Assessing Chinese Intentions for the Military Use of the Space Domain   [open pdf - 273KB]

From the thesis abstract: "The continuing rise of Chinese political and military power has made Americans suspicious of China's intentions in the space domain. For many in the American defense community, the 2007 Anti-Satellite (ASAT) test was the smoking gun that proved China's ultimate desire to challenge American space dominance. Other experts, however, have proposed a more benign intent behind such actions, leading to vigorous debates over Chinese motives and the appropriate American responses. How can American policymakers decipher Chinese intentions for space to craft sound defense policy? This monograph proposes that to understand Chinese intentions, it is necessary to examine the current schools of military thought vying for influence within China's policymaking apparatus. […] The three schools of thought are broadly categorized as the People's War school, Local War school, and Revolution of Military Affairs school. In theory, each school will support the development of distinctive technology, doctrine, and organization of the military. These developments will produce capabilities that inform the strategic posture of China vis-à-vis its potential adversaries. Each school of thought will also be concerned about the domestic impact of military space policy to different degrees. The monograph analyzes China's military space policy by using these criteria of 'strategic military posture' and 'societal impact.' The examination of two Chinese space programs, the Anti-Satellite program and the manned space program, shows the dominant influence of the Local War school of thought. This informs the nature of Chinese intentions for the military use of space and possible ramifications for the American military."

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