China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities - Background and Issues for Congress [Updated November 19, 2008]   [open pdf - 637KB]

This Congressional Research Service (CRS) report is an update to previous versions. "This report focuses on the implications that certain elements of China's military modernization may have for future required U.S. Navy capabilities. Other CRS reports address separate issues relating to China and China's military. This report is based on unclassified open-source information. For convenience, this report uses the term China's naval modernization, even though some Chinese military modernization efforts that could affect required U.S. Navy capabilities are occurring in other parts of China's military, such as the air force or the missile force. China's military is formally called the People's Liberation Army, or PLA. Its navy is called the PLA Navy, or PLAN, and its air force is called the PLA Air Force, or PLAAF. The PLA Navy includes an air component that is called the PLA Naval Air Force, or PLANAF. China refers to its ballistic missile force as the Second Artillery Force. Further, China's naval modernization has potential implications for required U.S. Navy capabilities in terms of preparing for a conflict in the Taiwan Strait area, maintaining U.S. Navy presence and military influence in the Western Pacific, and countering Chinese ballistic missile submarines. Preparing for a conflict in the Taiwan Strait area could place a premium on the following: on-station or early-arriving Navy forces, capabilities for defeating China's maritime anti-access forces, and capabilities for operating in an environment that could be characterized by information warfare and possibly electromagnetic pulse (EMP) and the use of nuclear weapons."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL33153
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