China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities-Background and Issues for Congress [December 23, 2014] [open pdf - 4MB]
"China is building a modern and regionally powerful Navy with a modest but growing capability for conducting operations beyond China's near-seas region. The question of how the United States should respond to China's military modernization effort, including its naval modernization effort, is a key issue in U.S. defense planning. The question is of particular importance to the U.S. Navy, because many U.S. military programs for countering improved Chinese military forces would fall within the Navy's budget. As a part of the U.S. strategic rebalancing toward the Asia-Pacific region announced in January 2012, Department of Defense (DOD) planning is placing an increased emphasis on the Asia- Pacific region. Observers expect that, as a result, there will be a stronger emphasis in DOD planning on U.S. naval and air forces. Administration officials have stated that notwithstanding constraints on U.S. defense spending, DOD will seek to protect initiatives relating to the U.S. military presence in the Asia-Pacific region. […] Potential oversight issues for Congress include the following: whether the U.S. Navy in coming years will be large and capable enough to adequately counter improved Chinese maritime forces while also adequately performing other missions around the world; the Navy's ability to counter Chinese ASBMs [anti-ship ballistic missiles] and submarines; and whether the Navy, in response to China's maritime A2/AD capabilities, should shift over time to a more distributed fleet architecture."
CRS Report for Congress, RL33153