Institute for National Strategic Studies

Chinese Views of Future Warfare


The United States, while increasing military-to-miltary contacts with the Chinese, has also been urging China to improve its transparency about military matters. China has now taken several steps in this regard. For example, my counterpart, the President of China's National Defense University, agreed in late 1996 to expand the exchange program between our two institutions, thereby further enhancing a program already working well since 1985.

Another positive sign has been the opening of China's professional military literature to outsiders. It is now possible to purchase Chinese books and subscribe to Chinese military journals that were not publicly available before. Taking advantage of this welcome development, and working directly with the Chinese, the editor of this volume introduces to the West the works of authoritative and innovative Chinese authors whose writings focus on the future of the Chinese military. Although this material is now officially available to foreigners, it is in practice difficult to come by. So the carefully selected, representative essays published in this volume make Chinese military thinking even more accessible to Western readers. This volume reveals, for example, China's keen interest in the Revolution in Military Affairs. Western specialists may be surprised to learn how far Chinese strategic thinking has advanced beyond the funadamental concepts of Sun Tzu and Chairman Mao. Western readers will even detect differences among writers on specific issues, although there are no raging debates on major issues like those one might find in Western literature. However, Chinese military transparency, although growing, has far to go to reach Western standards. Western analysts and scholars must, for instance, still rely on secondary sources for information on Chinese force size, structure, military budgets, and weapons systems. Continued Chinese secrecy makes it impossible to know with confidence what China's doctrines or programs for the future may actually be. But this volumeCdone in full cooperation with the Chinese and disclosing heretofore guarded information-is a step in the right direction and an important starting point for understanding China's future military modernization.

			ERVIN J. ROKKE					

			Lieutenant General, USAF

			President, National Defense University

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