China's Expeditionary Progression   [open pdf - 396KB]

From the thesis abstract: "This study seeks to answer: What expeditionary capabilities is China building and how is it employing them? Are there any indicators that China possesses expeditionary capabilities and have the logistical support structure to sustain its endeavors abroad? To answer these questions, this monograph uses a qualitative case study methodology to access China's expeditionary capabilities. The analysis consists of three expeditionary case studies (the Tsunami Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief of 2004, the British invasion of the Falklands, the Sierra Leone invasion of 2000), progressing in intensity, to test the current expeditionary stance of the PLA [People's Liberation Army]. It defines the terms 'expeditionary capabilities' and 'expeditionary logistics.' Next, it identifies problems associated with sustaining expeditionary operations, creating evaluation criteria that are the best leading indicators of capability, and using a subset of those capabilities (enablers) to analyze China's current expeditionary stance. Then, it analyzes five expeditionary logistics models that support and sustain expeditionary operations. Finally, the monograph concludes that China does not have the capacity to sustain large-scale expeditionary operations. Thus, research shows that China is likely to follow a familiar path towards building force projection capabilities comparable to other modern expeditionary forces if it plans to engage in more intensive, expeditionary operations. If so, China will continue on the trajectory of increasing expeditionary capabilities as displayed by the indicators highlighted in this monograph. Until then, China will not be in the position to assume a greater role globally."

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