Does China Need a 'String of Pearls'?   [open pdf - 1MB]

From the thesis abstract: "Is China trying to build a 'String of Pearls' in the Indian Ocean? My hypothesis is that China is not looking to build large overseas military bases in the Indian Ocean. With the revolution in military affairs and improvements in C4ISR [Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance] over the last twenty years, international military bases are no longer as critical to intelligence collection and force projection as they were during the 20th century. This reduces the necessity of overseas bases to primarily serve as logistics hubs--which can be contracted out to host countries and reduce/eliminate the need to establish large overseas military bases. This thesis attempts to prove this hypothesis by examining improvements in military capabilities that include satellites, open source intelligence, cyberspace, and unmanned vehicles. With these improvements established, this thesis examines three comparative case studies involving states that have decided to reduce their international maritime presence over the last twenty years. Finally, Chinese perceptions and behaviors are examined to determine whether China is operating according to a post-Mahan international force projection theory."

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