and Cueing Systems
Many comprehensive assessments of China‘s A2/AD capabilities have not adequately treated certain key portions of targeting and cueing systems for
141 Authoritative writings on China‘s cruise missile development will be examined in section d of this chapter below (―The PRC‘s Evolving Conventional Missile Forces as A2/AD Assets‖) and further explored in chapter 3. According to Stillion, the largest USAF base in the region, Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, has only fifteen hardened aircraft shelters. John Stillion, ―Fighting Under Missile Attack,‖ Air Force Magazine (August 2009), p. 35. He also estimated the cost of building a single large hardened shelter capable of holding wide-body aircraft and of sufficient strength to withstand attack from penetrating warheads to be $700 million. (p. 37) Available at http://www.airforcemagazine.com/MagazineArchive/Documents/2009/August%202009/0809missile.pdf (accessed on April 18, 2011). For a much more extensive treatment of airbase vulnerability to precision missile attack, see John Stillion and David T. Orletsky, Airbase Vulnerability to Conventional Cruise-Missile and Ballistic-Missile Attacks: Technology, Scenarios, and U.S. Air Force Responses (Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 1999). Available at http://www.rand.org/pubs/monograph_reports/MR1028.html (accessed on April 18, 2011). Hoyler asserts that pilots are much more willing to spend big money on airframes than they are on ―buying concrete.‖ See Hoyler, p. 95. 142 A demonstrator of the most recent variant in the program, dubbed the X-47B, made its maiden
flight on February 4, 2011 at Edwards Air Force Base, California. While the system is planned to eventually operate from the deck of an aircraft carrier at sea, trials to this point have all been landbased. See Naval Air Systems Command Public Affairs, ―UCAS-D Completes Successful First Flight,‖ Official Website of the United States Navy, February 5, 2011, http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=58423 (accessed on April 18, 2011). The current UCAS-D program is scheduled to demonstrate suitability for carrier operations by 2013 (which includes launch and recovery, carrier-controlled airspace operations, and autonomous aerial refueling), after which a separate program will carry forward work on a UCAS system for production and introduction to the operating forces. ―Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration,‖ Naval Air Systems Command, undated, http://www.navair.navy.mil/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.display&key=7468CDCC-8A55-4D30-95E3761683359B26 (accessed on April 18, 2011). Military correspondent David Axe reported in April 2011 that ―[a]n operational drone based on the X-47 is still seven years in the future.‖ David Axe, ―Combat Aircraft: X-47B First Flight Hints at New Capabilities for Navy Carriers,‖ War is Boring, April 30, 2011, http://www.warisboring.com/2011/04/30/combat-aircraft-x-47b-first-flight-hints-at-new-capabilitiesfor-navy-carriers/ (accessed on May 1, 2011).
systems like the ASBM. It is impossible to fully understand the capabilities and limitations of the overall ASBM weapons system without an understanding of the capabilities and limitations of key portions of it, such as its targeting systems. One such enabling technology related to the ASBM is a set of Chinese maritime surveillance satellites designed to help with targeting of ships at sea. These satellites, launched in 2010, have been placed into a particular ―co-orbital‖ configuration in space that is thought to indicate their utility in an oceanographic survey capacity (including targeting of naval vessels at sea), and are thought to possess both optical and radar capabilities that allow them to function effectively day or night and in any weather conditions. 143 The SAR systems carried by these co-orbital satellites are thought to be critical for ASBM targeting because of its ability to cover a large area, such as the Western Pacific.144 Stokes and Easton, writing in 2011, also described the expanding ELINT capabilities carried by Chinese surveillance spacecraft and their application for military targeting.145 Their report, from the Project 2049 Institute, describes the rapid growth of the Chinese fleet of intelligence collection satellites,146 focusing on SIGINT and ELINT.147
143 Ian Easton, ―China‘s Secret Co-orbital Satellites: The Quiet Surge in Space,‖ AsiaEye: The
Official Blog of the Project 2049 Institute, November 9, 2010, http://blog.project2049.net/2010/11/chinas-secret-co-orbital-satellites.html; Russell Hsiao, ―PLA Expands Network of Military Reconnaissance Satellites,‖ China Brief, Vol. 10, Issue 17 (August 19, 2010).
144 Stokes, p. 16. 145 Ian Easton and Mark A. Stokes, China’s Electronic Intelligence (ELINT) Satellite Developments: Implications for U.S. Air and Naval Operations (Arlington, VA: Project 2049 Institute, 2011). 146 Easton indicates that China ―quietly deployed a record number of spy satellites into lower
earth orbit‖ from late 2009 to late 2010. Ian Easton, ―The Year of the Tiger: China‘s Spy Satellite Surge in 2010,‖ AsiaEye: The Official Blog of the Project 2049 Institute, March 14, 2011, http://blog.project2049.net/2011/03/year-of-tiger-chinas-spy-satellite.html (accessed on April 20, 2011).
147 Stokes and Easton somewhat confusingly indicate that the Chinese satellites are used for both SIGINT and ELINT collection. According to U.S. doctrine, ELINT is a sub-set of SIGINT, along with communications intelligence (COMINT) and foreign instrumentation signals intelligence (FISINT). In this author‘s estimation, Stokes and Easton, when referring to SIGINT, meant either COMINT or FISINT, and their ―breaking out‖ of ELINT from SIGINT was meant to highlight the importance of electronic intelligence for maritime surveillance vis-à-vis the development of an effective Chinese long-range precision strike capability (including ASBM development). See Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joint Publication 2-0, Joint Intelligence (Washington, DC: Department of Defense, 2007), Appendix B, p. B-4. Electronic version available at http://www.fas.org/irp/doddir/dod/jp2_0.pdf (accessed on April 20, 2011).
Ian Easton is a research fellow at the Project 2049 Institute who took his graduate studies at National Chengchi University in Taipei. After studying Chinese in both Taiwan and China, Easton also conducted research, analysis, and translation work for the Taipei-based Foundation on Asia Pacific Peace Studies.148 The purpose of this research was to address a gap in existing scholarship regarding China‘s ELINT and other space-based surveillance assets as a part of a broader C4ISR architecture capable of monitoring broad areas of the Western Pacific, the South China Sea, and the Indian Ocean. Some of these capabilities were already well-understood (e.g. SAR and EO), but until Stokes‘ and Easton‘s Project 2049 Institute report, China‘s electronic reconnaissance capabilities, probably one of the primary components necessary for a legitimate space-based regional surveillance capability, had been relatively poorly researched.149 Notable findings from their report indicate that even though the past two years have seen an unprecedented number of Chinese satellite launches, the appetite for the products generated by these newly launched satellites (i.e. raw intelligence and information) still far outstrips their capacity to provide it. 150 The Chinese have studied U.S. and other foreign deployments of so-called naval ocean surveillance systems (NOSS), which consist of multiple small satellites flying in a coorbital formation, and it appears that they have put similar satellite formations into space with presumably the same functional intent as the U.S. system (wide-area maritime survey designed to detect ships and to conduct electronic order-of-battle studies). 151 Stokes and Easton also explore an ongoing debate within the Chinese research and development establishment regarding the utility of placing intelligence
148 ―Ian Easton,‖ Project 2049 Institute, 2008,
http://www.project2049.net/who_we_are_easton.html; ―Home,‖ Foundation on Asia-Pacific Peace Studies (亞太和平研究基金會), undated, http://www.faps.org.tw/ (both accessed on April 20, 2011). Biographical information on Mark Stokes can be found in the section entitled ―b. China‘s Evolving Conventional Strategic Strike Capability: The Anti-ship Ballistic Missile Challenge to U.S. Maritime Operations in the Western Pacific and Beyond (2009)‖ which begins on page 40 above.
149 Easton and Stokes, China’s Electronic Intelligence (ELINT) Satellite Developments, p. 2. 150 Ibid., p. 9. 151 Ibid., pp. 3-4, 9-10. NOSS systems, which were deployed by the U.S. and USSR in different ways for essentially the same means, use differences in the time of arrival of the same radio frequency (RF) signals to three (or possibly two, based on new technology) satellites, which can then calculate the direction and distance to the transmitter (i.e. a ship, aircraft, or other radar- or signal-emitting platform). Combined with other assets, this ―line of bearing‖ can be used to generate extremely accurate positional reports, which can be used for targeting or other purposes.
collection satellites into geosynchronous orbit (which would enable them to maintain continuous coverage over the same targets, as opposed to the periodic overage that comes with satellites in different types of orbits, such as LEO) or placing intelligence payloads on so-called dual-purpose satellites which are also used for communications (though the authors suspect that this may have already surreptitiously been done in the past, which helps account for the relatively late overt development of China‘s dedicated satellite-based electronic surveillance capabilities).152 Implications of the expansion of Chinese ELINT capabilities include, most significantly, a heightened ability to target U.S. ships at sea (which would be critical to any realistic Chinese ASBM capability), as well as an expanded overall intelligence collection capability, with its own implications for U.S. and allied operational and communications security. Additionally, enhanced ELINT capabilities would allow China to conduct thorough mapping of the air defenses of potential adversaries, with repercussions for targeting in the case of conflict. China‘s ELINT satellite development may also compel potential adversaries to pursue enhanced counter-space capabilities of their own (both kinetic and non-kinetic, with the aim of being able to destroy or degrade Chinese overhead surveillance in the event of conflict). Finally, China‘s increased ELINT capability could also signal an interest in achieving a space-based early-warning capability for missile defense.153 Assisting Chinese satellites in ASBM targeting is a land-based network of over-the-horizon (OTH) high-frequency (HF) radars. Liu showed a notional maximum range of a Chinese OTH-B radar capable of detecting U.S. naval vessels at sea to be 3,500 kilometers.154 The OTH-B system is supplemented by an over-thehorizon ―skywave‖ (OTH-SW) system.
While the space-based surveillance
capabilities mentioned above would act as a periodic cueing asset for generalized ASBM targeting at long range (based on when a satellite was overhead), further realtime refining of a target‘s position would be accomplished using the ground-based
152 Ibid., pp. 11-12. 153 Ibid., pp. 15-16. 154 Bin-Yi Liu, ―HF Over-the-Horizon Radar System Performance Analysis‖ (Monterey, CA: Naval Postgraduate School, 2007), master‘s thesis, p. 74. 155 Office of the Secretary of Defense, Annual Report to Congress on the Military Power of the People’s Republic of China (Washington, DC: Department of Defense, 2009), p. 49.
OTH-B radars and other assets, with complementary intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities making up for shortcomings of individual methods.156 (However, many analysts think that it will be 2015 or later before China‘s ISR network is capable of providing true near real-time targeting information.157) Obviously, neither one of these examinations of cueing and targeting assets for the ASBM or other Chinese long-range precision strike would be of that much utility on their own, but when combined with multiple other sources that discuss all other facets of the Chinese A2/AD strategy and capabilities (as this thesis does), they become useful. d. The PRC’s Evolving Conventional Missile Forces as A2/AD Assets
China‘s evolving conventional missile forces are also an important piece of their overall suite of A2/AD capabilities. There are examples of recent, thorough scholarship on Chinese conventional missile forces, including short- and medium-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs and MRBMs, respectively) and land-attack cruise missiles (LACMs), but no comprehensive, current assessment of China‘s A2/AD capabilities contains the new information these studies have uncovered. One such specific examination of China‘s missiles was contained in the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission‘s 2010 annual report.158 The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission (hereafter USCC) is a body established by the FY 2001 NDAA with the mission of reporting to Congress annually on ―the national security implications of the bilateral trade and economic relationship between the United States and the People's Republic of China.‖159 The twelve commissioners of the USCC each serve two-year terms and are supported by a
156 Stokes, China’s Evolving Conventional Strategic Strike Capability, p. 14. Additional capabilities could include unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or suborbital inflatable aircraft that operate almost like low-earth orbit satellites. 157 Hoyler, p. 87; Eric Hagt and Matthew Durnin, ―China‘s Antiship Ballistic Missile:
Developments and Missing Links,‖ Naval War College Review Vol. 62 No. 4 (Autumn 2009), p. 105.
158 U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, 2010 Report to Congress of the U.S.-
China Economic and Security Review Commission (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 2010), Chapter 2: China‘s Activities Directly Affecting U.S. Security Interests, Section 1: China‘s Growing Air and Conventional Missile Capabilities, pp. 73-91, especially pp. 83-91.
159 U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, ―About the Commission – Charter,‖ undated, http://www.uscc.gov/about/charter.php (accessed on April 20, 2011).
professional policy and administrative staff of about twenty members. In an attempt to keep the Commission bipartisan, the commissioners are appointed by the top leadership in both the Senate and the House of Representatives (three each are appointed by the Senate Majority and Minority Leaders, and the Speaker and the Minority Leader of the House).160 In order to prepare their annual report to Congress, the USCC conducts a series of public hearings in which they receive testimony from expert witnesses on topics such as proliferation, dual-use technology transfers, aerospace development, intellectual property rights, China‘s foreign policy and defense strategies, and more.161 Current notable members of the Commission include Daniel A. Blumenthal, Resident Fellow in Asian Studies at the American Enterprise Institute, and Dr. Larry M. Wortzel, a two-time U.S. military attaché in Beijing and former Director of the Asian Studies Center at The Heritage Foundation.162 The purpose of the USCC‘s missile research was to satisfy the Commission‘s requirement to report annually to the Congress regional economic security impacts of PRC military modernization and force deployments on the Washington – Taipei – Beijing trilateral relationship.163 The USCC annual report is also to address any military actions by the PRC taken in the previous year that ―bear on the national security of the United States and the regional stability of the Asian allies of the United States.‖164 Specifically, the section of the report examined here was a part of the Commission‘s ongoing examination of China‘s growing capability to challenge U.S. freedom of action in East Asia.165 The USCC‘s 2010 annual report indicated that over the past decade Chinese stocks of conventional ballistic missiles and cruise missiles had greatly expanded, so much so that now China‘s SRBM capabilities are now foremost in the
160 U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, ―About the Commission – Fact Sheet,‖ undated, http://www.uscc.gov/about/facts.php (accessed on April 20, 2011). 161 The list of topics presented here is derived from the USCC‘s charter (see U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, ―About the Commission – Charter‖) and the schedule of 2011 hearings located at http://www.uscc.gov/hearings/hearing_schedule.php. This list is not meant to be exhaustive. 162 U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, ―About the Commission – Fact
163 U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, p. 288. 164 Ibid., p. 284. 165 Ibid., p. 73.
world.166 At the same time that this capability has been growing rapidly in number, China‘s ballistic missiles have also become capable of carrying larger, more accurate payloads, with a greater range.167 The Commission posits four main reasons for China‘s focus on development of its conventional missile forces, all of which have implications for China‘s A2/AD strategy. First, when employed in the initial stages of a conflict, such weapons are key assets for destroying and degrading the enemy‘s critical facilities, thereby reducing the enemy‘s defenses and his ability to respond to further attacks. Use of Chinese ballistic and cruise missiles set the stage for the conduct of follow-on PLA missions at reduced risk. Second, both ballistic and cruise missiles are difficult to defend against. Ballistic missiles, due to their high velocity, leave little time for the enemy to prepare for the assault, and even the most modern ABM defenses are far from a guarantee of safety. Cruise missiles, while slower than their ballistic cousins, are nonetheless also difficult to defend against because they are very accurate and can follow precise flight paths to avoid known defenses. Third, the inherently coercive nature of China ballistic missiles (given that China‘s neighbors by-and-large have no effective means of defense against them) provides an effective deterrent without China having to take any action whatsoever. Finally, the buildup of strength in China‘s strategic rocket forces can be seen as a means of shoring up perceived weaknesses in China‘s air forces, providing the equivalent of the capabilities supplied by manned stealth aircraft for the U.S., but much more affordably.168 China‘s conventional ballistic missiles are of two types: short-range (with ranges less than 1,000 kilometers) and medium-range (ranging from 1,000 to 3,000 kilometers).169 The primary purpose for many of these SRBMs appears to be intimidation of Taiwan, and reports indicate that various types of SRBMs and
166 Ibid., pp. 85-86. This is echoed by the 2010 DoD China military power report, which states, ―China has the most active land-based ballistic and cruise missile program in the world.‖ Office of the Secretary of Defense (2010), p. 1. 167 U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, p. 85. 168 Ibid., pp. 84-85. Regarding stealth aircraft, since the USCC 2010 report was issued, China‘s J20 stealth aircraft has been revealed. It remains to be seen when the J-20 will actually be deployed to the People‘s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF). See ―China stealth fighter ‗appears‘ to have made second flight,‖ Reuters, April 19, 2011, http://af.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idAFTRE73I0FQ20110419?sp=true (accessed on April 22, 2011). 169 Ibid., p. 85, Table 6: PLA Conventional Missiles.
MRBMs numbering in excess of 1,000 total missiles are based opposite Taiwan.170 More recent reports indicate that the PLA may have recently fielded a new type of ―long-range ballistic missile aimed at Taiwan‖ 171 with a range of over 1,000 kilometers172 that may be more difficult to defend against than previous SRBMs and MRBMs.173 In addition to ballistic missiles, China is rapidly developing its stocks of land attack cruise missiles (LACMs). Currently, Chinese inventories are thought to be composed of two variants: one land-based and under the control of the Second Artillery Force (SAF), the other air-launched and under control of the PLAAF. The SAF‘s LACM, called the DH-10, has a range of 1,500 kilometers or more, while the PLAAF‘s weapon, known as the YJ-63, can fly 200 kilometers or more. Of particular note is that both weapons are thought to have been produced in the past decade,174 making the PLA only a recent entrant into the LACM field. In the case of the DH-10, the DoD‘s public estimates are that Chinese stocks increased by around thirty percent between 2009 and 2010 (from 150-350 missiles to 200-500 missiles),175 indicating a particular interest in developing this capability in the very recent past. The Commission‘s report concluded that the Chinese ballistic and cruise missile threat to U.S. forces in the Western Pacific is ―improving‖ and that PLA missile and air attacks could affect the temporary closure of U.S. bases in the region and inhibit effective U.S. military operations in East Asia. China‘s missile and
170 Office of the Secretary of Defense (2010), p. 2. 171 Rich Chang, ―China aims new missile types at Taiwan, NSB says,‖ Taipei Times, March 17,
2011, http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2011/03/17/2003498376 (accessed on April 22. 2011).
172 Mark Stokes, ―Expansion of China's Ballistic Missile Infrastructure Opposite Taiwan,‖ AsiaEye: The Official Blog of the Project 2049 Institute, April 18, 2011, http://blog.project2049.net/2011/04/expansion-of-chinas-ballistic-missile.html (accessed on April 22, 2011). 173 This is due to the ―faster re-entry of a longer-range missile like the DF-16‖ [the new type of
missile] and the claim that the new missile is capable of carrying multiple warheads. See Jens Kastner with Wang Jhy-perng, ―China's Missile Guessing Game,‖ Asia Sentinel, March 21, 2011, http://www.asiasentinel.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3075&Itemid=386 (accessed on April 22, 2011).
174 U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, p. 86. 175 Office of the Secretary of Defense (2009), p. 66; Office of the Secretary of Defense (2010), p.
air forces have ―significantly modernized‖ across the board over the past decade, with greater numbers of more accurate missiles.176 The implications of this missile expansion for U.S. bases and forces in the region are ominous. According to the Commission, China‘s development of enhanced missile and air forces marks ―a dramatic increase in the PLA‘s ability to inhibit U.S. military operations in the region.‖177 The Commission also noted that five of the six main U.S. air bases in the region were at risk of significant negative effects from Chinese missile attacks in the event of conflict, with the sixth increasingly at risk from extended-range Chinese bombers.178 In 2010, the Naval War College Review published a review of PLA conventional missile capabilities, this time shown in contrast to U.S. anti-ballistic missile (ABM) defenses. The author, Marshall Hoyler, demonstrated that the PLA had more than enough ballistic missiles to take the most important U.S. air base in a China contingency, Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, out of action for an indeterminate amount of time. Hoyler is a retired professor at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. Prior to working at the War College, he served as a defense analyst at the Congressional Budget Office, the Department of Energy, the Center for Naval Analyses, and at the Institute for Defense Analyses. He began his education in foreign policy and national security decision-making as an infantry officer in the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC). His formally education took place at Swarthmore College and Harvard.179 Hoyler‘s study made the argument that the U.S.‘s active defenses, in the form of ABM deployments, were not adequate by themselves to counter the
176 U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, p. 91. 177 Ibid., p. 87. 178 The sixth base, Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, is the base most distant from China, approximately 3,000 kilometers away. The trade-off for a slight measure of safety provided by greater distance from the Chinese threat is the great inefficiency involved with using Guam as a site for the origin of combat air patrols or other air operations. U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, p. 90. 179 ―Professor Marshall Hoyler,‖ Council for International Visitors, Newport, R.I., February 19, 2008, http://www.newportciv.org/BioPages/Hoyler_bio.htm (accessed April 22, 2011); Hoyler, p. 84.
Chinese ballistic missile threat. His argument lent credence to his suggestions for alternatives to active defenses. Hoyler‘s analysis was mainly quantitative. Regarding the Chinese ASBM threat, relying on projections of the number of U.S. ABM missile stocks and the anticipated worldwide deployment of such assets, Hoyler found that the Chinese would simply need to determine how many ABMs the U.S. had built, estimate how many missiles a given ABM-capable Aegis ship would have aboard, then launch more ASBMs than the U.S. ships could possibly intercept. While the U.S. would only have some fraction of its overall ABM inventory available to protect ships at sea in the Western Pacific, the Chinese would have their entire ASBM inventory available to launch at U.S. targets, virtually guaranteeing that at least some of the missiles would get through.180 He calculated that the Chinese may have as many as 80 ASBMs by the end of 2015, while the U.S. is projected to be able to allocate 148 SM-3 ABMs to the eight Aegis-capable ships that might be designated for ―China duty‖ at that time.181 After making a variety of optimistic assumptions about the efficacy of each side‘s missiles, battle management networks, radar systems, and C4ISR systems as well as ABM employment by the U.S. Navy, Hoyler concluded that the U.S. ships would be able to protect against 13 ASBMs, but that the 14th and any subsequent ASBM fired would get through the ABM defenses.182 Further, supposing that the Chinese intended to use all 80 ASBMs projected to be in their stocks at the time of a notional conflict at the end of 2015, and assuming that the U.S. wanted to launch two ABMs at every incoming ASBM, the Americans would need 160 ABMs, far more missiles than would be in the entire projected ―China stock‖ noted above. Also as noted above, Hoyler‘s assumptions were optimistic, and thus did not take into account possible countermeasures that
180 Hoyler, p. 85. 181 Ibid., pp. 89-90. Hoyler assumes that U.S. SM-3s will also need to be allocated to missile
defense missions in the Arabian Gulf and Europe, so of a total of 220 SM-3s projected to be in the U.S. inventory at the end of 2015, just under 150 will notionally be available for use in East Asia. Hoyler, p. 90, Table 1: Assumed 2015 Allocation of ABMs and Aegis BMD Ships summarizes this information nicely.
182 Ibid., pp. 90-91. Van Tol, et al., further make the point that currently there is no means to replenish shipborne ABM magazines while at sea, necessitating a time-consuming (and potentially impossible, based on the tactical scenario at the time) transit to a rear area to rearm. See Jan van Tol, Mark Gunzinger, Andrew Krepinevich, and Jim Thomas, AirSea Battle: A Point-of-Departure Operational Concept (Washington, DC: Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, 2010), p. 40.
would almost certainly be used by the Chinese to enhance ASBM survivability. Such countermeasures include decoys, cooling shrouds for ASBM MaRVs, and even the option of launching older-model DF-21 missiles alongside the DF-21D ASBMs.183 The U.S.‘s SM-3 interceptor and Aegis BMD system have no record of effectiveness against these types of countermeasures.184 Hoyler‘s discussion of Chinese attacks on air bases in the region centered on Kadena Air Force Base (AFB) in Okinawa, which is the most proximate U.S. air base in the region to China. It is situated less than 500 miles from the Taiwan Strait. Aircraft flying from Kadena would not need to make a close approach to China in order to directly reach the presumed battle area, in contrast to aircraft flying from air bases in Korea which would need to (and thus be subject to the very robust Chinese air defense system), or instead would be forced to fly a circuitous route to avoid Chinese fighter interceptors launching from the PRC.185 Hoyler‘s arguments here are the same, though the implements are different: Chinese ballistic and cruise missiles attacking U.S. assets instead of ASBMs, and land-based Patriot PAC-3 ABMs instead of ship-based SM-3 interceptors as the U.S. active defense measure. In light of the global need for ABM defenses in the American case and only the regional need for Chinese ballistic and cruise missiles, the Chinese would be able to commit a larger percentage of their ballistic and cruise missiles to countering U.S. bases in the region than the U.S. would be able to commit ABMs to defend them. As with the ASBMs, only a fraction of the offensive missiles would need to penetrate the defensive screen to cause deleterious effects on the base‘s ability to support combat operations against China.186 As few as twelve cratering warheads might be enough to render all of Kadena‘s runways unusable, and forty cluster warheads could be sufficient to cover all areas where large aircraft (such as airborne warning and control
183 Ibid., p. 91. 184 Ibid., pp. 91-92. 185 Ibid., p. 94. 186 Hoyler indicates that there are two ways an air base could be rendered ineffective: via single
warheads designed to crater runways, or by cluster munitions that could destroy unsheltered aircraft. Ibid. p. 86. See also Stillion (2009), Stillion and Orletsky (1999).
system planes [AWACS], aerial refuelers, and maritime surveillance aircraft) would be situated between landing and takeoff.187 Hoyler assumed that the U.S. ABM (PAC-3) stock at Kadena AFB is 264 missiles, roughly one-third of the nearly 800 PAC-3 missiles advertised to be a part of the U.S. inventory at the end of FY 2010. He again made assumptions about perfect indications and warning (I&W) about the incoming Chinese missile strike and the U.S. operational doctrine of engaging each incoming missile with two PAC-3 interceptors, meaning 132 incoming missiles could be engaged. Further assuming a 0.7 probability of kill, 12 of the engaged missiles would make it past the PAC-3 defenses. Therefore, the 133rd and all subsequent missiles would be unopposed, allowing the PRC to render Kadena‘s runways useless and destroy all unsheltered aircraft by firing a total of 172 DF-15 SRBMs,188 or approximately 43 to 50 percent of their estimated inventory. 189 China could also increase the effectiveness of its SRBMs by eliminating Patriot radars using anti-radiation missiles (ARMs), which would be roughly analogous to the potential use of decoys and other countermeasures for which U.S. ABM capabilities have no proven record of countering, as discussed above.190 The last section of Hoyler‘s research considered what effect a pair of new ABM capabilities might have on protecting U.S. bases from Chinese ballistic missile attacks. The first of these, the U.S. Army‘s Terminal High Altitude Air Defense (THAAD) system recently entered production. Army officials planned to deliver the system‘s first 25 missiles – which are capable of intercepting targets both inside and outside the Earth‘s atmosphere – to operational units during FY 2010. Indeed, it is this dual capability (the ability to engage targets both within the atmosphere and without) that is believed to make THAAD more resistant to terminal phase countermeasures and makes it distinct from the Patriot PAC-3 and Aegis ABM systems. Production rates are expected to double in the coming years, but because the
187 Hoyler, pp. 94-95. These types of ―big wing‖ aircraft are unable to fit in currently existing hardened shelters at Kadena. 188 Hoyler, p. 96. 189 DoD estimates that China had 350 to 400 DF-15 SRBMs in 2009 (Office of the Secretary of Defense , p. 66) and were building another 20-40 per year. (Hoyler‘s calculation – see Hoyler, p. 105n43.) 190 Hoyler, p. 96.
volume of THAAD interceptors is expected to remain relatively low in the near future, Hoyler points out that it might make more sense for THAAD interceptors to be deployed in defense of Andersen Air Base on Guam as opposed to using them to protect Kadena on Okinawa, since China has fewer missiles that can strike the moredistant Guam.191 The second new potential ABM capability discussed by Hoyler is the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS). MEADS is a multinational project between the U.S., Germany, and Italy designed to replace the venerable Patriot air defense system. This system is said to be quite robust, with capabilities against threats including ballistic, cruise, and anti-radiation missiles; UAVs; and manned rotary and fixed wing aircraft. However, Hoyler stated that the U.S. Army had reservations about the MEADS system‘s cost and its ability to perform its missions fully. Hoyler concluded that if the system was able to perform up to specifications, and if it were deployed in sufficient strength at Kadena Air Base, it could make a positive contribution to the facility‘s air defense profile. 192 However, since the time that Hoyler‘s article was published, the Army decided not to go ahead with the MEADS project: it will receive no additional funding after FY 2013.193 Hoyler concluded that U.S. ABM capabilities would be inadequate to the task of counteracting both Chinese ballistic missile threats to bases and facilities in the Western Pacific and the ASBM threat to U.S. ships in the region, particularly in light of U.S. ABM assets‘ poor or non-existent track record of intercepting missiles that employ decoy and deception means (as it would make sense for PLA missiles to
191 Ibid., pp. 96-97. The U.S. Government‘s environmental impact statement (EIS) supporting the planned buildup of U.S. military forces on Guam described the anticipated environmental impact of planned DoD facilities construction on Guam, and included a volume documenting requirements for the establishment of an Army Air and Missile Defense Task Force on Guam which would operate THAAD, Patriot, and Surface-Launched Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (SLAMRAAM) missile defense systems in defense of Guam. See Department of the Navy, Final Environmental Impact Assessment (EIS): Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) Military Relocation (Pearl Harbor, HI: Joint Guam Project Office, 2010), Volume Five: Army Air and Missile Defense Task Force. Available at http://www.guambuildupeis.us/documents (accessed on April 26, 2011). 192 Hoyler, p. 97. 193 Dave Cook, ―John McCain weighs in on Paul Ryan budget (video),‖ The Christian Science Monitor, April 6, 2011, http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/monitor_breakfast/2011/0406/JohnMcCain-weighs-in-on-Paul-Ryan-budget-video; ―Defense Acquisition Expenses Surpass Projections: GAO,‖ Global Security Newswire, March 31, 2011, http://www.globalsecuritynewswire.org/gsn/nw_20110331_1167.php (both accessed on April 26, 2011).
be able to do). As a result, the U.S. must find other ways to protect its aircraft carriers and air bases. Hoyler argued that funding for active defenses (e.g. ABM systems) should be reduced, with the savings funneled into either the means to attack missile launchers, command and control systems, or ISR assets in China (most of which are considered beyond the pale, politically, with the possible exception of deniable nonkinetic attacks) or, Hoyler‘s preferred choice, into so-called passive defenses.194 Examples of passive defenses at sea are emissions controls (EMCON) on both radars and communications signals, decoys and deceptive emissions, the use of obscurants, and the use of hard-to-predict operational patterns.195 Measures such as these, if rigorously implemented, could provide the degree of uncertainty needed to render threats like the ASBM unable to find its target. Passive defenses can also be employed at land installations. Hoyler stated that countermeasures such as hardened critical infrastructure, construction of additional hardened aircraft shelters, and the possession and proficiency in use of rapid-runway-repair kits to withstand repeated attacks are the keys to the survivability of U.S. airbases in the region. Even if these measures were fully implemented, they would still fail to address the key vulnerability of ―big wing‖ aircraft such as aerial refuelers and maritime surveillance aircraft which are too large to fit inside conventional aircraft shelters. Hoyler‘s proposed solution for part of the problem is the acquisition of E-2D Advanced Hawkeye airborne early warning and battle management command and control aircraft for land-based use. The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye, which has folding wings and is designed for carrier-borne operations, can fit inside a typical hardened shelter.196 Hoyler‘s research and conclusions are of the type that needs to be integrated with a more comprehensive look at China‘s overall A2/AD capabilities. His
194 Hoyler, pp. 97-99. 195 A recent article in the Naval War College Review discusses how the U.S. Navy approached
exercises aimed at maximizing the survivability of aircraft carriers in operations against the Soviet Union in the 1950s and 1960s. A series of exercises and tests in the Mediterranean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, of which a major part was strict EMCON on the part of all U.S. ships and aircraft and dispersed operations, showed that these measures, referred to as passive defenses by Hoyler, were effective in increasing the survivability of aircraft carriers far in excess of what had been previously forecasted. See Robert G. Angevine, ―Hiding in Plain Sight: The U.S. Navy and Dispersed Operations under EMCON, 1956–1972,‖ Naval War College Review, Spring 2011, Vol. 64, No. 2, pp. 79-95.
196 Ibid., pp. 99-101.
assertions about China‘s conventional missile strike capability go far beyond the conclusions reached in earlier research such as the 2007 RAND study197 and thus justify an updated treatment as part of a comprehensive coverage of China‘s A2/AD capabilities. Likewise, the information contained in the USCC‘s 2010 report is useful in building an up-to-date picture of China‘s current overall A2/AD capabilities. This thesis will incorporate information from both works presented in this section into its comprehensive examination of China‘s A2/AD capabilities (contained in Chapter 3). 3. U.S. Counter-A2/AD Operational Concepts and Countermeasures
This section will discuss research related to U.S. concepts and ideas to counter Chinese A2/AD capabilities, including the new joint operational concept for operating in a robust A2/AD environment called the AirSea Battle Concept (ASBC). Since ASBC is relatively new, having been first introduced within the DoD in 2009 and mentioned in publicly released DoD documents in 2010, many details about it remain unknown. Only one major U.S. think tank (CSBA) has produced significant reports on it. That said, examination of what is known about ASBC and one previous report about U.S. concepts to counter A2/AD threats from the early 2000s is a vital part of understanding U.S. perceptions of Chinese A2/AD capabilities. It should be noted that despite the inclusion of this material on the ASBC and U.S. counter-A2/AD concepts here in the literature review, because of the relative scarcity of additional materials discussing the ASBC at the time of this writing, there is not a great deal more that can be authoritatively attributed to the ASBC beyond what is covered in this section. Therefore, after this section of Chapter 2, ASBC will not be mentioned substantively again in any subsequent chapters or sections of this thesis.
197 This is referring to Cliff, et al., pp. 86-89. This portion of the report deals with potential Chinese strikes on U.S. bases and facilities in the region as well as transportation and support assets and only covers the possible effects of ballistic and cruise missiles generally. However, the more recent estimations of Chinese missile arsenals and capabilities (including accuracy) contained in Hoyler‘s article do a much better job (in this researcher‘s opinion) of indicating the real contemporary threat, and thus the existing comprehensive scholarship is in need of updating.
Meeting the Anti-Access and Area-Denial Challenge (2003)
In 2003, in an important work that injected the essential U.S. operational context into the A2/AD discussion for the first time, CSBA published a report entitled Meeting the Anti-Access and Area-Denial Challenge. Meeting the Anti-Access and Area-Denial Challenge had three authors, Dr. Andrew Krepinevich, Barry Watts, and Robert Work. Barry Watts is a senior fellow as CSBA and has been with the think tank since 2002, before which he was the director of the DoD‘s Office of Program Analysis and Evaluation (PA&E).198 PA&E is the office within the DoD that makes program recommendations to the Secretary of Defense and serves as the link between national military strategy and the DoD‘s budget. After retiring from the U.S. Air Force in 1986, Watts directed the internal think tank of a major defense contractor, Northrop Grumman, in which capacity he was responsible for analyses of defense policy, military threats, military doctrine, and operational concepts, among other business-related analytical endeavors. He was formally educated at the U.S. Air Force Academy and the University of Pittsburgh.199 (The backgrounds of Krepinevich and Work are discussed elsewhere in this thesis.200) The purpose of Meeting the Anti-Access and Area-Denial Challenge was to reveal the risks attendant in each of the service‘s ―transformation‖ plans,
198 PA&E has been known as the Office of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation since 2009,
but this thesis will use the former name for clarity.
199 Biographical information from ―Barry Watts,‖ Center for Strategic and Budgetary
Assessments website, 2010, http://www.csbaonline.org/about/people/bwatts/ (accessed on April 26, 2011). Description of PA&E responsibilities from Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs), ―New Director of PA&E Outlines Roles and Missions,‖ U.S. Department of Defense News Transcript, July 19, 2002, http://www.defense.gov/transcripts/transcript.aspx?transcriptid=3594, and Gordon England, ―Director, Program Analysis and Evaluation (PA&E),‖ Department of Defense Directive 5141.01, March 16, 2006, http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/514101p.pdf (both accessed on April 26, 2011). Information about the Northrop Grumman Analysis Center taken from ―Analysis Center,‖ Northrop Grumman website, 2011, http://www.northropgrumman.com/analysiscenter/index.html (accessed on April 26, 2011). Why AirSea Battle? (2010)‖ beginning on page 29 above. Work‘s current position was discussed in footnote 71 on page 29 above.
200 Biographical information on Krepinevich was contained in the section entitled ―c.
specifically with respect to A2/AD challenges. 201 Each chapter examined the risks entailed in each of the services‘ individual approaches to countering the A2/AD challenge in the following four categories: (1) path risk, that is, the idea that each of the services might decide to proceed on a certain path or paths, concentrating its limited resources on a perceived ―solution‖ to the A2/AD challenge that may, in the end, prove to be unsuitable to the real challenge, and with no real prospects for alternative paths; (2) operational risk, which posits that the ―preferred [s]ervice solutions [would] fare poorly [if] used in actual combat against intelligent, resourceful, motivated opponents‖;202 (3) technological risk, meaning that the services cannot be certain that new technologies they plan to develop to deal with the A2/AD challenge will actually be feasible, nor what level of proficiency or effectiveness the new technologies can be expected to have against various A2/AD capabilities; and (4) resource risk, the very real possibility that sufficient resources to achieve the desired solutions are not available in the timeframe desired by the individual services.203 Each of the co-authors solely authored the chapters of the report related to their background and expertise (e.g. Watts, the Air Force veteran, solely wrote the chapter on the Air Force concept; Work, a retired U.S. Marine colonel, wrote the Department of the Navy chapter; and Krepinevich, the former soldier, described the Army‘s approach). Meeting the Anti-Access and Area-Denial Challenge represents probably the first U.S. study to examine the A2/AD challenge in comprehensive fashion. 204 In it, Krepinevich, Watts, and Work examined each of the U.S. military services‘ individual strategies for countering anti-access and area-denial (A2/AD) threats and found that there was no coordinated approach. The lack of a joint approach to the A2/AD challenge likely meant that there was no credible U.S. option
201 Krepinevich, Watts, and Work, p. 8. ―Transformation‖, as used in the CSBA report, refers to ―large-scale innovation‖ and was a major theme of then-Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld‘s tenure. In fact, one resource indicates that ―transforming the U.S. military became Donald Rumsfeld's chief goal when he was named Bush's secretary of defense.‖ Thomas L. McNaughter, ―The Real Meaning of Defense Transformation: Rethinking the Revolution,‖ Foreign Affairs, January/February 2007. Accessed at http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/62285/thomas-l-mcnaugher/the-realmeaning-of-military-transformation-rethinking-the-revolu?page=show on April 26, 2011.) See page 13 of this thesis for a definition of defense transformation. This thesis will only discuss defense transformation as it relates to the A2/AD challenge. 202 Krepinevich, Watts, and Work, p. 8. 203 Ibid., pp. 9-10. 204 Cliff, et al., p. 7.
to project military power in a robust A2/AD environment. 205 This presents a significant problem in view of China‘s rise, including its rapid military modernization and newfound belligerence in a variety of territorial issues along its maritime periphery since 2009, because it portends that the U.S. would be largely impotent to respond to Chinese aggression against friends and allies in the region.206 The U.S. Air Force‘s service-level concept for operations in an A2/AD environment was called the Global Strike Task Force (GSTF) concept. The concept envisioned the extensive use of stealth aircraft (both fighters and bombers) to penetrate even the most robust anti-air environment, using F-22s to protect B-2 bombers and F-117s (the original stealth fighter, no longer in service) to enable even daylight raids, something that had previously been avoided because of the older stealth aircraft‘s vulnerability to enemy fighters and visually-guided SAMs. Once enemy air defenses had been sufficiently degraded, enemy forces would then be vulnerable to air attacks from both land- and sea-based non-stealth aircraft, enabling further U.S. air superiority.207 In the Air Force section, Watts found that the GSTF concept depended on forward bases to enable air strikes. He noted that in order to conduct so-called ―intense‖ air operations 208 of the type that would necessarily be required to sufficiently degrade the capabilities of an enemy like China, tactical aircraft – including short-range fighters, fighter-bombers, and attack aircraft – need to be stationed preferably within 500 – 1,000 nautical miles of their targets, and only in extreme circumstances would they be able to achieve intense air operations from longer ranges, up to 2,000 nautical miles away. 209 While truly long-range strike platforms like B-2 and B-52 bombers can certainly reach their targets from much farther away (as can other platforms when one considers the range extension provided
205 Krepinevich, Watts, and Work, pp. iii-iv. 206 Cooper, pp. 9-10. 207 Krepinevich, Watts, and Work, pp. 12-14. 208 Work offers a definition of ―intense‖ air operations borrowed from Stillion and Orletsky. ―Intense‖ air operations are ―operations in which theater-based fighter, fighter-bomber, and attack aircraft can sustain at least one sortie per day per aircraft.‖ See Stillion and Orletsky, p. 54. 209 Krepinevich, Watts, and Work, p. 17.
by aerial refueling operations), they are not likely to be able to approach the daily sortie rate needed to achieve intense air operations.210 Watts evaluated the risks associated with the Air Force‘s GSTF concept. First of all, the concept shows ―extreme path dependency‖ in that it emphasized short-range strike aircraft like the F-22 to the exclusion of developing new long-range strike capabilities that would lessen USAF dependence on bases within 1,500 – 2,000 kilometers of targets. By deferring the development of a post-B2 long-range bomber to the 2030s, USAF leadership also tied themselves to even greater dependence on the aging Air Force aerial refueling tanker fleet, the newest of which came into service in the mid-1960s.211 In Watts‘ opinion, operational risks entailed by the GSTF concept were also dire. The most glaring examples of operational risk in the GSTF plan included the continued dependence on forward bases, problems related to the timely elimination of advanced air defenses, and a lack of persistent ISR coverage required to defeat time-critical, emergent, and mobile targets. In many ways, these operational risks stemmed from the Air Force‘s path risk choice of focusing their institutional development on the F-22 platform to the exclusion of other possible systems that might better address critical operational risks.212 Watts assessed that the technological and fiscal risks of the GSTF plan were, not surprisingly based on the risks examined so far, almost identical to those of the F-22 program itself. Even in 2003 when the CSBA report was written, indications were that the Air Force‘s ability to acquire the then-planned 381 F-22s was in danger due to spiraling program costs and a budget cap being considered by the U.S. Congress.213 In retrospect, we now know that the F-22 acquisition was terminated at
210 Ibid., pp. 15-16. 211 Ibid., pp. 20-22. 212 Ibid., pp. 22-26, 28. 213 Ibid., pp. 26-27.
187 aircraft,214 only about 50 percent of what the Air Force had planned for, greatly complicating its heavily F-22-dependent GSTF plan. Beyond this, technological solutions for a required long-duration, survivable ISR platform able to provide the near-real time coverage over large areas were also lacking at the time the CSBA report was written.215 Moving on from the Air Force, Work described the Department of the Navy (DoN, consisting of the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps) concept for operating in an A2/AD environment, which was known as ―Assured Access‖. Around 2000, the DoN adopted the tenet ―we assure access‖ as encapsulating its approach to theater access.216 The primary means proposed by the DoN to assure access was an operational concept called sea basing, which precluded the need for fixed, vulnerable land-based lodgments. Sea basing consists of U.S. Navy ships which are inherently mobile and carry their own defenses. Despite this sea basing concept, the Navy and Marine Corps moved together during the Cold War toward having the preponderance of their forcible entry capabilities based on land. This had the effect of making the Navy nearly as dependent on vulnerable forward bases as the other services.217 However, since the end of the Cold War, senior DoN officials realized that since it was the only service with air, naval, and ground forces, a ―bureaucratic opportunity‖ existed that favored the advancement of sea basing as an attractive alternative to increasingly vulnerable bases ashore. Sea basing was also presented as an efficacious means for power projection and strike inward from the coast, though in fact the relatively short
214 R. Jeffrey Smith, ―Premier U.S. Fighter Jet Has Major Shortcomings,‖ Washington Post, July 10, 2009, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2009/07/09/AR2009070903020_pf.html (accessed on April 28, 2011). Watts reviewed the F-22 program itself in a separate report from CSBA. See Barry Watts, ―The F-22 Program in Retrospect,‖ CSBA Backgrounder, December 2009, http://www.csbaonline.org/wpcontent/uploads/2011/02/2009.08.09-F-22-Program-in-Retrospect.pdf (accessed on April 28, 2011). 215 Krepinevich, Watts, and Work, p. 28. 216 Gordon England, Admiral Vernon Clark, General James L. Jones, Naval Power 21 (Washington, DC: Department of the Navy, October 2002), p. 1, as cited in Krepinevich, Watts, and Work, p. 29. 217 Krepinevich, Watts, and Work, p. 31. Work shows that there was (and still is) a 4:1 ratio of ground-based to sea-based Marine brigade or brigade-equivalents designated for crisis response, with, in his opinion, grave implications for American capabilities to conduct cohesive amphibious operations of brigade size or larger. For the U.S. Marines, a Marine Expeditionary Brigade, or MEB, consists of approximately 14,500 personnel. See Krepinevich, Watts, and Work, p. 54.
operational ranges of both strike and transport aircraft capable of operating from the decks of U.S. Navy vessels – up to 500 nautical miles for strike aircraft operating from a carrier and 200 nautical miles for transport helicopters operating from amphibious platforms – required sea bases to be no more than 25 nautical miles from the shoreline, a distance that is well within the threat envelope of variety of anti-ship missiles.218 DoN‘s plan for transforming its force to support new roles and missions, including counter A2/AD operations, consisted of three concepts driving transformation efforts supporting a number of objectives and goals. The first concept, sea basing, has already been discussed above. ―Sea Shield,‖ the second concept, refers to the development of naval capabilities needed to gain and maintain access to forward areas as well as those capabilities that protect the U.S. homeland and joint forces (i.e. missile defense). The third and final concept is called ―Sea Strike,‖ and of the three it conforms most closely with what most external parties likely view as the traditional role of a navy: naval power projection – but with enhanced effectiveness, operations tempo and reach enabled by improved C4ISR, endurance, and precision strike and stealth capabilities.219 Like the Air Force, the DoN‘s transformation plan was also subject to various risks, which Work described as ―formidable, if not insurmountable.‖ 220 In terms of path risk, in tying their ―Assured Access‖ plan to a new class of small-crew combatants, known as the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), designed to fill a niche littoral maritime counter-access-denial (AD) role, while at the same time (not coincidentally) greatly expanding the overall number of combatant ships in the fleet, DoN did much the same thing as the Air Force with its F-22. It is unclear what the DoN‘s alternative plans are if the future budget environment is unable to support such a vast expansion of the fleet, or if support from future administrations is not forthcoming.
218 Krepinevich, Watts, and Work, pp. 32-34. The inability of naval aircraft to carry heavy loads
and large equipment means that all such materiel would still have to be taken ashore via landing craft. Further, the now-cancelled Marine Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) was designed to start its run in to shore from about 25 nautical miles out, and naval gunfire systems assume that the firing ship is around 25 nautical miles from shore. See Krepinevich, Watts, and Work, p. 34n19.
219 Krepinevich, Watts, and Work, pp. 36-37. 220 Krepinevich, Watts, and Work, p. 67.
According to Work, the DoN‘s ―Assured Access‖ plan rests upon a number of debatable operational assumptions. For instance, the plan assumes that threats to land bases will be much higher than those to sea bases. In fact, Work argues that sea bases are much more vulnerable to conventional attacks than are land bases because by necessity more capability is packed into every cubic foot of a seagoing ship than is the case with any given land base, meaning that a comparable attack on a ship will likely result in a much greater level of destruction or degradation of capability. Secondly, the DoN plan assumes that the increased capability that would come from the use of sea bases (in terms of the ability to use the sea as maneuver space, etc.) as compared to land bases outweighs the operational and logistical constraints of using sea bases. Third, the DoN plan takes for granted that sea bases and the area between the sea bases and the enemy shoreline could be protected effectively from diesel submarines, mines, and swarming boats by the path-dependent choice of the LCS as a maritime counter-AD platform. Stated another way, the plan assumes that the enemy will conform his AD network and capabilities to the very limited capability suite envisioned for the LCS, which can be configured in three ways: for anti-submarine warfare (specifically those operating near the coast), countermine warfare, or anti-surface warfare (optimized against small, fast vessels armed with missiles).221 Finally, the DoN plan assumes that there is no viable threat to SLOCs leading to the sea base, that is, that enemies will not think to or will not have the capability to interdict undefended and unescorted combat logistics, maritime prepositioning, and sealift vessels on the open ocean.222 Work explained that operationally, the LCS is the weakest link in the DoN‘s plan. The fact that it was purposely not designed as a multi-mission platform means that it is unable to effectively escort undefended logistics ships on the way to the sea base. The LCS‘s crew was purposely limited in number and its price kept low as to preempt outrage in the case of a loss, the risk of which is high based on its extremely dangerous counter-AD mission. Critics assert that the tasks purportedly to be the strengths of the LCS by dint of its three mission modules (see above) would be
221 It is important to note that the LCS cannot conduct all three types of warfare simultaneously, but instead needs a period of time in port or at the sea base to swap out its ―mission modules‖ that enable it to conduct the different types of warfare. See ibid. p. 45. 222 Ibid., pp. 52-62.
better accomplished either by building a smaller number of larger, multi-missioncapable surface combatants, or by designing and fielding unmanned platforms to accomplish the risky missions to be assigned to brave LCS crews. Technologically, the DoN‘s transformation plan was very ambitious, but Work assessed that it was not the development and fielding of the technologies per se that would be problematic. Rather, he posited that the stumbling block would be the near-simultaneous integration of numerous technologies. Even so, the integration of new technologies appeared to be manageable based on previous examples of technological integration by the DoN.223 In Work‘s view, the fiscal risks of the DoN plan were the most critical. Indeed, the Navy‘s plan to acquire an entirely new class of ships in large number (the LCS), development of two versions of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) – a carrierbased version and a short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL)-version for exclusive use by the Marines – taken in concert with swelling shipbuilding costs across the board and increased operations and support costs derived from the manning of all the new equipment being fielded and support of ships and aircraft which have nonstandardized engines and other major parts, meant that there was significant risk that at least some portion of the DoN‘s technological transformation plans would have to be delayed or abandoned.224 Finally, we turn to the Army. The U.S. Army‘s concept for operating in an A2/AD environment in the early 2000s was centered around its ―Objective Force‖ concept, which was a plan to transition the Army from its traditional dependence on heavy armored formations to a much lighter, expeditionary force capable of being rapidly deployed worldwide in short periods of time even in the face of significant A2/AD challenges.225 The fielding of Stryker Brigades, which began in
223 Ibid., pp. 62-63. 224 Ibid., pp. 63-67. 225 Krepinevich, Watts, and Work, p. 73. The Army‘s three main requirements for its
―transformational forces‖ were to be able to deploy rapidly; deploy at an acceptable cost in an A2/AD environment; and be able to accomplish their warfighting mission(s) once deployed.
the early 2000s, was seen as an interim step towards the full implementation of the Objective Force by the end of the first decade of this century.226 Krepinevich explains that the Army was clear about what it perceived as the significant A2/AD threats it faced: missiles, long-range rockets and artillery, weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and information operations, all with the aim of ―deny[ing] deploying Army units access to major forward aerial and sea ports of debarkation‖. 227 To address these threats, the Army‘s plan was to create light and flexible forces that would not require access to major ports and airfields to deploy. These forces were to be deployed through the use of a ―strategic mobility triad‖ of sealift, airlift, and pre-positioned equipment, and were expected to be able to ―fight upon arrival.‖228 A ―system of systems‖ called the Future Combat System (FCS) was at the heart of the Army‘s Objective Force plan. The FCS was more than simply a platform, but instead was to consist of ―a networked, combined-arms team of manned and unmanned ground systems and UAVs.‖ FCS was to incorporate the lethality and survivability of modern-day heavy armored formations and artillery but do so while limiting weight to 20 tons for the purposes of mobility and deployability. 229 Figure 2 (below) depicts the major systems that were intended to be a part of the FCS.
226 The Stryker Interim Armored Combat Vehicle is a cross between an armored personnel carrier and an infantry fighting vehicle. It is wheeled and weighs about 19 tons, as compared to 70 tons for an M1A1 Abrams main battle tank or 25 tons for a Bradley Fighting Vehicle. See Krepinevich, Watts, and Work, pp. 74; ―M2A3 and M3A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle Systems (BFVS),‖ Federation of American Scientists, May 5, 2000, http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/land/m2.htm (accessed on May 9, 2011). 227 Krepinevich, Watts, and Work, p. 69. 228 Ibid., pp. 70-71. While small deployments of U.S. forces have shown the ability to ―fight upon
arrival‖ in a given theater in the recent past (for instance, SOF raids inherently do this, and initial U.S. efforts in Afghanistan in late 2001 and 2002 also did), virtually every major U.S. military deployment in modern times has been predicated on the ability to create secure lodgments in the region, building up vast stores of supplies (a process sometimes referred to as ―building the iron mountain‖), and then beginning combat operations at a time significantly later that ―upon arrival.‖ The best examples of this are the 1990-91 Gulf War and the 2003 Iraq War. The implication is that it is unlikely that generalpurpose U.S. forces will be ready to begin combat operations upon arrival in a theater of operations.
229 Krepinevich, Watts, and Work, p. 74.
FCS ―System of Systems‖
Source: Andrew F. Krepinevich, An Army at the Crossroads (Washington, DC: Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, 2008), p. 38. Krepinevich notes that while laudable in its goals, the drawbacks of the Army‘s Objective Force plan were significant. First, related to the operational risk field, it created a virtually unaddressable Army dependence on Air Force-provided strategic lift assets. For example, to move even a single Stryker brigade (a force consisting of over 1,000 vehicles230) from the continental United States (CONUS) to a point overseas, would require the dedicated use of 60 to 95 percent of the U.S. inventory of C-17 cargo jets for a period of four days. 231 Further, while strategic airlift can move cargo quickly, it has limited ability to land at the unimproved runways that the Objective Force plan envisioned using in order to avoid major
230 Krepinevich, Watts, and Work, p. 76. 231 Ibid., p. 77. Krepinevich cites a briefing by the manufacturer of the C-17 aircraft, Boeing,
indicating that the dedicated use of between 103 and 168 C-17s would be necessary to deploy a Stryker brigade in less than 96 hours. An Army estimate is higher – 201 C-17s and 51 of the larger C-5 transport aircraft.
facilities that would be easy (and likely) targets of enemy missile attacks. 232 The Army‘s plan further falters under an examination of its need for vast numbers of smaller transport aircraft, such as the venerable C-130, to move personnel and equipment from the intermediate support bases serviced by strategic airlift to smaller, austere airfields closer to the fight. The 20-ton weight cap for FCS and Stryker vehicles was imposed by the requirements of this airframe. Carrying a payload near its maximum, as both the Stryker and FCS are, limits the C-130‘s operational range severely, making it very likely that enemy missile forces would have the range to target the vulnerable intermediate support bases where forces would have to transload from strategic airlifters to the smaller C-130s. This calls into question the Army‘s plan for using airlift to move forces into theater in the face of an A2/AD threat.233 Given the range of worldwide demands for these critical transport assets, it is highly unlikely that this kind of dedicated use could be maintained for the amount of time necessary to deploy truly significant ground forces through this means alone. The Army is also focusing on seaborne means for force deployment for precisely this reason. One means of seaborne transport under consideration to fulfill Objective Force requirements was a fleet of medium-sized catamaran-hulled fast transport ferries which had been successfully tested and employed by the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps in the Western Pacific. These ships, called Joint High-Speed Vessels (JHSVs), are capable transporting the cargo equivalent of nine C-17-loads at speeds of nearly 50 miles per hour over a range of nearly 2,500 nautical miles on a single fueling. While the imaginative use of these high-speed vessels could have reduced the amount of time necessary to deploy a Stryker brigade by several days, the fact remained that it would have required 12 such vessels to deploy a single Stryker brigade. Moreover, JHSVs have no special survivability mechanisms for operation in the face of an A2/AD threat.234
232 Ibid., p. 76. 233 Ibid., pp. 77-79. 234 Ibid., pp. 81-82. Notably, the Army recently decided to divest itself of its JHSVs, transferring
control of the five vessels that it had acquired to the Navy on May 2, 2011. The Navy now has a total of 10 JHSVs, a number that could eventually grow to 23. See Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs), ―Army Transfers High Speed Vessels to Navy,‖ U.S. Department of Defense News Release, May 5, 2011, http://www.defense.gov/releases/release.aspx?releaseid=14475; Christopher P. Cavas, ―Army, Navy finalize transfer of JHSVs,‖ Navy Times, May 5, 2011, http://www.navytimes.com/news/2011/05/army-navy-finalize-joint-high-speed-vessel-transfer050511w/ (both accessed on May 15, 2011).
The Objective Force plan was also severely limited in terms of logistics. In order to keep deploying forces as light as possible, they would arrive in theater with a mere three days of sustainment (food, water, and ammunition). This Spartan requirement created the real possibility that materials in high demand for a force expected to fight upon arrival, such as precision munitions, might soon be in dangerously low supply. The lack of supplies might also require that an abnormally large ratio of combat forces might need to be diverted to conduct convoy and other logistical functions. 235 Moving on to examining path risks of the Army‘s Objective Force concept, Krepinevich discovered that the Army‘s plan seemed to assume that the other services were pursuing their transformation efforts in ways that would be supportive of its own transformation plan. For example, the Army‘s relative neglect of enemy ballistic and cruise missile threats in its planning seemed to reflect confidence in the Air Force‘s ability to neutralize these threats rapidly and efficiently. However, Krepinevich notes that ―the U.S. military‘s ability to target and destroy these critical, mobile [missile] forces over extended ranges is much more a hope than it is a reality,‖ something that seems lost upon Army planners who seem to want to assume that they would be able to forget about A2/AD threats and revert to a traditional mode of logistical and force buildup flows through major ports and air hubs.236 A second path risk mentioned was the Objective Force‘s seeming focus on ―the last war,‖ meaning that it was a plan optimized for fighting in open terrain, not the increasingly urban battlefields projected to be those most likely in the future. The Objective Force sacrifices heavy formations for a highly-networked, fast-moving force that prizes seeing threats first, understanding threats faster than the enemy does, taking initiative to act on the threats, all to enable a decisive finish. However, it is likely that enemy combatants on an urban battlefield will have a much better understanding of their own local environment than will the U.S. combat forces just arriving, high-tech surveillance platforms or not.237
235 Ibid., pp. 83-84. 236 Ibid., pp. 84-85. 237 Ibid., pp. 85-87.
The third and final path risk was technical. Fielding the Objective Force and the FCS would represent, in Krepinevich‘s estimation, ―by far the most complex technological challenge ever attempted by the Army.‖ Adding to the strain was the desired implementation timeline – initial roll-out to Army units was expected to have begun by 2008.238 With regard to fiscal risks and human resource risks, numerous aspects of the FCS and the Objective Force were either underfunded, over budget, or both. One example was instructive. Despite its importance, the new Comanche surveillance and attack stealth helicopter, deemed ―a revolutionary cornerstone of the Objective Force….‖ by the Army Chief of Staff, was only planned to be produced at roughly 80 percent of the level required by the Army‘s Objective Force plan and was later cancelled. 239 Moreover, the demands on personnel to familiarize themselves with high-tech FCS components seemed unattainable based on traditional by-individual personnel rotation and assignment policies. Instead, the Army considered implementing unit-level manning policies for Stryker brigades that would have enhanced unit cohesion by keeping all members of a unit together.240 While Krepinevich‘s analysis was published in 2003, we now know that the FCS program, in general, was cancelled in 2009 (though some aspects of the program were spun off as new stand-alone programs 241 ). We also now know that implementation of the Objective Force has lagged far behind the timeline initially proposed by the Army. While delays in force transformation can be understood in light of the ongoing wars, even in the mid-1990s, prior to the wars in Afghanistan and
238 Ibid., p. 88. 239 Ibid. p. 90; Mike Mount, ―Army cancels Comanche helicopter,‖ CNN.com, February 23, 2004,
http://articles.cnn.com/2004-02-23/us/helicopter.cancel_1_comanche-sikorsky-aircraft-corporationschoomaker?_s=PM:US (accessed on May 10, 2011). The Comanche helicopter was cancelled in 2004 before the aircraft reached production due to delays (the aircraft had been in development for two decades and was still at least two years away from regular production status) and increasing costs ($6.9 billion over the life of the program up to that point).
240 Krepinevich, Watts, and Work, pp. 91-92. 241 Robert Gray, ―Q and A with Maj. Gen. Keith Walker, Commander, Brigade Modernization Command,‖ El Paso Inc., May 1, 2011, http://elpasoinc.com/ReadArticleSearch.aspx?xrec=6417; Christopher Drew, ―Conflicting Priorities Endanger High-Tech Army Program,‖ New York Times, July 19, 2009, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/20/business/20combat.html?pagewanted=all (both accessed on May 10, 2011).
Iraq, the Army Science Board estimated that the Objective Force would not be fielded until 2015.242 In sum, Krepinevich assessed that the Army‘s modernization plan was ―a highly risky proposition.‖ Krepinevich‘s chapter was meant not to offer prescriptions on how to make the Objective Force plan better; instead it was a diagnostic effort. He noted the fact that the Army recognized the need to plan for a way to operate in an A2/AD environment. He also noted that the Army began its planning before the A2/AD threat was so overwhelming that it ―jeopardize[d] the [s]ervice‘s ability to perform its land warfare missions at acceptable costs.‖ Even if the Army‘s initial plan to operate in an A2/AD environment was flawed – and it was – its early action potentially allowed time for the Army to adjust on the fly.243 While the first four chapters of the CSBA report are not specific about where the A2/AD challenge might come from, the final chapter, which offers conclusions and recommendations, is more forthcoming. China, North Korea, and Iran are offered as potential A2/AD foes. Moreover, the authors conclude that the degree to which the individual services‘ transformation plans to deal with A2/AD challenges were not in sync with each other was distressing. Both the Army and DoN‘s plans seemed entirely dependent on the Air Force GSTF‘s ability to remove the missile threat quickly and effectively, which, as has been discussed previously, is a misplaced hope at best. Clearly, a joint approach to counter-A2/AD operations was needed, but unfortunately such an approach would not be forthcoming until the end of the decade.244 (See the next two sections of this chapter for more details on the new U.S. joint approach to counter-A2/AD operations.) One problem with the 2003 CSBA report under examination is the same as that mentioned in the critique of the 2007 RAND report:245 both reports were snapshots in time while the A2/AD threat environment has continued to evolve in the intervening years, further complicating U.S. prospects for a realistic and effective response. In other words, while the conclusions and recommendations put forth in the
242 Krepinevich, Watts, and Work, p. 88. 243 Krepinevich, Watts, and Work, p. 92. 244 Ibid., pp. 92-95. 245 See the first section of the literature review above, beginning on page 24.
CSBA report may have been entirely correct based on the situation that existed when it was published, the conclusions may be quite incompatible with the current situation in light of subsequent developments to which the authors did not, or perhaps could not have forecast. Therefore, this thesis aims to incorporate newer thinking on U.S. strategies to deal with A2/AD threats in the Western Pacific, such as those described in a second series of reports from CSBA in 2010 which explained the current A2/AD environment in the Western Pacific and then postulated a new U.S. warfighting concept to counter these threats, treatment of which begins immediately below. b. Why AirSea Battle? (2010)
In the first of these more recent CSBA reports, entitled Why AirSea Battle?, Dr. Krepinevich wrote that the USAF and USN initiated a new operational concept in 2009.246 This concept was designed with respect to the developing A2/AD environment posed by China in the Western Pacific, an environment that lends itself to domination via aerospace and maritime power.247 The report described the current A2/AD threat environment in the Western Pacific as a starting point for consideration of how to approach the design of a new strategy to work within it.248 The aim of Why AirSea Battle? is to argue for the need of a new approach to deal with modern A2/AD threats, an approach that is joint in nature. Krepinevich makes his case by explaining the importance of power projection operations in ensuring the U.S.‘s security since the end of WWII, describing the A2/AD threat environments in the Western Pacific and in the Arabian Gulf, and providing some concluding remarks.249 Why AirSea Battle? is primarily focused on providing a description of the current A2/AD threat environment in the Western Pacific, but there are also kernels of insight into the AirSea Battle Concept itself scattered throughout the report.
246 For information about CSBA and Krepinevich, see the section beginning on page 29 of this
247 Andrew F. Krepinevich, ―Why AirSea Battle?‖ Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (2010), pp. 1-2. The report also deals with Iran‘s A2/AD threat, but that portion is beyond the scope of this research. 248 Krepinevich (2010), pp. 15-25. For more detail on this aspect of the report, see the section starting on page 29 of this thesis. 249 Ibid., pp. 2-3.
For example, Krepinevich noted that the ASBC seems to be oriented towards rising challenges to U.S. force projection capabilities, which, when expressed in the form of nation-states, fingers China in the Western Pacific and Iran in the Middle East.250 He also recognized that, based on the historical example of the difficulties involved in coordinating joint concepts between even two services (the USA and USAF) in the case of the development and implementation of the U.S. Army‘s AirLand Battle doctrine in the 1980s, the DoD may have known what it was doing by limiting ASBC to only the Air Force and Navy at the outset.251 Krepinevich explained that dependence on ready and secure access to forward bases worldwide was the linchpin of U.S. power projection during the Cold War. America‘s unrivaled long-range airpower and carrier-based sea power were the natural complements of these forward bases. Together, they ensured that no other nation could rival U.S. power projection capabilities, especially after the end of the Cold War.252 The post-Cold War era has seen an alarming erosion of U.S. military dominance and force projection capabilities. Several states have seemed to adopt asymmetric strategies designed to impose prohibitive costs on continued U.S. access to key locations in the global commons: China in the Western Pacific and Iran in the Arabian Gulf.253 Clearly, this CSBA report is not heavy on details about ASBC itself, but it was not intended to be that type of report. The next and final report covered in this literature review will serve the function of ―putting meat on the bones‖ of the ASBC introduced to this point.
250 Ibid., p. 1. 251 Ibid., p. 2. As previously noted, ASBC has already been expanded beyond the USAF and USN. In February 2011, the USPACOM commander invited the Marines to join the ASBC planning process. See Haddick. 252 Krepinevich (2010), p. 6. 253 Ibid., p. 7.
AirSea Battle: A Point-of-Departure Operational Concept (2010)
A second 2010 CSBA report was offered as an initial attempt at crafting a naval and air-centric strategy for operating in the new A2/AD environment presented in the just-discussed threat description report, Why AirSea Battle?. AirSea Battle: A Point-of-Departure Operational Concept was principally authored by Jan van Tol. Van Tol, an expert in long-range strategic planning, military innovation, and war gaming, is a senior fellow at CSBA and served 29 years as a U.S. Navy officer. During his naval service, he commanded three warships, including a destroyer and an amphibious assault ship. He was also a special advisor in the office of Vice-President Richard B. Cheney, and twice served as military assistant to the head of the DoD‘s Office of Net Assessment, whose responsibilities include ―develop[ing] and coordinat[ing] net assessments of the standing, trends, and future prospects of U.S. military capabilities and military potential in comparison with those of other countries or groups of countries so as to identify emerging or future threats or opportunities for the United States.‖ Van Tol was formally educated at the University of Massachusetts, the Naval Postgraduate School, and the U.S. Naval War College.254 Other authors who collaborated on the report included Krepinevich, Mark Gunzinger, and Jim Thomas. 255 Like van Tol, Gunzinger is a CSBA senior fellow and a retired USAF colonel who has served in high-level policy positions at DoD and on the National Security Council (NSC). He holds three master‘s degrees: two from military institutions (the National War College and the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, with the latter being described as ―the most selective of all Air Force schools,‖ by the U.S. Air Force Air University) and a third from Central
254 ―Jan van Tol,‖ Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments website, 2010,
http://www.csbaonline.org/about/people/jvantol/ (accessed on May 11, 2011); William J. Lynn III, ―Director of Net Assessment,‖ DoD Directive 5111.11, December 23, 2009, p. 2. Accessed at http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/511111p.pdf on May 11, 2011.
255 For information about CSBA and Krepinevich, see the section beginning on page 29 of this
Michigan University. His undergraduate education was from the U.S. Air Force Academy.256 Thomas has been mentioned in some circles as a potential future candidate for the top policy job at DoD or a high-level position on the NSC.257 He is currently CSBA‘s vice-president for studies. Before joining CSBA in 2009, Thomas served for over 10 years in a variety of policy, planning, and analytical positions at DoD, reaching the deputy assistant secretary level before leaving in 2006 to work as an executive for a private research and development company. Thomas also was a Naval Reserve officer. His formal education took place at the College of William and Mary, the University of Virginia, and Johns Hopkins University.258 Van Tol, Gunzinger, Krepinevich, and Thomas rely on their considerable combined defense, planning, resource analysis, and operational experience as the basis of their expertise in writing this report. They used the metaphor of the late 1970s development of the AirLand Battle concept to lay the foundation for the need for a new ASBC. In the 1970s, the U.S. armed forces were fresh off over a decade of irregular warfare in Vietnam, and U.S. and NATO forces were vastly outnumbered in the face-off with the Soviet Union in Europe. Conflict in Europe would be qualitatively different than the fighting in Vietnam, and innovative concepts were needed to maintain a credible defensive posture in the face of the Soviet juggernaut. The new concepts ―changed the way the defensive problem on NATO‘s Central Front was viewed, and spurred the development of new platforms, sensors, weapons, and tactics. These changes, in turn, transformed the way that the Army, Air Force, and NATO allies planned to deter and if necessary fight the Warsaw
256 Van Tol, et al., section entitled ―About the Authors‖ (no page number); ―School of Advanced Air and Space Studies Curriculum/Admissions,‖ U.S. Air Force Air University website, undated, http://www.au.af.mil/au/saass/curriculum.asp (accessed on May 11, 2011); Mark A. Gunzinger, ―Airpower as a Second Front,‖ Air Power Journal, Fall 1995, p. 10, http://www.airpower.au.af.mil/airchronicles/apj/apj95/fal95_files/gnzingr.pdf (accessed on May 11, 2011). 257 Thomas E. Ricks, ―Jim Thomas: The end of the 'Uncle Sugar' era means we must reformulate our alliances in Europe and elsewhere,‖ The Best Defense: Tom Ricks’s Daily Take on National Security, May 5, 2011, http://ricks.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/05/05/jim_thomas_the_end_of_the_uncle_sugar_era_means_ we_must_reformulate_our_alliances_i (accessed on May 11, 2011). 258 Van Tol, et al., section entitled ―About the Authors‖ (no page number); ―Jim Thomas,‖ Center
for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments website, 2010, http://csba.globalthinking.com/about/people/jthomas/ (accessed on May 11, 2011).
Pact military forces.‖
These are exactly the types of developments and
transformation the authors had in mind with the ASBC, except instead of taking place in Europe, the venue is the Western Pacific and East Asia. AirSea Battle made the case that the growing military imbalance in the Western Pacific caused by China‘s ―unprovoked and unwarranted‖ military buildup requires a response from the U.S. and its allies in the region. The CSBA report argues that the sustainment of a favorable balance of military power in the Western Pacific can be enabled by a doctrinal shift like the one described in AirSea Battle, which, among other things, describes a range of new programs and complimentary actions that can be taken by the USN and USAF to ―offset‖ Beijing‘s growing military strength.260 The authors write that
The potential for a mismatch between the capabilities required to project power and conduct air, sea, space and cyberspace operations successfully in the face of an evolving and increasingly robust Chinese A2/AD network on the one hand, and currently planned US military capabilities, force structure and operational approaches on the other, clearly suggests the need to explore a new concept, ―AirSea Battle,‖ to address this coming challenge.261
Further, the effectiveness increases that can be reaped from the development within the USN and USAF of the ability to conduct ―highly integrated operations‖ as well as the long-term budgetary efficiencies that may also result from increased interoperability and decreased redundancy are additional reasons the authors believe that the ASBC is a concept worth pursuing.262
259 Ibid., p. 7. See Harold R. Winton, ―Partnership and Tension: The Army and Air Force Between
Vietnam and Desert Shield,‖ Parameters, Spring 1996 (electronic version available at http://www.carlisle.army.mil/usawc/Parameters/Articles/96spring/winton.htm) for more details on how the AirLand Battle concept was developed and implemented in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
260 Ibid., p. x. 261 Ibid., p. 5. 262 Ibid., p. xvi. Budgetary efficiencies will only likely increase in importance in the near future as
the DoD is slated for $400 billion in budget cuts over the next 10 years. See Barack H. Obama, ―Remarks by the President on Fiscal Policy,‖ Office of the White House Press Secretary, April 13, 2011, http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/04/13/remarks-president-fiscal-policy; Philip Ewing, ―Obama‘s ‗review‘ could be DoD‘s lifeline,‖ DoD Buzz, April 13, 2011, http://www.dodbuzz.com/2011/04/13/obamas-review-could-be-dods-lifeline/ (both accessed on May 11, 2011). (continued…)
The authors asserted that an ASBC must do several things. At the highest level,263 it must support the overall U.S. strategy to preserve stability in the Western Pacific. Such a strategy would certainly include the defeat or neutralization of Chinese military forces, the defense of U.S. territory and bases, defending key allies, protecting U.S. and friendly maritime commerce, interdicting Chinese maritime commerce, and other various power-projection missions as assigned. At the next lowest level, operationally ASBC must devise a means to offset Chinese A2/AD capabilities to allow at least selected U.S. power projection operations to succeed. Key match-ups at this level include battle network versus counter-battle network; missile attack versus missile defense; air superiority versus air defense; sea/undersea control versus sea/undersea denial; and force sustainment versus counter-force sustainment. 264 Finally, tactically an ASBC must address the most significant of Chinese A2/AD capabilities, those that have the potential to have operational-level impacts.265 The CSBA report mentioned several other factors critical to understanding the design of the candidate ASBC. First, ASBC was not intended to be a ―war-winning‖ concept. Instead, it was designed to help set the conditions at the operational level of war to sustain a stable and favorable conventional military
(…continued) Some examples of USN-USAF ―highly integrated operations‖ include USAF counter-space operations to blind PRC NOSS satellites that would protect USN surface vessels from targeting; shipborne ABM complementing land-based defenses at USAF bases in Japan; long-range penetrating USAF strike missions to destroy PRC ground-based long-range ISR capabilities and long-range ballistic missile launchers allowing USN vessels greater freedom of maneuver; and USN carrier aviation rollback of PLAAF and PLA Navy (PLAN) manned and unmanned airborne ISR and fighters allowing forward use of USAF AWACS and tanker aircraft.
263 This paragraph refers to what are known as the three levels of war, which are, from largest-
scale to smallest, strategic, operational, and tactical. The strategic level of war is concerned with both national strategy and military strategy, though military strategy is subordinate to the former and is designed to achieve the policy goals established by the national strategy. The tactical level of war ―is the province of combat.‖ It includes ―the maneuver of forces in contact with the enemy to gain a fighting advantage, the application and coordination of fires, the sustainment of forces throughout combat, the immediate exploitation of success to seal the victory, the combination of different arms and weapons, the gathering and dissemination of pertinent information, and the technical application of combat power within a tactical action—all to cause the enemy‘s defeat.‖ The operational level of war is the link between the strategic level and the tactical level, and is concerned with ―get[ting] strategically meaningful results from tactical efforts [emphasis in original]. See U.S. Marine Corps, Marine Corps Doctrinal Publication 1-2: Campaigning, August 1, 1997, pp. 4-8. An electronic version of the publication is available at http://www.dtic.mil/doctrine/jel/service_pubs/mcdp1_2.pdf.
264 Van Tol, et al., p. 32. 265 Ibid., pp. 10-11.
balance in the Western Pacific.266 The authors maintained that deterrence would be strengthened through the development of a U.S. operational concept that can demonstrably be shown to be efficacious against Chinese A2/AD battle networks.267 The authors realized, and explicitly stated, that the U.S. has neither the capability nor the inclination to fight a major land war against China, and that due to the geophysical realities of the region – the vast distances between the U.S. and the prospective battle grounds and the relative paucity of basing options – the region will be dominated by air and naval power.268 Finally, geostrategically, it is important to remember that the U.S. has formal treaty and legal obligations that, depending on how a conflict was initiated, could involve Japan, South Korea, Australia, and Taiwan.269 AirSea Battle detailed several operational problems that derive from the type of warfare that has come to represent the American preference since the end of WWII. First, U.S. forces have become accustomed to operating from sanctuary areas, enjoying the free and unimpeded flow of men and materiel to the theater of operations. The U.S. is generally able to generate and sustain the large number of air sorties needed to gain and maintain air superiority. As a result, U.S. enemies are routinely denied sanctuary. The U.S. is also accustomed to choosing the time and place to initiate combat operations. Finally, the U.S. routinely operates complex battle networks enabled by large amounts of purchased commercial satellite bandwidth. Chinese A2/AD operational concepts directly challenge all of these areas and call into question how the U.S. will respond when faced with the loss of strategic and operational initiative.270
266 Ibid., p. xi. 267 Ibid., p. 17. 268 Ibid., p. 11. 269 Ibid., pp. xi, 13-14. 270 Ibid., p. 23.
AirSea Battle envisioned a two-stage campaign in response to a Chinese attack designed to keep U.S. forces from accessing the Western Pacific.271 The first stage would have the U.S. military: (1) weather the attacks as best as possible; (2) strike back at the PLA battle management network; (3) suppress longrange Chinese ISR and strike capabilities; and (4) gain and maintain the initiative in the relevant operational media, including air, sea, space, and cyber domains. Some of these activities could be conducted in parallel, while others would require the achievement of some or all of the other activities to begin. For example, neutralization of PLAN submarines via ASW operations might require months to successfully complete, while denial of a specific ocean area such as the East China Sea to PLAN surface vessels might only require weeks. (Some of the same limited resources would be needed to complete each of these missions.)272 The second stage would consist of setting the conditions for victory in a sustained conventional campaign, including: (1) continuing U.S. initiative and dominance in the air, sea, space, and cyber domains; (2) establishing a distant blockade of China; (3) maintaining the flow of supplies to U.S. forces; and (4) increasing industrial output of key war stocks, in particular precision-guided munitions (PGMs).273 Again, some of these activities might be able to begin even
271 Ibid., p. 21 contains a description of the types of operations that such a Chinese campaign might consist of. Briefly, it includes (in order of commencement): counter-battle network attacks using ASAT, directed energy, jamming, EW, and CNO; ballistic and LACM salvo attacks on U.S. and Japanese facilities; ASBM and ASCM attacks to establish a naval ―keep-out‖ zone; and, finally, the interdiction of U.S. and allied SLOCs. Additional vignettes illustrating notional Chinese attacks such as this, some containing a great deal of variance from the one just described, include Berkowitz, pp. 165168; James Kraska, ―How the United States Lost the Naval War of 2015,‖ Orbis, Winter 2010; Erik Sofge, ―What a War Between China and the United States Would Look Like,‖ Popular Mechanics, December 29, 2010, http://www.popularmechanics.com/print-this/what-a-war-between-china-and-theus-would-look-like (accessed on May 13, 2011); Christopher Bronk, ―Blown to Bits: China‘s War in Cyberspace, August–September 2020,‖ Strategic Studies Quarterly, Spring 2011; and Richard C. Bush and Michael E. O‘Hanlon, A War Like No Other: The Truth About China’s Challenge to America (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2007), pp. 10-11. 272 Van Tol, et al., p. 53. 273 Ibid., pp. xiii, 53. A critical factor in the manufacture of many PGMs, such as the Joint Direct
Attack Munition (JDAM), is access to rare earth elements (REEs). China currently produces and exports roughly 90 percent of global REE supplies, though it only possesses approximately 50 percent of all known reserves. As a result, it is possible that unless the U.S. actively cultivates REE sources other than China, it may have difficulty producing sufficient quantities of PGMs in a conflict against China. See Christine Parthemore, Elements of Security: Mitigating the Risks of U.S. Dependence on Critical Minerals (Washington, DC: Center for a New American Security, 2011). An electronic copy of the report is available at http://www.cnas.org/files/documents/publications/CNAS_Minerals_Parthemore.pdf. (continued...)
before the first stage was fully complete. U.S. forces would also need to continue to assess what portions of China‘s A2/AD network still functioned as a part of this stage. Depending on what was discovered, it might still be necessary for elements of stage one operations to continue in a limited fashion or perhaps even be expanded. The authors believe that distant blockade operations would probably be the most effective long-term measure to prevail over China. While the U.S. would be able to maintain the majority of its pre-war international trade, the authors assert that most of China‘s would be cut off. Lessons from both World Wars show that cutting off the enemy‘s foreign trade can be tremendously debilitating to their long-term ability to continue fighting.274 AirSea Battle also described a number of areas in which the U.S. military would need to expand its capabilities in order to operate in a robust A2/AD environment. First of all, the missile threat to Guam and U.S. Navy ships needs to be further mitigated. While part of the proposed solution involves facilities hardening, the cost of implementing a comprehensive base hardening campaign is prohibitive and offers only a partial fix. Beyond hardening, distribution of operations to other islands nearby, such as Tinian and Saipan, should be considered. The USN and USAF, along with U.S. Army ground-based missile defenders in Guam and Japanese BMD forces, need to develop and regularly exercise an integrated, ground-, sea-, and airbased active missile defense plan.275 The U.S. also needs to improve its ability to strike high-value and time-sensitive targets, and increase penetrating and stand-off ISR capabilities. The authors recommend that the U.S. Navy develop a range of sea-based relatively shortrange ballistic missiles, possibly including an American ASBM, which would turn the short warning time precision strike capability so difficult for U.S. defenders to deal with back upon the PRC. Additionally, while China has relatively few fixed targets to
(…continued) The JDAM is a guidance kit manufactured by Boeing that converts unguided conventional free-fall bombs into highly accurate guided weapons. Over 220,000 kits have been manufactured for the U.S. military and nearly 20 international customers since production began in 1998. For more information, see ―Backgrounder: Joint Direct Attach Munition (JDAM),‖ Boeing Defense, Space & Security, April 2011, http://www.boeing.com/defense-space/missiles/jdam/docs/jdam_overview.pdf (accessed on May 13, 2011).
274 Ibid., pp. 74-75. 275 Ibid., pp. 81-82.
aim their weapons at, U.S. missiles would have literally a treasure trove of potential sites in China to target. A family of stealth-enabled ISR and strike platforms (manned, unmanned, and optionally-manned) with the survivability and persistence capabilities necessary for long-range operations in the face of extremely robust air defenses must also be developed, with Navy version(s) capable of carrier-based operations.276 The authors posited that to enhance maritime strike capabilities, the Navy and Air Force should work to develop joint protocols for Air Force assets to target enemy surface vessels in coordination with Navy ISR and battle networks. They should also collaborate on a new joint long-range anti-ship missile capable of being launched from manned and unmanned aircraft as well as surface and subsurface combatants. Finally, the Navy, in conjunction with other government agencies with a mandate for oceanographic and hydrologic survey operations, needs to devote greater resources toward sub-surface intelligence preparation of the battlespace (IPB), particularly inside the first island chain.
This should include continued
development and deployment of extended-range unmanned undersea vehicles.278 AirSea Battle sees a great deal of room for improvement in the realm of U.S. command, control, communications, and ISR (C3ISR). In many cases, recommended initiatives proposed in this field go against cultural norms of either the Navy or the Air Force (or both), and thus may prove to be especially difficult to enact. Simply put, the services must mitigate their vulnerability to the loss of space-based C3ISR by enforcing bandwidth austerity measures on a regular basis, and they must train to operate in a degraded C3ISR environment. The services also need to develop airborne command, control and communications relays to act as back-ups when
276 Ibid., pp. 82-84. CSBA produced an entire separate report discussing the development of
future U.S. long-range strike capabilities. See Mark Gunzinger, Sustaining America’s Strategic Advantage in Long-Range Strike (Washington, DC: Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, 2010). An electronic version of the report is available at http://www.csbaonline.org/wpcontent/uploads/2010/09/2010.09.14-Sustaining-Americas-Strategic-Advantage-in-Long-RangeStrike.pdf.
277 Ibid., pp. 85-86. IPB is defined as ―[t]he analytical methodologies employed …. to reduce
uncertainties concerning the enemy, environment, time, and terrain.‖ See Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joint Publication 2-01.3, Joint Intelligence Preparation of the Operational Environment, June 16, 2009, p. GL-6. An electronic version of the publication is located at http://www.fas.org/irp/doddir/dod/jp2-01-3.pdf. A graphic representation of the first island chain, which has been described as a line running from southern Japan through Okinawa, Taiwan, and the Philippines, reaching as far as Malaysia and essentially enclosing the East China Sea, the Taiwan Strait, and the South China Sea, can be seen in Figure 6 on page 102.
278 Van Tol, et al., p. 90.
space-based assets are destroyed or degraded. Further, the Navy and Air Force need to jointly standardize and ensure the interoperability of their data links and command, control, and ISR networks.279 Finally, the authors stress that cross-service EW and cyber warfare/CNO capabilities and development of directed energy weapons (DEW) need to be bolstered. With regard to cyber warfare capabilities, a realistic CND profile assessment of unclassified U.S. military networks used for logistics support coordination is needed. If the networks are not defendable, then the DoD must consider moving these essential operational logistics activities to a closed network. DEW are envisioned as filling a land- or sea-based missile defense role.280 There is little the authors could have done to make a more thorough, inclusive report. They admit that their aim in writing the report was ―to make a modest contribution to those in the Air Force and Navy‖ designing the real ASBC, 281 and in this researcher‘s opinion they have almost certainly achieved that goal. C. CHAPTER SUMMARY This chapter explored three areas of previous research related to Chinese A2/AD capabilities. First, it examined U.S. perceptions of Chinese capabilities, based in large part on official DoD reports, but also considered views from a pair of influential think tanks. Based on these comprehensive sources, it was clear that U.S. interest in Chinese A2/AD capabilities grew a great deal over the past decade, and that in the same time period Chinese capabilities expanded rapidly. Next, the chapter examined literature related to particular A2/AD capabilities that, due to their recency, had yet to be incorporated fully into a comprehensive treatment of the topic. The main platforms examined included the ASBM, expanding missile forces, and burgeoning space- and land-based ISR capabilities designed to aid in long-range targeting. The third portion of the literature review discussed studies related to American counter-A2/AD concepts and capabilities. While at the beginning of the decade
279 Ibid., pp. 86-89. 280 Ibid., pp. 89-90. 281 Ibid. p. 98.
prospects for a coherent, joint approach to the challenge seemed bleak, by the end of the decade the U.S. military had embarked on the development of just the kind of multi-service approach that might bear fruit. While little official information existed in the public sphere about the new concept, ideas generated by one establishment think tank seemed to be on the right track. New information presented in this chapter in all three areas will be used to build a comprehensive, up-to-date picture of Chinese A2/AD capabilities in the next chapter.
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CHINESE A2/AD CAPABILITIES: A COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATION
INTRODUCTION 1. A Framework for Assessment
To this point, this thesis has explained its purpose, its framework for exploring the research problem, and reviewed the relevant literature at some length. As a refresher, the research question was:
How do U.S. perceptions of Chinese development of A2/AD capabilities affect the U.S. military response calculus in the event of a military contingency in the Western Pacific?
The time has now come for us to turn to the central task of this research: a comprehensive exposition of U.S. perceptions of Chinese A2/AD capabilities, based on the most up-to-date research. This chapter will address this task in the following manner: Section B will address the air and air defense contribution to the PRC‘s A2/AD capabilities, including relevant systems from the PLAAF and PLANAF. Air defenses such as SAMs and ABM systems will also be discussed. Section C will present maritime aspects of China‘s A2/AD suite of capabilities, including the PLAN submarine force; the ASBM; China‘s ASCM capabilities; the potential for the use of swarming tactics by small, fast patrol craft; and China‘s burgeoning maritime surveillance network. Section D will cover PRC conventional missile capabilities, with the exception of the ASBM (covered in section C on maritime A2/AD capabilities). This section will discuss both ballistic and cruise missiles. Section E is dedicated to what some have referred to as ―counter-battle network‖ capabilities, including counterspace assets and CNO (also known as cyber warfare). The final section, Section F, will summarize the chapter.
AIR ASPECTS OF CHINESE A2/AD 1. People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF)
The PLAAF is one of the primary force projection service components of the PLA. As is the case in many militaries throughout the world (and which is certainly true regarding the U.S. Armed Forces), the PLAAF is not the only component of the PLA that operates aircraft. In fact the PLANAF operates significant numbers of fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft, and the PLA itself operates helicopters. That said, while helicopters can be effective counter-A2/AD assets, particularly in terms of the conduct of ASW, they play little role in A2/AD itself and will not be discussed further herein. This section will discuss PLAAF assets, while the PLANAF are described in more detail in the next section. In the past, the PLAAF was seen as being no match for either the Republic of China (ROC) Air Force (ROCAF) or the U.S. Air Force, but more contemporary assessments have begun to change that view. For instance, a 2009 report from the RAND Corporation discussing the shifting balance of air power over the Taiwan Strait concluded that in only a few years, the ROCAF would no longer be able to effectively maintain air superiority over the Taiwan Strait, something that even ten years ago was still seen as quite likely. 282 Shlapak, et al., also concluded that Taiwan‘s geographical asymmetry (that is, being physically close to China but far from the U.S.) as well as China‘s growing ability to hold U.S. bases in the region to the credible threat of attack have increasingly raised doubts about the U.S.‘s ability to guarantee Taiwan‘s security.283 This is a result of two dynamics: first, the aging of Taiwan‘s aircraft fleets, with no viable replacements or upgrades in the foreseeable future. This development essentially erases the ROCAF‘s previously-held qualitative
282 David A. Shlapak, David T. Orletsky, Toy I. Reid, Murray Scot Tanner, and Barry Wilson, A Question of Balance: Political Context and Military Aspect of the China-Taiwan Dispute (Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2009), pp. 84-85. Some of the authors of this 2009 report participated in a 2000 study for RAND of essentially the same problem set that saw a modernized PLAAF armed with effective weaponry as something in the distant future. See David A. Shlapak, David T. Orletsky, and Barry A. Wilson, Dire Strait? Military Aspects of the China-Taiwan Confrontation and Options for U.S. Policy (Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2000). 283 Shlapak, et al., pp. 139-140.
advantage over the PLAAF.284 The second development is the rapid modernization of virtually all aspects of the PLA over the past 10 to 15 years, including capabilities of the PLAAF. Shlapak, et al., point out that ―[t]he deployment in quantity of much more capable fighters and weapons … brings the PLAAF up to major-power standards in terms of the hardware it can line up on the ramp.‖285 The PLAAF and the PLAN, as the elements of the PLA that could most effectively project power beyond China‘s borders,286 have benefitted more from modernization efforts than have ground forces. Concurrently, the SAF has also been extensively modernized, but not to the same degree as the PLAAF or PLAN. While in the past Chinese air forces were mainly seen as homeland air defense forces, PLAAF modernization has centered on the creation of a force capable of both offensive and defensive operations. 287 Evidence of PLAAF modernization efforts supports these aims. The DoD now assesses that over the past decade, PLAAF platforms have gone from less than five percent modern to around 25 percent modern288 (Figure 3 below presents a graphical representation of the changes of the percentage of selected classes of PLA equipment that possess modern capabilities during the past decade). As shown in the figure, there has been a tremendous increase
284 This is largely a result of political calculations on the part of the U.S. and a deep desire to prevent damage to various aspects of Sino-U.S. relations. While the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979 obligates the U.S. to make available defense articles and services in order to allow Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability, over the past decade, as China has risen and the U.S.‘s relative position has suffered, the U.S. has become more and more risk-averse about selling Taiwan the kinds of weapons that truly would make a difference in its defense, such as diesel-electric submarines, F16C/D fighters, or even mid-life upgrades for the F-16A/B fighters the U.S. previously sold to Taiwan. The most recent major weapons sale to Taiwan, totaling some US$6.4 billion, was announced in January 2010, and currently it is reported that the U.S. is delaying announcing a decision on the requested F-16A/B mid-life modernization packages (most likely at least until after the November 2011 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation [APEC] summit in Hawaii). See U.S.-Taiwan Business Council, Defense and Security Report: Annual Review 2010 (Arlington, VA: U.S.-Taiwan Business Council, 2011), pp. 18-22. Taiwan has also failed to adequately fund some weapons purchase transactions already agreed to by the U.S., casing some in the U.S. to call Taiwan‘s commitment to its own defense into question. 285 Shlapak, et al., p. 85. 286 Two recent examples of the PLAN‘s power projection capabilities include the PRC‘s ongoing deployment of PLAN vessels to the Indian Ocean as participants in the multinational anti-piracy flotilla and the deployment of a PLAN vessel to Libya in the spring of 2011 to evacuate Chinese nationals (an operation known as a non-combatant evacuation operation, or NEO) when Libyan rebels took to arms in an attempt to overthrow Libyan dictator Muammar al-Qaddafi. PLAAF aircraft also assisted in this effort. 287 Flaherty, p. 98. 288 As used here the term ―modern‖ means that aircraft are fourth-generation or better. Further
discussion of the attributes required for an aircraft to be considered ‗fourth-generation‘ can be found in footnote 51 on page 24.
in capability that supports the conclusions of the 2009 RAND Corporation report referenced above. In testimony before the USCC in 2010, RAND analyst Roger Cliff noted that just in the past decade the PLAAF cut 100,000 personnel from its ranks, retired outdated platforms, and added many new systems with the aim of making a more professional and capable force.289
Select PLA Modernization Areas, 2000-2009
Source: Office of the Secretary of Defense (2010), p. 45. In recent months, the most significant event surrounding the PLAAF‘s future capabilities has been the unveiling of the new J-20 Black Eagle stealth fighter. While exact performance capabilities of the aircraft can only be guessed at based on its external characteristics, knowledgeable observers believe that because of its large size relative to most modern fighter aircraft, the J-20 may be capable of operating at extended ranges, with an estimated unrefueled combat radius of 1,200 kilometers or
289 Roger Cliff, ―The Development of China‘s Air Force Capabilities,‖ testimony presented before
the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission on May 20, 2010, p. 3. Accessed at http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/testimonies/2010/RAND_CT346.pdf on April 30, 2011.
more.290 With aerial tanker support, the J-20 may be able to reach targets as far away as the second island chain. Further, the J-20‘s stealth characteristics, coupled with its high-altitude, supersonic cruise capabilities, mean that it may have the ability to penetrate any integrated air defense system (IADS) in East Asia with little chance to be affected either by anti-air defenses (such as SAMs) or interceptor jets (based on presumed capabilities, only the most advanced fighters, such as the U.S. F-22A or the Russian MiG-31, would have a chance to intercept it). 291 Or, the J-20 could be designed as a high-speed missile-launching platform against enemy shipping – ―firing missiles at enemy warships while denying their air defense cover.‖292 Regardless of what it is actually intended to do or how capable it is, the PRC‘s own announcements and U.S. intelligence estimates agree that it will be at least 2017 before the J-20 becomes a part of the PLAAF‘s operational forces.293 2. People’s Liberation Army Navy Air Force (PLANAF)294
The PLANAF has traditionally been viewed as an adjunct of the PLAAF, but it has generally played a subordinate role. However, there are signs that the PLANAF‘s time to shine may be coming sooner than most would have predicted. In April 2011, China unveiled the J-15 Flying Shark, its first jet designed to operate from an aircraft carrier. Observers indicated that the J-15 was, externally, a very close replica of the Russian Su-33, but noted that inside it was filled with the
290 Gabe Collins and Andrew Erickson, “China’s New Project 718/J-20 Fighter: Development
outlook and strategic implications,” China SignPost™ (洞察中国), No. 18 (January 17, 2011), p. 5, http://www.chinasignpost.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/China-SignPost_18_J20-analysis_17January-2011.pdf (accessed on May 15, 2011). By way of comparison, the U.S. F-22A and F-35A fifth-generation fighter aircraft have unrefueled combat radii of only 759 and 1,090 kilometers, respectively.
291 Carlo Kopp, ―An Initial Assessment of China's J-20 Stealth Fighter,‖ Jamestown Foundation
China Brief Vol. 11 No. 8 (May 6, 2011), http://www.jamestown.org/programs/chinabrief/single/?tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=37903&cHash=38 8055c494bacab998da29dfe56c08a0 (accessed on May 14, 2011).
292 Stephen Trimble, ―J-20: China's ultimate aircraft carrier-killer?‖ The DEW Line: ‘Distant Early Warning’ for the Global Defense Industry, February 9, 2011, http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/the-dewline/2011/02/j-20-chinas-ultimate-aircraft.html#more (accessed on May 14, 2011). 293 Collins and Erickson, ―China’s New Project 718/J-20 Fighter,‖ p. 3. 294 Cliff notes that there actually is not a separate PLA organization called the PLANAF. Instead, he posits that like the U.S. Navy, there is a naval aviation organization under each of the three Chinese naval fleets (the North Sea Fleet, East Sea Fleet, and South Sea Fleet). See Cliff, ―The Development of China‘s Air Force Capabilities,‖ pp. 1-2. For the purposes of examining the capabilities of PLA naval aviation writ large, this research will still use the term PLANAF to discuss PLA naval aviation.
latest Chinese avionics, radar, and other equipment, making it a much more capable platform than the 1980s-vintage Russian aircraft it appears to have been modeled after. Despite the improvements, which some believe will make the J-15 approximately as capable as the F-18 carrier jet flown by the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps, its range will likely be less than that of the U.S. fighter because the manner in which it is launched from an aircraft carrier restricts the amount of fuel it can carry.295 While discussion of the PRC‘s first aircraft carrier is something that might fit better in the section covering the PLAN (below), it is difficult to discuss China‘s naval aviation capabilities without mentioning one of the principal means such aircraft will likely be deployed from in the future. Reports indicate that China‘s first carrier – a former Soviet ship named Varyag purchased from the Ukraine and reportedly originally intended to be a floating casino in Macau – will be ready to begin limited sea trials as early as the summer of 2011.296 While it seems likely that the PRC will soon possess the beginnings of a nascent carrier battle group capability, most observers believe that it will still be some time before the PLANAF develops sufficient proficiency in carrier flight operations to truly do more than ―serve as a target‖ for U.S. or other allied forces in the event of conflict. 297 Admiral Robert Willard, Commander of the U.S. Pacific Command
295 Michael Wines, ―Chinese State Media, in a Show of Openness, Print Jet Photos,‖ New York Times, April 25, 2011, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/26/world/asia/26fighter.html?_r=2 (accessed on April 30, 2011). The Chinese carrier is designed with an unpowered ―ski-jump‖ launch mechanism which does not provide lift assistance comparable to the U.S. catapult system. See also ―New Images of China‘s J-15 Carrier-Based Fighter,‖ Defense Tech, April 25, 2011, http://defensetech.org/2011/04/25/new-images-of-chinas-j-15-carrier-based-fighter/ (accessed on April 30, 2011). 296 Jens Kastner, ―Ming Dynasty admiral spooks Taiwan,‖ Asia Times Online, April 13, 2011,
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/MD13Ad03.html (accessed on April 30, 2011).
297 In January 2011, Vice Admiral David J. Dorsett, the U.S. Navy‘s highest-ranking intelligence
officer, stated that even in 2020 he assessed that Chinese ―aircraft carrier proficiency and capability will be very limited‖ due to the challenges of integrating carrier aircraft into flight deck and battle group operations. He contrasted this with the fact that the U.S. Navy has been practicing these complicated tasks for decades, implying that it will take a significant amount of time to reach levels of proficiency approaching that of the U.S. Navy. Defense Writers Group, Transcript - VAdm. David J. Dorsett, Deputy CNO for Information Dominance, January 5, 2011, p. 10. Accessed at http://www.airforce-magazine.com/DWG/Documents/2011/January%202011/010511dorsett.pdf on April 30, 2011. An April 2011 news article noted that while China‘s carrier aircraft might be ready in as little as two years, it would likely be five to 10 years before carrier escort and support ships would be ready. Wendell Minnick, ―Sea Trials Expected for China‘s 1st Carrier,‖ Defense News, April 18, 2011, http://minnickarticles.blogspot.com/2011/04/sea-trials-expected-for-chinas-1st.html (accessed on May 1, 2011).
(USPACOM), in an interview held not long after Xinhua posted photos of the carrier online for the first time, stated that he was ―not concerned‖ about the project, but admitted that, when viewed alongside China‘s overall military expansion, the significance of the new aircraft carrier would be magnified. ―Based on the feedback that we received from our partners and allies in the Pacific,‖ Willard said, ―I think the change in perception by the region [caused by the Chinese aircraft carrier] will be significant.‖ 298 Many analysts surmise that despite the ship‘s purported name (Shi Lang, 施琅, after the Qing Dynasty Chinese admiral who conquered Taiwan),299 the PRC‘s new aircraft carrier would be of greatest use in the South China Sea, where it would outclass any local naval capability and could also serve in a soft power role.300 One analyst believes that a U.S. strategy of regional reassurance is exactly what is needed to counterbalance China‘s new aircraft carrier, particularly among claimants in the dispute with China over territories in the South China Sea. Paal asserts that one aspect of this regional campaign would be directed at the Chinese: making clear in public that the carrier is vulnerable to countermeasures already possessed by the U.S. and U.S. allies in the region. The second part of the campaign would be public diplomacy that includes ―regular and high-profile deployments and exercises by American forces in the region.‖301 Beyond the new J-15 and aircraft carrier, the PLANAF has also revealed (unofficially) a J-18 fighter that may possess STOVL capabilities. Based largely on chatter in the Chinese-language blogosphere in April 2011, news reports speculated that, like the new J-15 Chinese carrier jet, the J-18 is also based on the Sukhoi Su-33 carrier-based fighter jet. 302 Other reports, however, were skeptical of that lineage,
298 Viola Gienger and Tony Capaccio, ―China‘s Carrier Poses Mostly Symbolic Threat, U.S.
Admiral Says,‖ Bloomberg, April 13, 2011, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-04-12/china-ssoviet-era-carrier-poses-mostly-symbolic-threat-u-s-admiral-says.html (accessed on April 30, 2011).
299 J. Michael Cole, ―Chinese aircraft carrier nears completion,‖ Taipei Times, April 12, 2011,
http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2011/04/12/2003500545 (accessed on April 30, 2011).
300 Minnick, ―Sea Trials Expected.‖ 301 Douglas H. Paal, ―The Chinese Are Coming!‖ Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Asia Pacific Brief, April 26, 2011, http://www.carnegieendowment.org/publications/?fa=view&id=43718 (accessed on April 30, 2011).
302 Wendell Minnick, ―Is China Developing a VSTOL Fighter?‖ Defense News, May 1, 2011, http://minnickarticles.blogspot.com/2011/05/is-china-developing-vstol-fighter.html (accessed on May 14, 2011).
opining that at some 60,000 pounds fully loaded, using the Su-33 as a model would not be feasible for a STOVL aircraft.303 Further, it is likely that if the PRC actually is developing a STOVL aircraft, it will also seek the construction and fielding of assault ships such as the Navy ships the U.S. Marine Corps uses for its own present vertical/short take-off and landing (VSTOL) aircraft, the AV-8B Harrier, and intends to fly its STOVL variant of the F-35 JSF (the F-35B) from in the future. There is no evidence to date that the PRC has begun construction of such vessels.304 The most notable PLANAF A2/AD capabilities are air-launched ASCMs. Maritime strike aircraft such as the FB-7 and FB-7A and the Su-30 MK2 are armed with ASCMs to engage surface combatants.305 Land-based JH-7 fighter-bombers are also capable of carrying ASCMs.306 3. PLA Air Defenses
The PRC air defense network consists of two main assets: land-based interceptor aircraft and SAM networks. Earlier portions of this section on air contributions to Chinese A2/AD discussed various aircraft capabilities of the PLAAF and PLANAF, so they will not be discussed again here. This section will instead focus on the PLA‘s SAM networks. Chinese air defenses have been rapidly modernized over the past decade. According to the DoD, since 2000 the percentage of Chinese air defense systems considered ―modern‖ (meaning either a Russian SA-10 or SA-20 system, or a Chinese HQ-9 system) has grown from about five percent to over 40 percent.307 As shown in Figure 3 above, only China‘s submarine force has modernized to a greater degree over the past decade. 308 An independent analysis of open-source overhead imagery by
303 ―Is China Really Building a Jump Jet?‖ DefenseTech, April 26, 2011, http://defensetech.org/2011/04/26/is-china-really-building-a-jump-jet/ (accessed on May 14, 2011). 304 David Axe, ―China‘s Jump Jet Mystery,‖ The Diplomat, April 25, 2011, http://the-
diplomat.com/flashpoints-blog/2011/04/25/chinas-jump-jet-mystery/ (accessed on May 14, 2011).
305 Office of the Secretary of Defense (2010), p. 31. 306 Ronald O‘Rourke, ―China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities—
Background and Issues for Congress,‖ CRS Report for Congress RL33153, April 22, 2011, p. 15. An electronic version of the report is available at http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/RL33153.pdf (accessed on May 15, 2011).
307 Office of the Secretary of Defense (2010), p. 45. 308 See ―1.
The PLAN Submarine Force‖ on page 103 below for more information about modern-day Chinese undersea warfare modernization.
O‘Connor concluded that between 2005 and 2010, the PRC constructed or modified no fewer than 27 strategic SAM sites. Of these, seven sites were new, while the remainder were modifications of existing sites which had housed legacy SAMs converted to newer, more capable models. Over 80 percent of SAM systems observed at the new or refurbished sites were advanced, long-range systems such as the Russian SA-10 or indigenous HQ-9 and HQ-12 systems.309 The PRC possesses one of the most robust air defense networks found anywhere in the world. This network is so strong, in fact, that it threatens the ability of even stealth-enabled platforms to operate in Chinese airspace.310 (Figure 4 below depicts the locations of major PRC air defense assets.) Regarding China‘s SAM network, the DoD states that China ―now possesses one of the largest such forces in the world.‖311 This network consists of long-range anti-air missiles reportedly linked by a fiber optic command and control network impervious to outside access (such as, for instance, foreign attempts to degrade or defeat Chinese air defenses using CNO).312 The air defense network is at its most robust immediately opposite Taiwan, leading Krepinevich to conclude that it is designed ―to deny U.S. air forces access to the airspace over Taiwan and the Taiwan Strait.‖ When combined with other A2/AD assets in the Chinese arsenal, such as coordinated use of missile, aviation, and SOF strikes against U.S. airbases in the region, these air defenses could ―effectively eliminate U.S. air power as a major factor in any regional conflict.‖313
309 Sean O‘Connor, ―SAM Modernization in China,‖ IMINT & Analysis, Vol. 1, No. 3 (April 2011), pp. 39-40. Online publication available at https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&chrome=true&srcid=1W8nigH5nclHxt2lQY7ovS1vjukPHElBITmANr_voVrtIOkIOfv_rSgT7Jy&hl=en&authkey=CLGR_eMD (accessed on April 30, 2011). 310 Krepinevich (2010), pp. 23-24. 311 Office of the Secretary of Defense (2010), p. 4. 312 Krepinevich (2010), p. 25. The author notes that physical access would likely be required to attempt such an infiltration of the Chinese fiber optic network. 313 Ibid., p. 24.
Major PRC Air Defense and Ballistic Missile Installations Source: Van Tol, et al., p. 65.
The most capable assets in the Chinese air defense network are the so-called ―double digit‖ SAMs of Russian manufacture or Chinese analogues of the same. The most capable of these Russian missile systems currently in the Chinese inventory, which derive their nickname from their NATO designation of SA-10, SA-20, and so on, can engage targets as far away as 200 kilometers and at altitudes up to nearly 100,000 feet.314 In addition to its ability to defend against aircraft, the SA-10 is also capable of engaging cruise missiles, while the SA-20 can reportedly protect against tactical ballistic missiles and cruise missiles in addition to its conventional use against aircraft. The HQ-9 is the Chinese version of the Russian long-range SAMs and has capabilities akin to the SA-20. 315 To get an idea of the PLA‘s possible future air
314 ―S-300PMU, SA-10 GRUMBLE, SA-N-6 GRUMBLE, HQ-10/15 (Chinese licensed copy),‖ Federation of American Scientists, June 30, 2000, http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/russia/airdef/s300pmu.htm (accessed on April 30, 2011). The increased capability and lethality of the SA-10 and subsequent versions was the origin of the ―double digit‖ moniker. See Sean O‘Connor, ―The S-300P/S400,‖ IMINT & Analysis, Vol. 1, No. 3 (April 2011), p. 4. Online publication available at the same URL as indicated in footnote 309 above. 315 Office of the Secretary of Defense (2010), p. 33.
defense capabilities, the Chinese reportedly partially financed the development of the new SA-21 GROWLER long-range Russian SAM, featuring a range of up to 400 kilometers. 316 It is not known when (or whether) the SA-21 will be available for export. The extended ranges provided by the most advanced air defense systems now in China‘s inventory possibly enable them to fill an offensive role against air targets along the extreme northwestern coast of Taiwan. As Figure 5 indicates, depending on the actual deployment site of SA-20 or HQ-9 SAM batteries, ROCAF pilots taking off from airstrips near Taichung could be at risk of engagement from PRC air defenses as soon as they became airborne.
Taiwan Strait SAM and SRBM Coverage
Source: Office of the Secretary of Defense (2010), p. 50.
316 Carlo Kopp, ―China‘s Air Defence missile systems,‖ Defence Today, March/April 2008, p. 24, http://www.ausairpower.net/DT-PLA-SAM-2008.pdf (accessed on April 30, 2011).
MARITIME DIMENSIONS OF CHINESE A2/AD The PLA Navy is leading Chinese efforts to expand China‘s hard power
influence beyond merely China‘s local waters. The previously-mentioned former Soviet aircraft carrier (in the section starting on page 95) will join current and previous advances in maritime power projection capabilities such as nuclear-powered submarines, as well as operational developments like China‘s ongoing support to multinational anti-piracy efforts in the Gulf of Aden, the February 2011 evacuation of Chinese non-combatants from Libya, and humanitarian missions such as those in Fall 2010 in Africa and the Indian Ocean involving China‘s new hospital ship.317 While the last two examples are not specifically examples of hard power, they do help demonstrate both the significance of out-of-area naval power projection capabilities to China‘s current strategic thinking and that the PLAN is capable of such missions, including the logistics, intelligence, communications, coordination, and other requirements necessary to support them.318 Many of the capabilities developed and employed in the naval missions mentioned above also lend themselves to use in China‘s A2/AD strategy. For instance, operating outside of regional waters prepares PLAN crews for the extendedrange missions that would be necessary to successfully take or defend the waters inside of the so-called second island chain. (See Figure 6 below for a graphic representation of the first and second island chains overlaid with China‘s assessed
317 Office of the Secretary of Defense (2010), p. 33; Christopher Bodeen, ―China sends navy ship
to protect Libya evacuees,‖ Associated Press, February 25, 2011, http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110225/ap_on_re_as/as_china_libya_protecting_citizens (accessed on May 1, 2011); Bi Mingxin, ―Chinese navy hospital ship sets sail on first overseas medical mission,‖ Xinhua, August 31, 2010, http://www.gov.cn/english/2010-08/31/content_1692806.htm, and Ouyang Dongmei, ―Chinese navy hospital ship to tour Gulf of Aden,‖ Xinhua, August 31, 2010, http://eng.mod.gov.cn/TopNews/2010-08/31/content_4189237.htm (both accessed on May 3, 2011). The PRC hospital ship mission appears to be modeled on the U.S.‘s deployment of hospital ships such as the USNS Mercy to the Asia-Pacific region on a humanitarian and civic action mission in 2010 and similar deployments of comparable ships and capabilities in other regions, including Central and South America. See USNS Mercy Public Affairs, ―USNS Mercy to Set Sail for Pacific Partnership 2010,‖ April 27, 2010, http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=52908 (accessed on May 3, 2011) and James G. Stavridis, Partnership for the Americas : Western Hemisphere strategy and U.S. Southern Command (Washington, DC: National Defense University Press: 2010), Ch. 6: Health Engagement and Humanitarianism, especially pp. 147-150. Available at http://www.ndu.edu/press/lib/pdf/books/stavridis.pdf (accessed on May 3, 2011). Citizens from Libya,‖ Jamestown Foundation China Brief Vol. 11 No. 4 (March 10, 2011). Accessed at http://www.jamestown.org/programs/chinabrief/single/?tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=37633&tx_ttnews %5BbackPid%5D=25&cHash=c1302a9ecaddfc23450fb6ec13a98136 on May 1, 2011.
318 Gabe Collins and Andrew S. Erickson, ―Implications of China‘s Military Evacuation of
anti-access capability ranges.) Of note, the U.S. territory of Guam is a part of the second island chain. These maritime power projections capabilities will only become more crucial as the PRC transitions from a maritime defense strategy focusing on territorial waters to a ―distant seas defense‖ approach in the twenty-first century.319
PRC Conventional Anti-Access Capability Range Estimates, with First and Second Island Chains Indicated Source: Office of the Secretary of Defense (2010), p. 32.
319 Office of Naval Intelligence, The People’s Liberation Army Navy: A Modern Navy with Chinese Characteristics (Suitland, MD: Office of Naval Intelligence, 2009), p. 6.
The PLAN Submarine Force
Because of their stealth, submarines have long been regarded by military planners as a near-ideal A2/AD weapon. Since the mid-1990s, the PLAN has developed operational ideas for the employment of submarines in an A2/AD role and has actively expanded its submarine fleet.320 According to the DoD, the PLAN‘s subsurface fleet, as a part of the largest force of principal combatants, amphibious ships, and submarines in Asia, exceeded 60 hulls in 2009. 321 Moreover, the PLAN submarine force has been one of the most rapidly modernized parts of the entire PLA.322 Again according to DoD information, a decade ago, less than 10 percent of the PLAN submarine force was considered modern, while by 2009 that percentage had skyrocketed to 50 percent.323 In the mid-2000s, some observers believed that the PLAN submarine force would be in the vanguard of China‘s newfound maritime strategic orientation and that it was unlikely that the PRC would go to the expense of developing maritime power projection capabilities centered on carrier battle groups. 324 However, more recent developments, such as the preparation of China‘s new aircraft carrier and corresponding aircraft suitable for carrier-based operations, may call such a judgment into question. Regardless, it remains true that the PLAN submarine force is an integral part of Chinese maritime A2/AD capabilities, and one that is operational today. While the PLAN submarine force has undergone concurrent expansion and modernization over the past decade, the fact remains that many of Chinese dieselelectric submarines are not capable of keeping up with a U.S. Navy carrier strike group while submerged. Therefore, it seems most likely that these submarines would be used in barrier operations to ambush U.S. vessels approaching within the second island chain using torpedoes or ASCMs.325 A noted naval affairs specialist with the
320 Office of Naval Intelligence, p. 20. 321 Office of the Secretary of Defense (2010), p. 2. 322 Office of Naval Intelligence, p. 20. 323 Ibid., p. 45. The DoD‘s definition of a modern submarine is one that is capable of firing an ASCM. See Figure 3 on page 93 for a chart graphically depicting the percent modern of select PLA warfighting capabilities. 324 Goldstein and Murray, ―Undersea Dragons,‖ p. 162. 325 Krepinevich (2010), p. 21.
Congressional Research Service (CRS), Ronald O‘Rourke, indicated that Chinese diesel-electric submarines ―are quieter than [U.S. nuclear submarines] when they run on battery, and they can stay submerged for weeks.‖326 These capabilities seem ideal for enabling Chinese diesel-electric attack submarines to fulfill an ambush mission. Figure 7 (below) contains a graphical depiction of the relative detectability of various Chinese and Russian diesel submarines. Note that the eight Kilo-class submarines China purchased from Russia in a 2002 contract are very quiet, advanced type 636 boats, 327 while many of China‘s legacy diesel-electric submarines – including the Romeo- and Ming-classes – are regarded as ―very noisy‖ and unsuitable for long patrols or deep ocean duty. These older models are being phased out and replaced by newer Kilo- and Yuan-class diesel boats which feature improved weapons, quieter functioning, and more modern computer systems.328
326 CRS analyst Ronald O‘Rourke, quoted in Lance M. Bacon, ―Deep Dive: Self-inflicted attack sub cuts cripple America‘s sea superiority,‖ Armed Forces Journal, May 2010, http://www.armedforcesjournal.com/2010/05/4583999/ (accessed on May 3, 2011). 327 Lyle Goldstein and Bill Murray, ―From Humble Origins: China‘s Submarine Force Comes of
Age,‖ Undersea Warfare: The Official Magazine of the U.S. Submarine Force, Winter 2004, http://www.navy.mil/navydata/cno/n87/usw/issue_21/humble2.htm (accessed on May 3, 2011).
328 Office of Naval Intelligence, p. 23; ―Type 033 (Romeo Class) Diesel-Electric Submarine,‖
SinoDefence.com, January 14, 2009, http://www.sinodefence.com/navy/sub/type033romeo.asp (accessed on May 3, 2011).
Diesel-Electric Submarine Quieting Trends
Source: Office of Naval Intelligence, p. 22. The PLAN nuclear attack submarine (SSN) fleet is small but capable. The latest DoD and U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) assessments indicate that the PLAN currently has but six hulls of this type. 329 ONI also surmises that the most capable of the Chinese SSNs are likely used on longer-range patrols in the Pacific and (possibly) Indian Oceans. 330 Though ONI and an outside organization have both observed a spike in PLAN submarine patrols in recent years, reaching record levels, Kristensen notes that the real numbers involved are modest for a submarine fleet the size of the PLAN‘s.331 The most dangerous capability of PLAN submarines is their ASCMs. Eight modern Kilo-class subs purchased from Russia in a 2002 contract carry the SS-N-27B
329 Office of the Secretary of Defense (2010), p. 64; Office of Naval Intelligence, p. 18. 330 Office of Naval Intelligence, p. 21. 331 Ibid., p. 40; Hans M. Kristensen, ―Chinese Submarine Patrols Doubled in 2008,‖ FAS Strategic
Security Blog, February 3, 2009, http://www.fas.org/blog/ssp/2009/02/patrols.php (accessed on May 3, 2011).
Sizzler supersonic ASCM with up to a 220 kilometer range.332 PLAN submarines are also reportedly outfitted with Russian-made wake-homing torpedoes 333 capable of striking targets from about 10 nautical miles and possibly even super-cavitating torpedoes with ranges of up to 7,500 yards (about four miles). 334 Beyond the advanced Kilo boats, Chinese-made Song- and Yuan-class diesel boats and the Shangclass SSN reportedly will be able to launch a new class of ASCM called the CH-SSNX-13 once it completes development and testing. In the meantime, Song- and Yuanclass boats are armed with the YJ-82 ASCM with a range of 180 kilometers.335 In the future, PLAN submarine capabilities are projected to continue growing, and by the 2020s could number as many as 75 hulls, driven primarily by increases in diesel-electric and air independent power (AIP) submarines.336 AIP is a technology that allows diesel-powered subs to stay submerged for long periods of time without surfacing to recharge its batteries.337 A typical diesel submarine may only be able to remain submerged stationary or at low speed for a few days before needing to surface to recharge their batteries, while an AIP submarine may be able to do the same for a matter of two to three weeks without needing to surface. AIP does not, however, appreciably increase the ability of a non-nuclear submarine to move at high speeds while submerged. 338 Modern AIP-equipped submarines may be able to move at
332 Office of the Secretary of Defense (2010), p. 2; Goldstein and Murray, ―From Humble Origins.‖ The capabilities of the Sizzler ASCM and their implications for U.S. defenses were discussed in footnote 101 on page 38. 333 O‘Rourke mentions that while great concern is often rightly expressed about how dangerous ASCMs are, ―wake-homing torpedoes are also a concern because they can be very difficult for surface ships to counter.‖ O‘Rourke, ―China Naval Modernization,‖ p. 21. 334 Goldstein and Murray, ―From Humble Origins‖; Shirley Kan, Christopher Bolkcom, and
Ronald O‘Rourke, China’s Foreign Conventional Arms Acquisitions: Background and Analysis (Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, 2001), p. 64; ―VA-111 Shkval underwater rocket,‖ Federation of American Scientists, September 3, 2000, http://www.fas.org/man/dod101/sys/missile/row/shkval.htm (accessed on May 3, 2011). The latter source reports that supercavitating torpedoes – really underwater rockets – can travel at speeds up to 230 miles per hour.
335 Office of the Secretary of Defense (2010), p. 3. 336 Office of Naval Intelligence, p. 21. 337 Ibid., p. 23. 338 Ronald O‘Rourke, Navy Ship Acquisition: Options for Lower-Cost Ship Designs — Issues for
Congress (Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, 2005), p. 21. Accessed at http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/weapons/RL32914.pdf on May 3, 2011.
speeds of four to six knots for 12 to 14 days at a time. 339 The Yuan class SS is reportedly outfitted with an AIP system.340 One critical weakness in the PRC submarine force is the lack of ability to effectively communicate with submarines at sea, 341 with the implication that once PLAN submarines begin a patrol, they may be beyond the reach of subsequent orders changes based on a changing situation (though this is more of a concern with ballistic missile submarines than it is with attack submarines).342 2. Anti-Ship Ballistic Missiles (ASBMs)
The Chinese ASBM (DF-21D) is a potential ―game changer‖ in East Asian security. Several researchers have shown how the threat posed to U.S. surface ships by the ASBM, particularly aircraft carriers – long the crown jewels of U.S. force projection capabilities – is not trivial. The most recent reports indicate that numerous PLA units have already taken possession of DF-21D systems343 and purportedly are ready to use them in an IOC-type capability level.344 Stokes surmises that the first ASBM brigade may be located at Qingyuan City, Guangdong Province, 345 a location that would allow it to hold targets in the vicinity of Taiwan and in the South China Sea at risk.
339 Konstantinos Psallidas, Clifford A. Whitcomb, and John C. Hootman, ―Design of
Conventional Submarines with Advanced Air Independent Propulsion Systems and Determination of Corresponding Theater-Level Impacts,‖ Naval Engineers Journal Vol. 122 No. 1 (2010), p. 113. Accessed at http://www.navalengineers.org/SiteCollectionDocuments/hamilton_award_papers/122_1/paper9.pdf on May 3, 2011.
340 Office of the Secretary of Defense (2010), p. 3; Galrahn, ―Pakistan to Buy Chinese AIP
Submarines,‖ Information Dissemination, March 9, 2011, http://www.informationdissemination.net/2011/03/pakistan-to-buy-chinese-aip-submarines.html (accessed on May 5, 2011).
341 Office of the Secretary of Defense (2010), p. 34. 342 Ballistic missile submarines do not play a role in A2/AD, and therefore will not be mentioned
343 Stokes, ―Expansion of China's Ballistic Missile Infrastructure Opposite Taiwan.‖ 344 IOC is defined on page 13 of this thesis. 345 Stokes, ―Expansion of China's Ballistic Missile Infrastructure Opposite Taiwan.‖
The DF-21D ASBM is modeled on the CSS-5 MRBM and is thought to have a range in excess of 1,500 kilometers.346 A fully integrated, overwater flight test of the ASBM had not yet been observed as of late 2010.347 The biggest remaining question about the ASBM is its targeting system. It is not known if the Chinese yet possess the robust, wide-area maritime surveillance capabilities that would be required to effectively engage moving targets at sea from long distances (though it is quite apparent that they are working to develop such a system). What is known about this maritime surveillance network will be explored further in a subsequent section (see ―4. starting on page 110). 3. Naval Anti-Ship Cruise Missiles (ASCMs) Maritime Surveillance Networks‖
Three types of PLAN vessels can be equipped with ASCMs: multi-mission surface combatants, submarines, and high-speed patrol craft. This section will deal with each platform in turn. (ASCMs as a part of the PLANAF‘s A2/AD capabilities were discussed above in the section starting on page 95 and will not be repeated here. Likewise with PLAN submarine ASCM capabilities.) Many types of PLAN surface combatants are capable of carrying ASCMs. For instance, the PLAN‘s four Sovremennyy I/II guided missile destroyers (DDGs) carry the Russian SS-N-22 Sunburn supersonic ASCM with a range of around 130 nautical miles, while Luyang II DDGs are armed with YJ-62 Chinese-made ASCMs with a slightly shorter range (120 nautical miles). Other smaller multi-mission combatants mostly carry YJ-8A ASCMs with a range of about 65 nautical miles.348 The newest PLAN vessel with an ASCM capability is the Type 022 Houbei fast-attack guided missile patrol craft. These small, fast catamaran hull vessels, of which some 60 are likely already deployed,349 are likely candidates for the use of so-
346 Office of the Secretary of Defense (2010), p. 2. 347 Kato, ―U.S. commander says.‖ 348 Office of Naval Intelligence, p. 18. 349 Up to 100 of the Houbei fast attack craft may eventually be built. See Stephen Saunders,
Jane's Fighting Ships: 2010-2011 (Coulsdon, Jane's Information Group, 2010), p. 149, as cited in O‘Rourke, ―China Naval Modernization,‖ p. 35.
called ―swarming‖ tactics.350 Houbei fast attack craft are each armed with up to eight YJ-83 ASCMs351 with a range of 160 kilometers.352 4. Maritime Surveillance Networks
The PRC has gone to great lengths over the past decade to expand their maritime battle area knowledge capabilities. For example, 2010 saw a record number of PRC military satellite launches (12), many of which are presumed to carry ISR payloads. China has launched about 30 military-related spacecraft since 2006.353 PRC satellites are thought to carry a combination of SAR, EO, and SIGINT payloads that would enable a truly wide-area overhead surveillance network to complement land-based OTH-B and OTH-SW radars capable of detecting ship-sized targets up to 3,500 kilometers distant. 354 New PRC developments in UAVs and extended endurance lighter-than-air craft can also fill critical gaps in maritime ISR collection.355
350 While many analysts assess that the use of swarming attacks from small, fast craft is more
likely to come from Iran in the Arabian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, others think that China may also make use of this tactic, particularly in the Taiwan Strait, which in many respects resembles Hormuz. Probably the most highly publicized use of swarming attacks in the past decade did not occur in real life, but instead as part of a war game. MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE 2002 was one of the largest war games in history, costing over $250 million and involving thousands of actual troops at locations across the U.S. and overseas. The scenario was largely modeled on the then-planned Iraq invasion, with U.S. troops attacking a rogue military dictator in an effort to effect regime change. The enemy force commander, played in the game by retired Marine Corps General Paul Van Riper, decided not to play the part of the compliant enemy, but instead to use innovative asymmetric tactics to level the playing field, including some which have been recommended for the U.S. to take in its efforts to confound Chinese long-range targeting, such as electronic signature reduction and dispersed operations. The enemy forces also used swarming boat attacks to great result against the U.S. battle fleet, sinking nearly half and forcing the rest to retreat. The war game controllers pulled the plug at that point and reset the battlefield, claiming that Van Riper‘s forces were not playing by the rules. Van Riper resigned his position in protest. See Malcolm Gladwell, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking (New York: Little, Brown and Co., 2005), Chapter 4: Paul Van Riper‘s Big Victory: Creating Structure for Spontaneity; and Andrew F. Krepinevich, Jr., ―The Pentagon‘s Wasting Assets: The Eroding Foundations of American Power,‖ Foreign Affairs July/August 2009, pp. 20-21.
351 Office of the Secretary of Defense (2010), p. 3. 352 ―YJ-83,‖ Missilethreat.com, A Project of the Claremont Institute, undated, http://www.missilethreat.com/cruise/id.67/cruise_detail.asp (accessed on May 14, 2011). 353 Craig Covault, ―China‘s Military Space Surge,‖ Aerospace America, March 2011, p. 32. An electronic version of the article is available at http://www.andrewerickson.com/wpcontent/uploads/2011/03/Chinas-Military-Space-Surge_AA_2011-March.pdf (accessed on May 15, 2011). 354 Stokes, ―China‘s Evolving Conventional Strategic Strike Capability,‖ pp. 16-19; Liu, p. 74. 355 Stokes, ―China‘s Evolving Conventional Strategic Strike Capability,‖ pp. 15, 19.
In one notable development, during 2010 the PRC is thought to have launched a group of co-orbital satellites that appear to be configured precisely in a way as to enable them to serve in a naval ocean surveillance system (NOSS) role. 356 Both the Soviet Union and the U.S. developed NOSS capabilities during the Cold War to keep each other‘s fleets under surveillance.357 While the coverage provided by a NOSS is not continuous, it is more accurate than information provided by complementary parts of the maritime surveillance network which can provide continuous, dedicated coverage of large swaths of the Western Pacific, such as OTH-B and OTH-SW radars. The targeting capabilities of China‘s newly-launched satellites purportedly for their ASBM system signal a growing PRC dependence on space-based sensors, a potential weakness in a conflict in the U.S., which possesses its own ASAT capabilities. Since it will notionally be used on a moving target at sea, the ASBM will require in-flight target updates that could be provided by space-based sensors.358 D. MISSILES IN PRC A2/AD 1. Ballistic Missiles
Rapidly advancing Chinese ballistic missile capabilities have rendered inaccurate many previous assessments of their threat. The most recent authoritative works have shown that the threat to U.S. bases in the region to be significant. Kadena Air Base on Okinawa is probably the best-situated air base in East Asia to facilitate economy in U.S. combat air patrol coverage of the Taiwan Strait, but that same proximity renders it exceptionally vulnerable to a range of Chinese ballistic missile threats. Without the adoption of serious measures to enhance the base‘s survivability against missile attack, there may be little prospect for a sustained contribution to vitally important air operations.
356 Easton, ―China‘s Secret Co-orbital Satellites.‖ 357 Easton and Stokes, pp. 3-4. 358 Barry D. Watts, ―The Implications of China‘s Military and Civil Space Programs,‖ Testimony
presented before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, May 11, 2011, pp. 4-5, http://www.csbaonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/2011.05.11-Chinas-Space-Program.pdf (accessed on May 15, 2011).
Specifically, Kadena Air Base is in range of Chinese DF-15 ballistic missiles.359 Analysts estimate that it would require as few as 12 cratering warhead missiles to cut all of Kadena‘s runways and 40 cluster bomb warheads to crater most other aprons and tarmacs,360 destroying 75 percent of all unsheltered aircraft in the process and severely damaging the rest. Only aircraft situated inside Kadena‘s 15 hardened shelters – which can hold only about 30 percent of an overall force of over 250 aircraft – would survive intact, and these aircraft would be ineffectual given the lack of a usable runway.361 Notably, ―big wing‖ aircraft such as AWACS and aerial refuelers cannot fit inside the existing shelters at Kadena and would be subject to missile attack if not airborne. Even when taking into account missile defenses in numbers thought to be present at Kadena, the base‘s neutralization would still notionally require less than 50 percent of China‘s overall stocks of DF-15 missiles.362 China might consider this a small price to pay to essentially negate the ability of the closest U.S. base to the Taiwan Strait to generate effective air power, which, as we have seen, is one of the critical aspects of U.S. power projections that Chinese A2/AD capabilities are designed to erode.363 2. Land Attack Cruise Missiles (LACMs)
The Chinese LACM program is almost entirely a product of research and development conducted since 2000, meaning that it uses cutting-edge technology but that it is also an immature field. The PRC LACM program has made great strides in a short period of time. As of December 2009, the DoD assessed that China possessed an inventory of 200 to 500 of its most capable ground-and air-launched LACM, the DH10, which features a range of over 1,500 kilometers.364 Kadena Air Base on Okinawa
359 Hoyler mentions that the standard DF-15 payload would need to be reduced by about 12
percent to allow the modest range extension necessary to allow them to reach Kadena, which is approximately 640 kilometers from the closest point in China. The advertised range of the DF-15 is 600 kilometers. See Hoyler, p. 103n12.
360 Ibid., pp. 94-95. 361 Stillion, p. 35. 362 The calculations used to arrive at this percentage were explained in footnote 189 on page 59. 363 A discussion of these factors can be found on page 83 of this thesis. See also van Tol, et al., p.
364 Office of the Secretary of Defense (2010), pp. 31, 66.
is well within this window, and, if used as an air-launched weapon, so is Guam. LACMs would most likely be used in concert with ballistic missile attacks. E. CHINA’S “COUNTER-BATTLE NETWORK” CAPABILITIES AS A2/AD ASSETS There are two ways that the PRC is thought to be able to degrade or destroy the U.S.‘s ability to conduct space-based ISR, impede or cut off communications links, and generally erode U.S. ―battle network‖ capabilities: by employing counterspace capabilities, and/or through the use of CNO. This section will discuss both of these capabilities as a part of the overall Chinese A2/AD capabilities set. 1. Counter-space capabilities
China‘s overt counter-space capabilities (sometimes referred to as anti-satellite, or ASAT, capabilities) have been on display twice in the last five years. In January 2007, the PRC used a direct-ascent missile to destroy an aging Chinese weather satellite in low-earth orbit. 365 Three years later, in January 2010, a second test displayed a provisional Chinese ABM capability, as a variant of the DF-21 MRBM was used to conduct a mid-course intercept of a ballistic target outside the atmosphere. 366 Some believe that the second test was a response to the justannounced U.S. weapons sales to Taiwan, which included nearly US$1 billion worth of the U.S.‘s most advanced Patriot ABM (PAC-3) systems.367 Together, these tests show a maturing Chinese ability to place at risk U.S. satellites (one of the perceived
365 Kan, ―China‘s Anti-Satellite Weapon Test.‖ 366 ―Pentagon Received No Warning of Chinese Missile Defense Test,‖ Global Security Newswire, January 12, 2010, http://www.globalsecuritynewswire.org/gsn/nw_20100112_1311.php (accessed on May 5, 2011).
January 12, 2010; Bill Gertz, ―Beijing reports successful ‗defensive‘ missile test,‖ Washington Times, January 12, 2010, http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/jan/12/beijing-reports-successfulmissile-test/?page=all#pagebreak (accessed on May 5, 2011).
367 ―Pentagon Received No Warning of Chinese Missile Defense Test,‖ Global Security Newswire,
―Achilles‘ heels‖ of the U.S. military 368 ) and possibly to counter ballistic missile attacks from an undetermined foe.369 The Chinese are also believed to possess the capability to use ground-based lasers and other technologies to ―dazzle‖ or blind surveillance satellites peering down from orbit.370 This less coercive counterspace means eschews the physical destruction of a space vehicle, while at the same time achieving essentially the same result: degradation, reduction, or elimination of the satellite‘s sensors ability to conduct their mission. Cliff, et al., write that the Chinese military does not place any special significance on the type or kind of satellites targeted, i.e. communications, intelligence, etc., but instead holds that all types of satellites are potential targets. However, Chinese strategists and IW planners clearly have a preferred order for strikes, first desiring the destruction of space-borne intelligence assets, then shifting focus to communications satellites.371 Despite the demonstrated ability to use kinetic means to destroy satellites in orbit, Barry Watts believes that the Chinese do not have sufficient ASAT capabilities to expect a ―decisive advantage over the United States in conflicts in the western Pacific‖ before 2020.372 He cited a 2008 analysis of Chinese ASAT capabilities that surmised that even with months of planning and prepositioning, the best result that the Chinese could expect to attain from a concerted kinetic ASAT effort would be destruction of nine U.S. LEO satellites. This would only bring about a reduction in
368 Cliff, et al., pp. 57-60. 369 Dean Cheng of the Heritage Foundation speculated that the ―target‖ of the PRC‘s 2010 ABM
test could be one of three countries: either Russia or India, who both possess large numbers of either short- or medium-range ballistic missiles which could be used to target China, or the U.S., as a stepping stone on the path towards ―a full-blown anti-ICBM [intercontinental ballistic missile] system.‖ Quoted in Colin Clark, ―PRC Marches On With Missile Test,‖ DoD Buzz, January 12, 2010, http://www.dodbuzz.com/2010/01/12/prc-missile-test-muddies-waters/ (accessed on May 5, 2011).
370 Office of the Secretary of Defense (2010), p. 36. 371 Cliff, et al., p. 59. 372 Watts, p. 9.
capability of U.S. PGMs and space-based communications capabilities due to redundancy of capabilities spread across multiple satellite payloads.373 2. Computer Network Operations (CNO)
Perhaps the least understood of China‘s A2/AD capabilities is its CNO, or cyber warfare capabilities. According to U.S. doctrine, CNO is divided into three subsets: computer network attack (CNA), computer network defense (CND), and computer network exploitation (CNE). While the Chinese may not subdivide the discipline in exactly this way, their capabilities can still be thought of as falling into one of these three categories. CNA is what most people think of when they think about cyber-warfare. Sometime referred to as ―hacking,‖ CNA is a malicious attack on an opponent‘s computer network infrastructure or to capabilities connected to it. A good example of CNA is the Stuxnet worm that affected industrial controllers like those used to control centrifuges at Iran‘s Natanz nuclear site. In what may have been the most widelypublicized instance of targeted cyber warfare to date, starting in 2009, Stuxnet began to infect certain types of industrial control mechanisms worldwide, but seemed especially designed to target precisely the Iranian nuclear enrichment machinery. Stuxnet caused some centrifuges at Natanz to spin out of control and to be damaged, delaying Iran‘s progress toward a nuclear bomb. 374 On a smaller scale, denial of service attacks and petty criminal defacement of websites are other examples of CNA. Targeted attacks like Stuxnet would not be possible without CNE as an enabler. CNE can be thought of as the use of CNO for intelligence collection. Unlike CNA, the results of which are meant to be noticed, oftentimes an overriding goal of CNE is to remove sensitive information from a given computer or network while avoiding detection. There are widespread reports of Chinese hackers conducting CNE
373 Geoffrey Forden, ―How China Loses the Coming Space War (Pt. 3),‖ Danger Room, January
10, 2008, http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2008/01/inside-the-ch-2/ (accessed on May 15, 2011). To illustrate how small a fraction of the total number of U.S. satellites in space the notionally destroyed nine LEO spacecraft would represent, numerically, in 2010 the U.S. and Russia possessed over 80 percent of the more than 3,100 military and civilian satellites in space, while China possessed less than five percent (102 spacecraft). Watts, pp. 1-2.
374 William J. Broad, John Markoff, and David E. Sanger, ―Israeli Test on Worm Called Crucial
in Iran Nuclear Delay,‖ New York Times, January 15, 2011, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/16/world/middleeast/16stuxnet.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all (accessed on May 5, 2011).
on U.S. government, industry, and commercial networks. 375 The broad array of information targeted in these attacks – on topics ranging from the ―defense industry, [the] space program, selected civilian high technology industries, foreign policymakers interested in US leadership thinking on key China issues, and foreign military planners building an intelligence picture of U.S. defense networks, logistics, and related military capabilities that could be exploited during a crisis‖ – seem to indicate that behind these efforts lay some type of collection management entity. 376 CNE operations traced to China have also targeted the Dalai Lama‘s office and those of political officials in other countries.377 CND is probably the least ―flashy‖ of the three disciplines of CNO, but it is essential to minimize susceptibility to the first two kinds of CNO. CND can consist of small things like ensuring that updates and patches are routinely installed on a computer or network. It can also consist of active measures, such as teams of counterhackers monitoring for intrusions. Despite the fact that reports about CNO don‘t often see the light of day, most large, technologically advanced countries are assumed to have at least moderate government-sponsored CNO capabilities.378 According to a 2010 report from a wellknown internet security company, Symantec, the top ten countries for malicious internet activity were (in order): the U.S.; China; Brazil; Germany; India; the United Kingdom; Russia; Poland; Italy; and Spain.379 While the authors of the report did not attempt to separate state-sponsored hacking from small-scale criminal mischief, they
375 Office of the Secretary of Defense (2010), p. 46; U.S.-China Economic and Security Review
Commission, 2008 Report to Congress of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 2008), pp. 162-163; Clay Wilson, ―Botnets, Cybercrime, and Cyberterrorism: Vulnerabilities and Policy Issues for Congress,‖ CRS Report for Congress RL32114, January 29, 2008, pp. 14-15. Accessed at http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/terror/RL32114.pdf on May 5, 2011.
376 Bryan Krekel, Capability of the People’s Republic of China to Conduct Cyber Warfare and
Computer Network Exploitation (McLean, VA: Northrop Grumman Corporation, 2009), p. 8.
377 John Markoff, ―Vast Spy System Loots Computers in 103 Countries,‖ New York Times, March
28, 2009, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/29/technology/29spy.html?pagewanted=all (accessed on May 5, 2011).
378 Ibid. 379 ―Symantec Internet Security Threat Report: Trends for 2009,‖ Symantec Enterprise Security,
Vol. XV (April 2010), p. 2. Available at http://eval.symantec.com/mktginfo/enterprise/white_papers/bwhitepaper_exec_summary_internet_security_threat_report_xv_04-2010.en-us.pdf (accessed on May 5, 2011).
nonetheless provided a good overview of where CNA and CNE operations probably originate from. In the 2010 China report to Congress, the DoD stated that the PLA‘s objective with CNO and EW (a related discipline) was ―to deny an adversary access to information essential to conduct combat operations.‖ To these ends, the PLA has established IW units to perform both CNA (for example, by developing viruses and launching attacks on adversary computers and networks) and CND (by developing the tactics, techniques, and procedures to protect PLA networks and systems from outside attack).380 In a conflict, many analysts believe that, along with kinetic or directed energy attacks on U.S. space-based systems, the PRC would use its CNO capabilities to perpetrate attacks on unclassified U.S. military and civilian logistics networks both inside the U.S. and in allied countries in the Asia-Pacific region with the aim of delaying U.S. deployments and degrading the combat effectiveness of those troops already in the region.381 Other observers see a more robust role for Chinese CNO, including disabling satellites and communications networks, degrading the function of airborne battlespace control aircraft, and even causing the malfunction of air defense assets.382 As one analyst stated, if China is indeed responsible for even some of the CNE activity affecting U.S. government and commercial networks attributed to it, then they may have already demonstrated ―a mature and operationally proficient CNO capability.‖383 F. CHAPTER SUMMARY 1. A Comprehensive Picture of Chinese A2/AD Capabilities
This chapter built upon information presented in Chapter 2, reviewing the relevant literature, to present a comprehensive view of China‘s A2/AD capabilities, updated with the latest sources. It has illustrated how China‘s A2/AD capabilities are not one-dimensional, but instead that they are layered, overlapping, and
380 Office of the Secretary of Defense (2010), p. 37. 381 Krekel, p. 8; Bronk, pp. 9-17. 382 Sofge. 383 Krekel, p. 9.
complementary. Figure 8 indicates the operational ranges for many major PRC A2/AD missiles and strike aircraft (indicating the unrefueled combat radius for the latter), referencing the distance to various potential targets.
Range of PRC Missiles and Strike Aircraft Source: Van Tol, et al., p. 18.
Notably, PRC developments in counter-battle network capabilities like CNO and ASAT have matured alongside more traditional A2/AD means like ballistic and cruise missiles. The PRC has emphasized submarines and ASCMs in its naval A2/AD strategy (sometimes referred to as an ―active defense‖ strategy by the Chinese themselves384), and it appears that the PLAN will soon have a new capability in its
384 The most recent edition of China‘s bi-annual defense white papers, issued in Spring 2011, mentions that ―implement[ing] the military strategy of active defense‖ is a part of the overall goal of ―[s]afeguarding national sovereignty, security and interests of national development,‖ but does not specify what active defense entails. See Information Office of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, p. 6. The most recent DoD China Military Power report says that China‘s active defense is ―a defensive military strategy in which China does not initiate wars or fight wars of aggression, but engages in war only to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity.‖ Office of the Secretary of Defense (2010), p. 22. Dean Cheng of the Heritage Foundation refers to active defense as ―the Chinese approach to what the West has termed anti-access/area denial strategies.‖ Dean Cheng, ―China‘s Active Defense Strategy and Its Regional Impact,‖ testimony before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, January 26, 2011, http://www.heritage.org/research/testimony/2011/01/chinas-active-defense-strategy-and-its-regionalimpact (accessed on May 14, 2011).
quiver – an aircraft carrier, along with new carrier aircraft to fly from it. Moreover, the ASBM appears to be deployed in an initial operational capacity. Despite all China‘s military hardware purchases, as one pundit put it, you can‘t buy know-how off the shelf. Particularly with regard to new disciplines the PLA is only beginning to explore, such as carrier flight operations, it will likely still be quite some time until a respectable level of proficiency is achieved, proficiency that other militaries have built through decades of practice. It would be a grave mistake for a potential adversary to dismiss out of hand the PRC‘s non-trivial and growing ability to deny the air, sea, and space territories along its periphery, as some commentators and scholars tend to do based on arguments stressing China‘s responsible behavior to this point, assessments that China is a status quo power, or the belief that economic globalization makes the chances of great power conflict nearly zero. 385 However, military professionals tend to base threats on capabilities rather than intentions, because intentions, particularly in authoritative governments like China‘s, can change overnight. The next chapter will describe the implications of the just-presented capabilities to U.S. military operations in the Western Pacific.
385 Examples of these types of arguments include Piers Brendon, ―For China, Will Money Bring
Power?‖ New York Times, August 21, 2010, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/22/opinion/22brendon.html?pagewanted=all (accessed on May 14, 2011); Alastair Iain Johnston, ―Is China a Status Quo Power?‖ International Security 27.4 (2003); and Michael Mastanduno, ―Rivals or Partners? Globalization and U.S.-China Relations,‖ Harvard International Review, December 31, 2007, http://hir.harvard.edu/economics-of-national-security/rivalsor-partners?page=0,0 (accessed on May 14, 2011).
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IV. IMPLICATIONS OF THE PERCEIVED PRC ANTI-ACCESS THREAT TO U.S. MILITARY OPERATIONS IN THE WESTERN PACIFIC
A. INTRODUCTION 1. Research Generates Questions
While this thesis aimed to answer a question about how developments in PRC A2/AD capabilities would affect U.S. military operations in the Western Pacific, it has generated more questions than it answered. Many of these questions will be explored below. The following sections of this chapter will explore the implications of each of the sub-sectors of PRC A2/AD threats introduced in the previous chapter, starting with air aspects, followed by maritime aspects, missile forces, counter-battle network capabilities, and finally a category for those implications not covered by the previous framework. The point of examining these implications is to set up the next chapter, which will draw some conclusions from the research and offer some suggestions in contemplating Chinese A2/AD capabilities. B. IMPLICATIONS OF PLA AIR A2/AD CAPABILITIES 1. Proximity is Key
The preceding chapters have explored how the PLA‘s air power has grown over the past few decades, especially since the turn of the 21st century. The modernization of aircraft and weapons used by PLA air forces (referring now to both the PLAAF and PLA naval air forces) has transformed a formerly backward force oriented mainly toward homeland defense into one that is fully capable of both offensive and defensive missions in support of the PRC‘s overall A2/AD strategy. Probably the key concern when considering U.S. potential to seize air superiority in a contest with China is one of force generation, or, put another way, sortie generation. Can the PLA‘s superior sortie generation rate resulting from its ―home court advantage‖ be offset by the supposed superior capabilities of U.S. aircraft?
J-20: An Airborne Game-Changer?
A second question relates to the new J-20 stealth fighter. While it is unclear what exactly the capabilities of the aircraft are (i.e. to what degree is it able to evade radar detection?; what is its actual combat radius?; etc.) or what role it is envisioned to play when actually deployed, there is also the inevitable line of questioning about how U.S. aircraft stack up against it. For instance, will it be so capable that it will take the U.S.‘s most advanced fifth-generation aircraft (such as the F-22A or the forthcoming F-35 JSF) to take it on? Or can older platforms like the F-15C/D or E models outfitted with upgraded systems such as an airborne electronically scanned array (AESA) radar system be converted to a ―counter-stealth‖ mission?386 Some in the U.S. are taking a longer view, stressing that even if the new J-20 is as capable as advertised, the Chinese will still likely only have about 50 of them in their inventory by 2020, while in the same time period the PLAAF‘s overall number of fighters will drop to about 1,000, with most of them considered modern (i.e., fourth-generation or better). Meanwhile, the U.S. fleet of fighters in 2020 is forecast to number about 3,000 aircraft, with around 1,000 of those being stealth-capable.387 3. Will U.S. UCAS Live Up to the Hype?
A third line of questioning related to PRC air A2/AD capabilities wonders about the prospects of current U.S. efforts to develop stealthy, long-range UCAS (probably launched from an aircraft carrier) capable of penetrating PRC air defenses. Krepinevich and others have described how difficult a mission this would be; would the U.S. risk sending even B-2s against that type of air defense threat level? What about B-2s accompanied by F-22As?
386 David Axe, ―Combat Aircraft: Revamped F-15s to Counter Chinese Stealth Fighters,‖ War is
Boring, April 28, 2011, http://www.warisboring.com/2011/04/28/combat-aircraft-revamped-f-15s-tocounter-chinese-stealth-fighters/. Accessed on May 6, 2011.
387 David Axe, ―China‘s Fighters Won‘t Match US,‖ The Diplomat, March 10, 2011, http://thediplomat.com/flashpoints-blog/2011/03/10/chinas-fighters-wont-match-us/ (accessed on May 14, 2011).
IMPLICATIONS OF PLA MARITIME A2/AD CAPABILITIES 1. The Original Game-Changer
The Chinese ASBM has a somewhat overhyped reputation in the West. 388 Many believe that too much has been made of a system that has not even been conclusively shown to function as intended.389 Clearly there are several questions that surround this capability. Foremost of these is doubts about the ability of the ASBM to find its target. Will the maritime surveillance network so painstakingly assembled by the PRC over the past decades (if you count the development of the OTH-B and OTH-SW facilities, some of which date back to the mid-1960s) be able to find ―a needle in a haystack‖ (i.e. a ship at sea in the vast Pacific Ocean)? As a thinking enemy, the U.S. has a vote in this process. Will the U.S. be able to enact sufficient passive defensive measures among the ships of its fleet to increase the targeting challenge presented to the Chinese? What about new active defensive measures being developed, such as ship-borne lasers? Speaking to the larger strategic and political aspects launching an ASBM at a U.S. Navy vessel would entail, would the PRC venture that doing so would not lead to escalation? What about nuclear ambiguity? 2. Submarines: The “Poor Man’s A2/AD Weapon”
Observers of naval affairs have noted that U.S. abilities to conduct effective anti-submarine warfare (ASW) seemed to suffer after the end of the Cold War.390 This would be a critical weakness in going up against a country like China which
388 For critical views, see, for example, Hooper and Albon; Tangredi; and Robert S. Ross, ―Here Be Dragons: Is China a Military Threat? Myth,‖ The National Interest No. 103, September/October 2009, pp. 28-29, http://www.gwu.edu/~power/literature/dbase/friedberg4.pdf (accessed on May 16, 2011). 389 Hooper and Albon. 390 Perry D. Yaw, ―ASW…Not Just a Navy Sport[:] The Need for Joint ASW,‖ U.S. Naval War
College Department of Joint Military Operations paper, October 23, 2006, http://www.dtic.mil/cgibin/GetTRDoc?Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf&AD=ADA463671 (accessed on May 15, 2011). Yaw describes how as the Soviet threat disappeared, so did funding for ASW platforms and emphasis on ASW training. The trend of neglect began to reverse in the late 1990s. Current-day ASW capabilities have been hampered by new, more difficult mission sets, such as more operations in littoral areas heavy with merchant traffic and the proliferation of modern, quiet diesel-electric submarines that are very hard to detect.
emphasizes the importance of subsea warfare in its overall A2/AD strategy and that possesses a large submarine fleet, many of which are equipped with advanced ASCMs. D. IMPLICATIONS OF PLA MISSILE FORCE A2/AD CAPABILITIES 1. Whither Kadena?
The biggest implication for the U.S. of China‘s rapidly burgeoning A2/AD missile forces is the survivability of Kadena Air Base on Okinawa. It‘s no secret that the Chinese see it as a likely target if hostilities should erupt between China and the U.S., but many questions remain about U.S. preparedness to weather potential attacks.391 For instance, while there are Patriot missile defenses at Kadena AFB, it seems likely that they are insufficient to meet the challenge presented by the Chinese missile threat.392 The costs inherent in developing and fielding additional active defenses at such a vulnerable location has led some analysts to suggest the abandonment of reliance on such measures, and instead shifting focus to passive measures such as facility hardening, building of many additional shelters, and more. These measures can also be expensive, plus there are questions about how willing military leadership is to spend money on ―concrete‖ vice weapons platforms. 2. Hafa Adai: Guam as “The” Pacific Base?
Challenges associated with U.S. bases close to China under A2/AD threat have led some to contend that the U.S. territory of Guam is a suitable fall-back location for U.S. military forces arrayed in the Western Pacific. The main attraction of Guam is that it is much more distant from the Chinese A2/AD threat – though it is by no means completely safe. Currently, in terms of conventional capabilities, only the PRC‘s air-launched DH-10 LACM and DF-3 IRBM have the range to strike Guam, but future variants of the DF-21D ASBM may incorporate boost-glide technology to extend its range to be able to strike Guam as well.
391 The section entitled ―1. It‘s the Politics, Stupid‖ beginning on page 127 below will discuss political aspects of China‘s A2/AD strategy as they relate to U.S. forces based in allied nations in East Asia, including Japan. 392 Based on the argument presented by Hoyler.
Unfortunately for the U.S., using Guam as the main military base in the Pacific comes with a bitter trade-off: aerial tanker use requirements to support U.S. tactical aircraft sortie generation from Guam as opposed to a closer location like Kadena AFB would stretch U.S. capabilities very close to the breaking point. A 2008 RAND briefing showed that the sortie generation rate from Guam would put only a handful of F-22As in vicinity of Taiwan at any given time,393 while China would be able to put scores of aircraft in the air.394 Simple math shows that the odds would be against the U.S. pilots, whether they were flying the F-22A or not. Guam may be relatively better off than Kadena AFB in terms of air defenses as well. The U.S. Army plans to station elements of its new THAAD units in Guam, hosting a three-part ABM system that may offer better protection than the PAC-3 system by itself. E. IMPLICATIONS OF PLA COUNTER-BATTLE NETWORK A2/AD CAPABILITIES 1. E.T. No Phone Home?
PRC ASAT capabilities seem to demonstrate that U.S. satellites are at risk. It is unclear if the U.S. currently has any means to mitigate the Chinese ASAT threat short of something along the lines of the CPGS system. (CPGS will be explored further in the next section of this chapter.) The implication is that the U.S. should assume that some degree of its overhead satellite advantage would likely be degraded or lost in a fight with China.
393 Stillion and Perdue estimate that at any given time, the U.S. could put six F-22As, six tankers,
two AWACS, four P-3 maritime patrol aircraft, and two Global Hawks in the air over Taiwan using Guam as the sole Pacific base. By contrast, the Chinese could literally send multiple regiments of fighters (one J-11 regiment consists of 24 aircraft) against U.S. forces at the same time. In such a notional employment, U.S. losses might be very heavy, simply based on the massive salvos of air-to-air missiles that the swarms of Chinese jets could put in the air. While the F-22As would likely be very effective in their air combat role, they simply do not carry enough weapons to defeat all of the Chinese fighters in such a massive attack. Therefore, in Purdue and Stillion‘s notional engagement, all non-F22A U.S. aircraft were destroyed as they attempted to flee the Chinese jets that could not be targeted by F-22A air-to-air missiles owing to lack of quantity. See John Stillion and Scott Perdue, ―Air Combat Past, Present and Future,‖ RAND Project Air Force briefing, August 2008, slides 41-49. Available at http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/files/2008_RAND_Pacific_View_Air_Combat_Briefing.pdf (accessed on May 16, 2011).
394 Stillion and Perdue, slide 30. They calculated that based on maintenance and tanker capabilities of both sides and the number of bases within range of Taiwan from which the Chinese could sortie fighter aircraft, even with the entire F-22A portable maintenance fleet deployed to Guam, the U.S. would only be able to manage about 140 sorties per day over the Taiwan Strait, while the Chinese would be able to generate over 1,300 sorties.
This would be a new and uncomfortable reality for the U.S., which has enjoyed information superiority enabled in large part by space superiority since the 1990-91 Gulf War. All manner of U.S. C4ISR capability could be degraded, depending on the specific satellite(s) targeted. However, others believe that the immediate impact of even an all-out Chinese ASAT attack would be limited, although the long-term consequences of the massive quantities of extremely fast-moving space debris resulting from such an attack would likely degrade China‘s own space-based assets, if not render space a complete ―no-go‖ zone in which all nations‘ satellites would be destroyed by the resulting debris.395 2. Patriotic Hackers Unite!
Various researchers have described U.S. government and commercial unclassified network vulnerabilities to Chinese CNO. U.S. logistics, battle command, airborne battlespace command and other networks may be degraded or denied use upon the commencement of hostilities with China, or even before. The degree to which U.S. classified networks have been penetrated or are vulnerable has been little reported until very recently, 396 though it seems to this researcher that assuming a similar level of susceptibility of these networks to at least Chinese CNE is not unrealistic. Chinese CNO efforts against the U.S. were reportedly greatly enabled by access to a U.S. Navy EP-3E Aries II surveillance aircraft and its cryptographic payload in the wake of the Hainan Island Incident of April 2001. Chinese computer experts were apparently able to reverse engineer the tens of millions of lines of proprietary computer code resident on the plane‘s operational systems, enabling the
395 Forden. 396 A 2010 essay by Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn III in Foreign Affairs discussed
a 2008 infiltration of DoD networks caused by an infected flash drive and the U.S. response. The malicious code implanted, created by an unnamed foreign intelligence agency, quickly spread to both classified and unclassified U.S. networks. When the unauthorized program was able to access the internet (U.S. classified networks ―have only the thinnest of connections to the public internet‖), it was able to send purloined files back to its unknown masters. Despite the fact that the worm ―[wa]sn‘t the most capable threat,‖ it took the DoD 14 months to rid their networks of the malicious code. See William J. Lynn III, ―Defending a New Domain: The Pentagon's Cyberstrategy,‖ Foreign Affairs Vol. 89 No. 5 (September/October 2010), pp. 97-108; Noah Shachman, ―Insiders Doubt 2008 Pentagon Hack Was Foreign Spy Attack (Updated),‖ Danger Room, August 25, 2010, http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/08/insiders-doubt-2008-pentagon-hack-was-foreign-spyattack/ (accessed on May 15, 2011).
Chinese to decrypt classified U.S. intelligence and operational data. In 2008, the Chinese showed their hand, making it known to the U.S. that they had access to information on planned U.S. naval movements. As a result of the breach, U.S. officials decided that the operating systems on all EP-3E planes had to be replaced at a cost of several hundred million dollars.397 Vulnerability to CNO is neither a zero-sum game nor a one-way street, however. Reports from sources unaffiliated with the U.S. Government indicate that some Chinese networks, including those containing classified or sensitive information, seem to be at least as vulnerable as U.S. systems.398 This suggests that the U.S. might be able to give the Chinese a dose of their own CNO ―medicine.‖ F. OTHER IMPLICATIONS OF PLA A2/AD CAPABILITIES 1. It’s the Politics, Stupid
If the U.S. and China become involved in an armed conflict in the Western Pacific, it seems unlikely that hostilities would remain limited to only these two countries for long. First of all, the U.S. has extensive basing privileges in many countries throughout East Asia and would likely want very badly to use them in generating force against China. Depending on how such a conflict was initiated, obtaining approval for such use might be easy or it might be hard. If hostilities were initiated by, for instance, a Chinese missile attack on Kadena Air Base on Okinawa (a prefecture of Japan), then it might be quite easy to obtain such an approval. However, if the Chinese instead chose to strike at a U.S. ship at sea in international waters in a way that could be plausibly denied as having originated from the PRC, then it might be much more difficult to obtain base use rights. These same political dynamics
monitor the U.S. aircraft‘s activities in the airspace above China‘s EEZ surrounding Hainan Island in the South China Sea. The U.S. aircraft was able to make an emergency landing at an airfield on Hainan Island, while the Chinese jet crashed into the ocean. After landing, the Chinese took the crew into custody for 11 days and seized the aircraft for several months. It was during this time that contents of the aircraft left intact after the crew‘s in extremis attempts to destroy or ―zeroize‖ sensitive equipment and documents were exploited for intelligence value. See Seymour Hersh, ―The Online Threat,‖ The New Yorker, November 1, 2010, http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/11/01/101101fa_fact_hersh?currentPage=all (accessed on May 7, 2011).
398 Paul Roberts, ―Glass Dragon: China's Cyber Offense Obscures Woeful Defense,‖ ThreatPost:
397 The American surveillance aircraft collided in mid-air with a PLAAF interceptor jet sent to
The Kaspersky Lab Security News Service, April 27, 2011, http://threatpost.com/en_us/blogs/glassdragon-chinas-cyber-offense-obscures-woeful-defense-042711 (accessed on May 7, 2011).
would likely play out in other countries in the region that host U.S. forces, such as South Korea and Singapore. It is possible that one country might agree to allow U.S. use of bases, while others might refuse. A contemporary example of this dynamic was in 2002 when Turkey refused to allow U.S. forces bound for the invasion of Iraq to transit its territory, forcing the U.S. to expend time and assets to shift the planned northern invasion force to another avenue of attack. 2. CPGS: Reach Out and Touch Someone
U.S. CPGS has been advertised in some quarters as a way to counteract PRC A2/AD capabilities. But it is a means fraught with problems. From the U.S. standpoint, CPGS makes a great deal of sense. CPGS would provide the U.S. with a precise, time-sensitive conventional strategic strike capability able to strike any target worldwide in about an hour or less. Instead of sending a commando team to conduct a sensitive raid on the nation‘s most-wanted terrorist hiding inside a less-than friendly country on the far side of the planet, CPGS would allow that same mission to be conducted without endangering the lives of U.S. troops, and, unlike, previous capabilities along these lines, it would be far more timesensitive, increasing the likelihood of success.399 A variety of systems have been proposed to meet CPGS‘s time-sensitivity and global reach requirements. These range from standard U.S. nuclear ICBMs converted to carry conventional payloads to boost-glide missiles to a new hypersonic glide vehicle. Clearly, if not for the excessive nuclear ambiguity issues surrounding the use of ICBMs for CPGS, they are a proven technology with global reach available today. Other means are still in various stages of development. The hypersonic glide vehicle
399 In many respects, the progenitor to CPGS can be seen as the Tomahawk Land Attack Missile
(TLAM), an American cruise missile. On several occasions during the 1990s, the U.S. fired salvos of TLAMs from U.S. Navy vessels into unfriendly counties in Africa and South Asia attempting to eliminate wanted terrorists or punish regimes which hosted terrorists. However, several hours of ―spin up‖ time were necessary before the TLAMs could be launched, and then, because the missiles fly relatively slowly (they are only capable of sub-sonic speeds), the time-sensitive targets were gone hours before the missiles struck. With respect to China, platforms carrying TLAMs might have difficulty getting close enough to allow them to strike certain targets in the interior of China due to the PRC‘s advanced A2/AD capabilities. This is precisely one of the key capability gaps that CPGS is meant to address. Elaine Bunn and Vincent A. Manzo, ―Conventional Prompt Global Strike: Strategic Asset or Unusable Liability?‖ National Defense University Strategic Forum No. 263, February 2011, pp. 4-5, http://www.ndu.edu/press/lib/pdf/StrForum/SF-263.pdf (accessed on May 15, 2011).
has not yet had a successful test flight. Initially, the U.S. expressed hope that CPGS using boost-glide technologies would reach IOC in 2012, but that timeline appears to have shifted to at least 2015. Each of the services has their own programs to develop CPGS technologies.400 Others have proposed a CPGS-like capability that instead of being land-based is based at sea. Specifically, it would consist of one or more ballistic missile submarines converted from carrying strategic nuclear missiles (those designated as second-strike weapons) to conventional payloads. The Trident missile has been successfully tested in this capacity and would offer a 2,000 pound warhead capable of striking targets at more than 3,000 nautical miles distance.401 While this would be a highly effective counter to Chinese conventional long-range strike capabilities, it too is subject to the problems of nuclear ambiguity. However, Bunn and Manzo argue that because such a Conventional Trident Modification‘s ballistic trajectory would be much easier for Russian and Chinese officials to assess quickly whether or not it was going to land in their territory, it would be less provocative than a land-based CPGS capability.402 With regard to A2/AD challenges, with perhaps the exception of the most modern air defense systems, CPGS would essentially render them moot. A truly workable CPGS system would allow the U.S. to strike at ASAT sites deep within China to prevent a kinetic strike on U.S. satellites without having to brave the coastal air defenses, and without the need for 30-hour manned B-2 mission flown from Missouri. It could also be replicated – more CPGS strikes could easily follow if additional threats were detected, absent the extended lead-time necessary for a successful long-range manned strike mission. Politically, CPGS is subject to the same nuclear ambiguity problem associated with the Chinese ASBM. A convenient and reliable means for the U.S. to describe to other countries that a CPGS missile is not carrying a nuclear warhead has not yet been devised. Some argue that the unique trajectory and specific launch facilities associated
400 Amy F. Woolf, ―Conventional Prompt Global Strike and Long-Range Ballistic Missiles: Background and Issues,‖ CRS Report for Congress R41464, April 21, 2011, http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/nuke/R41464.pdf (accessed on May 16, 2011). 401 Hooper and Albon. 402 Bunn and Manzo, pp.16-18.
with CPGS assets would allow other countries to quickly ascertain that the payload aboard the hypersonic glider was not a nuclear first-strike. But others scoff at this assertion. Iskander Rehman, a research fellow at the Transatlantic Academy of the German Marshall Fund, writes that ―[t]he timeframe of less than an hour before impact [referring to the advertised strike timeline of the CPGS system] … is not favorable to sober assessments of flight paths.‖403 G. CHAPTER SUMMARY This chapter discussed some of the implications of Chinese development of A2/AD capabilities for U.S. military operations in the Western Pacific. While PRC investments in high-end, modern warfighting platforms has been significant over the past decade, possibly the most ominous developments have been in capabilities designed to counter specific U.S. vulnerabilities, such as an overdependence on spacebased sensors and communications and an extremely battle network-dependent style of warfighting. The chapter also covered political aspects of China‘s A2/AD challenge, specifically as related to critical U.S. bases in Japan. An effective U.S. response to Chinese aggression in the Western Pacific would be greatly hampered by lack of political clearance to use key facilities like Kadena AFB on Okinawa, to say nothing of PRC military capabilities to affect the same result. U.S. CPGS was also discussed in some depth for the first time in this chapter. While the theoretical capabilities of the system, in whatever form it might end up taking, seem quite salutary, potential drawbacks appear to be substantial and it is not clear that any of the methods discussed to ameliorate trepidation from other nations about nuclear first-strikes will be effective enough to offset possible benefits. A variety of PRC A2/AD threats to U.S. air, sea, and space-based capabilities present challenges that in many cases have not been effectively addressed by U.S. actions to date. The next chapter will discuss conclusions from this study and offer recommendations that might help to address some of the outstanding problems.
403 Iskander Rehman, ―A Step Too Far: Why CPGS Is The Wrong Answer to China‘s Anti-Access
Challenge,‖ East-West Center Asia-Pacific Bulletin No. 102, March 24, 2011, http://www.eastwestcenter.org/fileadmin/stored/pdfs/apb102_1.pdf (accessed on May 15, 2011).
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CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
CONCLUSIONS A variety of conclusions are apparent in the wake of this research. First, the
U.S. did not take the Chinese A2/AD challenge seriously until very recently, perhaps in the last five years or so. While the DoD‘s reports on China‘s military power began a very limited discussion of A2/AD concepts in 2000, it was not until the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) that the development a true joint U.S. concept for meeting the A2/AD challenge (AirSea Battle) was announced. 404 The decade-long lag allowed the Chinese to get a large head-start on the U.S. It is also apparent that the rapid modernization of the PLA that has taken place so markedly over the past decade is not nearing an end. China‘s projected continued economic growth coupled with a new and building nationalism based on China‘s newfound strengths virtually assure that defense budgets already flush with cash for new platforms and continued research and development will continue to swell. Double-digit year-on-year increases in the PRC defense budget should not be surprising to observers. Despite the newfound recognition of the challenge presented by a rapidly modernizing PLA and its A2/AD capabilities by some U.S. policymakers, the U.S. still needs to do more to prepare to meet the potential challenges ahead. Finally, with regard to answering the research question first posed in chapter one, a few comments are in order. This thesis has shown how PRC A2/AD capability developments have challenged U.S. planners to devise efficacious means to ensure access to critical facilities in the Western Pacific. The ASBC is the product of this effort. ASBC, as described by CSBA, envisions sometimes wrenching choices and trade-offs necessary to prepare U.S. forces to meet China‘s
404 Robert M. Gates, Quadrennial Defense Review Report, February 2010 (Washington, DC:
Department of Defense, 2010), p. 32. An electronic version of the report is available at http://www.defense.gov/qdr/images/QDR_as_of_12Feb10_1000.pdf (accessed on May 16, 2011).
A2/AD challenge. This means the curtailment of some legacy systems and programs, as well as sometimes significant challenges to service culture and parochialism. The current military build-up of Guam in many ways reflects a realization by U.S. planners of the vulnerability of Okinawa. It also represents a real chance to create resilient facilities from the ground up, instead of having to make expensive modifications and changes after construction is complete. Despite U.S. attempts to distribute forces and capabilities among various Pacific bases and stations and retain the ability to carry out a full range of military missions, the trade-off between distance and capability calls into question U.S. obligations under the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979 (TRA). The next section of this chapter will present recommendations to U.S. decision makers on how to better go about preparing to meet the Chinese A2/AD challenge. B. RECOMMENDATIONS This section will present a number of recommendations for the U.S. to better meet the challenges presented by burgeoning Chinese A2/AD capabilities. 1. Invest in Passive Defenses
As discussed previously, trying to meet the various ballistic and cruise missile challenges head-on with active ABM systems is costly and not guaranteed to be effective. U.S. stocks of ABMs are limited by worldwide requirements, while Chinese missile attacks can be massed on key targets designed to fulfill their A2/AD strategy, such as Kadena Air Base and other U.S. facilities close enough to China to allow the high sortie generation rates that characterize U.S. tactical aircraft employment methods. It is a truism that by trying to defend everywhere, you defend nowhere, and that is the case here. If it chooses to attempt to defend Kadena Air Base on Okinawa by primarily active means, the U.S. can choose to put all of its ABM eggs into one basket, so to speak, leaving other facilities in the region more vulnerable. Or the U.S. can take another path, one which is not as dependent on scarce and expensive ABMs. 133
Passive measures like hardening of key facilities, construction of additional aircraft shelters, and the fostering and husbanding of sufficient rapid runway repair materials and personnel with the necessary expertise at all vulnerable air bases in the region are needed. Passive defenses also need to be implemented at sea to minimize the target profiles of U.S. naval vessels presented to the Chinese ASBM and other long-range precision strike capabilities. At sea, passive defenses would consist of rigorous EMCON, deception (including false radio transmissions), and dispersed operations. The ability to fight effectively under these conditions would require substantial amounts of sometimes risky training to achieve. Despite the potential advantages of a defensive scheme more weighted toward passive means, it is unlikely that the U.S. will seriously pursue a true rebalancing of its strategy portfolio in that direction. This owes to the necessity for ABM in other theaters, namely to protect Europe from the perceived missile threat from Iran. Another factor is the decades-long road of ABM research and development the U.S. has taken up to this point. The U.S. government has spent untold billions of dollar in pursuit of a genuine ABM capability, and though some endeavors associated with the effort can truly be characterized as ―throwing bad money after the good,‖ it is unlikely that U.S. policymakers and the U.S. general public would accept the wholesale abandonment of ABM efforts at this late date. 2. Expand and Refine AirSea Battle
Just as with the 1980s AirLand battle concept for Europe to counter the Soviets, which was gradually expanded beyond limiting participation to just the Army and the Air Force, the AirSea Battle Concept must also be expanded to accept contributions from all the services. While ASBC was initially envisioned as an Air Force-Navy plan, the Marine Corps has since been added to the mix, and the Army should also be invited to contribute. The U.S. wins no points by promoting service parochialism. Beyond expansion to include all the services, ASBC also needs to be further developed in response to new and emerging trends in PLA capability. For instance, in light of the burgeoning PLA aircraft carrier force (which some sources believe could 134
number as many as three to five hulls in the water by 2020 as the PRC shifts to indigenous construction of carriers from the keel up),405 the ASBC should reflect how it would deal with a potentially robust PLA carrier force. 3. Develop Unmanned Systems
A key aspect of the U.S.‘s ability to adapt to Chinese A2/AD challenges will be to what degree capable, stealthy, long-range unmanned systems are integrated into all aspects of U.S. operations. In missions ranging from persistent ISR to strike, probably the only platforms that will have the range needed to allow their points of origin (be they land- or sea-based) to remain outside the Chinese A2/AD envelope and the survivability to penetrate an extremely robust IADS environment will be the unmanned variety, with the exception of the B-2 Spirit bomber and, eventually, the Air Force‘s family of long-range strike systems, which succeeded its Next Generation Bomber (NGB) program.406 Recent tests of potential carrier-based UCAS demonstration platforms such as the X-47B suggest that perhaps there is reason to hope that long-range, penetrating, and persistent strike and ISR capabilities will be native to U.S. carrier battle groups by the end of the current decade. 407 The development of capable unmanned carrierlaunched airborne-surveillance and strike (UCLASS) aircraft has led some analysts to question the utility of U.S. aircraft carriers as they currently exist. Hendrix and Williams go as far as proposing that current and planned future U.S. ―supercarriers‖
405 Galrahn, ―In Search of the 2011 DoD Report on China's Military,‖ Information Dissemination,
May 10, 2011, http://www.informationdissemination.net/2011/05/in-search-of-2011-dod-report-onchinas.html (accessed on May 16, 2011). This source indicates that at least one indigenous aircraft carrier is under construction, and possibly two. Based on his assessment of Chinese shipyard activity and the past two Five Year Plans, Galrahn estimates the PRC will have four indigenously-built carriers at sea by 2020, along with the former Varyag, for a grand total of five aircraft carriers. piloted and nuclear-capable,‖ indicate that it is unlikely to enter service before the mid-2020s. The new bomber will possess extreme-low observable technology and ―unprecedented aerodynamic efficiency.‖ Bill Sweetman, ―USAF Bomber Gets Tight Numbers,‖ Aviation Week, April 12, 2011, http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_channel.jsp?channel=defense&id=news/dti/2011/04/0 1/DT_04_01_2011_p28-297147.xml&headline=USAF%20Bomber%20Gets%20Tight%20Numbers (accessed on May 15, 2011). The NGB program, or ―2018 Bomber‖ (because it was expected to enter service around 2018) was deferred in the FY 2010 budget (though the decision was described as ―more [of] a termination than a deferral‖ by one analyst) and developmental efforts shifted to the new family of long-range strike systems. Jeremiah Gertler, ―Air Force Next-Generation Bomber: Background and Issues for Congress,‖ CRS Report for Congress RL34406, December 22, 2009, pp. 1-2, http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/weapons/RL34406.pdf (accessed on May 16, 2011).
407 See footnote 142 on page 48. 406 The latest news reports on development of the new USAF bomber, which will be ―optionally-
are obsolete based on current and emerging threats such as A2/AD measures and ballooning acquisition costs. Instead, they argue that a new fleet of light carriers should be developed based on the new America-class amphibious assault ship. For the cost of a single supercarrier like the $15 billion-a-copy Gerald R. Ford-class, of which the namesake vessel is currently under construction, three light carriers could be put into service. The new light carriers should also be transitioned to either an allF-35B STOVL air complement (e.g. no helicopters embarked on the ship, unlike the practice on current amphibious ships similar to the America-class), or, preferably, an all long-range unmanned or optionally-manned strike and ISR aircraft complement. The current fleet of supercarriers should continue to be operated through the end of their service lives, but no more should be built.408 Eventually even the surface vessels themselves will likely be unmanned. C. CLOSING THOUGHTS AND SUGGESTIONS RESEARCH FOR FURTHER
Because this thesis is an analysis of a contemporary, dynamic situation, it too can be seen as, at best, a snapshot in time that captures efforts by two powerful actors to reconcile differing notions about access to the global air, sea, space and cyber commons; power projection; and regional influence. While the actions taken by each appear internally as entirely in their national interest, oftentimes the meaning is distorted by the time the message is received by the other side, distorted by various lenses used to view the world. Trouble ensues. Despite having analyzed a great deal of material in an attempt to answer one question, this research has by no means answered all the questions surrounding the issue of Chinese A2/AD capabilities and U.S. responses – far from it. Beyond the questions raised in chapter 4 while reflecting on the implications of various categories of Chinese A2/AD capabilities, the final portion of this thesis offers a few additional suggestions for areas that may be worthy of continued research.
408 Henry J. Hendrix and J. Noel Williams, ―Twilight of the $UPERfluous Carrier,‖ U.S. Naval
Institute Proceedings Vo1. 137 No. 5 (May 2011), http://www.usni.org/magazines/proceedings/201105/twilight-uperfluous-carrier (accessed on May 16, 2011). Others argue that the supercarrier‘s value is not simply in its military utility, but also in its symbolic role as the embodiment of U.S. power, and thus its continuation should be reconsidered. See Robert Farley, ―Over the Horizon: Symbol and Utility in the Great Carrier Debate,‖ World Politics Review, May 11, 2011, http://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/8807/over-the-horizon-symbol-and-utility-in-the-greatcarrier-debate (accessed on May 16, 2011).
Additional study of U.S. CPGS is needed to determine how such a desirable (from the U.S. standpoint) capability can effectively be integrated into U.S. arsenals while mitigating negative effects on foreign affairs, including arms control regimes such as the U.S.-Russian 2010 Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms agreement (also known as New START [Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty]). New methods for defending U.S. ships against missile threats, such as DEW and rail guns, should garner additional research. The means mentioned here have been tested but are still years away from actual deployment. This research has focused nearly exclusively on military A2/AD means. Additional study of political and other non-military aspects of A2/AD should be conducted.
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