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April 26, 2023

China's Future Military Capabilities

US Army War College Press

Roger Cliff 

The 2022 National Defense Strategy of the United States of America identifies China as the “pacing challenge” for the US military. This monograph examines the process by which China’s military capabilities are developed, the capabilities China’s military is seeking to acquire in the future, and the resulting implications for the US military. To date, all the extant studies have merely described the capabilities the People’s Liberation Army is currently acquiring. This monograph goes further by drawing on the Chinese military’s publications to identify and discuss the capabilities the People’s Liberation Army seeks to acquire in the future. The monograph finds China’s military is engaged in a comprehensive program to field a dominant array of military capabilities for ground, sea, air, space, and cyberspace warfare. Countering these capabilities will require the United States and its allies to engage in an equally comprehensive effort. The monograph’s findings will enable US military planners and policy practitioners to understand the long-term goals of China’s development of military capabilities and to anticipate and counter China’s realization of new capabilities so the United States can maintain its military advantage over the long term.

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