China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities - Background and Issues for Congress [September 30, 2013] [open pdf - 4MB]
"Two DOD strategy and budget documents released in January 2012 state that U.S. military strategy will place a renewed emphasis on the Asia-Pacific region, and that as a result, there will be a renewed emphasis on air and naval forces in DOD plans. Administration officials have stated that notwithstanding reductions in planned levels of U.S. defense spending, the U.S. military presence in the Asia-Pacific region will be maintained and strengthened. Decisions that Congress and the executive branch make regarding U.S. Navy programs for countering improved Chinese maritime military capabilities could affect the likelihood or possible outcome of a potential U.S.-Chinese military conflict in the Pacific over Taiwan or some other issue. […] China's naval modernization effort, which began in the 1990s, encompasses a broad array of weapon acquisition programs, including anti-ship ballistic missiles (ASBMs), submarines, and surface ships. China's naval modernization effort also includes reforms and improvements in maintenance and logistics, naval doctrine, personnel quality, education, training, and exercises. Observers believe that the near-term focus of China's military modernization effort has been to develop military options for addressing the situation with Taiwan. […] Potential oversight issues for Congress include the following: whether the U.S. Navy in coming years will be large enough to adequately counter improved Chinese maritime anti-access forces while also adequately performing other missions of interest to U.S. policymakers around the world; the Navy's ability to counter Chinese ASBMs and submarines; and whether the Navy, in response to China's maritime anti-access capabilities, should shift over time to a more distributed fleet architecture."
CRS Report for Congress, RL33153