Books and Major Publications

China’s Evolving Military Strategy

 

Paperback – August 16, 2016

Joe McReynolds

Description ➝

For over two decades, the People’s Republic of China has been engaged in a grand project to transform its military into a modernized fighting force capable of defeating the world’s most powerful militaries through asymmetric means. However, despite the considerable attention that has been devoted to cataloging Chinese advances in weapons and hardware, much less is known about China’s strategic thinking.
China’s Evolving Military Strategy fills this gap by offering sector-by-sector expert assessments of the latest trends in Chinese military thought under Xi Jinping, covering not only traditional battle-spaces such as the air and sea but also China’s strategy for the new domains of space, cyberspace, and electronic warfare. China’s Evolving Military Strategy is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the world’s most important bilateral national security relationship.
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PROJECT CAMERASHY: Closing the Aperture on China’s Unit 78020

Published in 2015

Multiple Authors

Description ➝

The PROJECT CAMERASHY report, a joint project of SOSi CIRA and the cybersecurity firm ThreatConnect, definitively attributes cyber espionage activity associated with the Naikon Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) group to a specific unit (Unit 78020) within the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA). For nearly five years, Unit 78020 has employed malicious email attachments and spear phishing campaigns to exploit its targets in the Southeast Asian military, diplomatic, and economic sectors. These targets include government entities in Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam along with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
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China’s Strategic Support Force: A Force for a New Era

Published in 2018

James C. Mulvenon

Description ➝

SOSi CIRA China analyst Joe McReynolds and former SOSi CIRA analyst John Costello have produced a landmark monograph on the structure and inner workings of the PLA’s Strategic Support Force. In late 2015, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) initiated a series of ongoing reforms that have brought dramatic changes to its structure, model of warfighting, and organizational culture. Undoubtedly, among the most important changes has been the creation of a unified Strategic Support Force (SSF). This force combines assorted space, cyber, and electronic warfare (EW) capabilities from across the PLA services and its former general departments.
Two years after its founding, a coherent picture has gradually emerged of how various SSF components fit together and the strategic roles and missions that they are intended to fulfill. Although the Strategic Support Force is often described as having been designed to streamline the organization of China’s information warfare forces and thereby improve their efficiency, such incremental advantages are not the primary reason that the SSF was created. Rather, the SSF’s structure is first and foremost intended to create synergies between disparate information warfare capabilities in order to execute specific types of strategic missions that Chinese leaders believe will be decisive in future major wars. Understanding the primary strategic roles of the SSF is essential to understanding how China will practice information operations in a war or crisis.
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Chinese Industrial Espionage: Technology Acquisition and Military Modernization

Published in 2013

James C. Mulvenon

Description ➝

This book is the first full account, inside or outside government, of China’s efforts to acquire foreign technology. Based on primary sources and meticulously researched, the book lays bare China’s efforts to prosper technologically through others’ achievements. For decades, China has operated an elaborate system to spot foreign technologies, acquire them by all conceivable means, and convert them into weapons and competitive goods―without compensating the owners. The director of the US National Security Agency recently called it “the greatest transfer of wealth in history.”
Written by Dr. James Mulvenon as well as two of America’s leading government analysts, this book describes these transfer processes in comprehensive detail. Drawing upon previously unexploited Chinese language sources, the authors place their new research within historical context, examining the People’s Republic of China’s policy support for economic espionage, clandestine technology transfers, and theft through cyberspace, as well as the impact of these activities on the United States.
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The PLA Beyond Borders: Chinese Military Operations in Regional and Global Context

Published in 2021

Chapter authors include CIRA analysts John Chen, Joe McReynolds, and Kieran Green

Description ➝

No longer confined to China’s land territory or its near abroad, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is conducting increasingly complex operations farther and farther from China’s continental borders. Within Asia, the PLA now regularly operates into the far reaches of the South China Sea and deep into the Western Pacific, enforcing China’s territorial claims and preparing to counter U.S. intervention in a regional conflict. Beyond Asia, the PLA is present on the ground, at sea, or in military exercises with foreign partners across the Indian Ocean and into the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. Foreign militaries now regularly encounter the PLA, whether in tense incidents or friendly contacts, on their home turf and in the global commons.
Drawn from a 2019 conference jointly organized by NDU, the RAND Corporation, and Taiwan’s Council on Advanced Policy Studies, The PLA Beyond Borders surveys the dimensions of Chinese operations within the Indo-Pacific region and globally. The international contributors look both at the underlying enablers of these activities, including expeditionary capabilities and logistics, command and control, and ISR systems, as well as new and evolving operational concepts and operational patterns. Employing different analytic lenses, they portray a reformed PLA accelerating the pace of its overseas operations and increasing its modernization not only in the traditional domains, but also in space and cyber.
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Chairman Xi Remakes the PLA: Assessing Chinese Military Reforms

Published in 2019

Features chapters by CIRA analysts John Chen, Joe McReynolds, and Brian Lafferty.

Description ➝

China’s current military reforms are unprecedented in their ambition and in the scale and scope of the organizational changes. Virtually every part of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) now reports to different leaders, has had its mission and responsibilities changed, has lost or gained subordinate units, or has undergone a major internal reorganization.
Drawing on papers presented at two conferences co-organized by the U.S. National Defense University, The RAND Corporation, and Taiwan’s Council of Advanced Policy Studies, this edited volume brings together some of the world’s best experts on the Chinese military to analyze the various dimensions of the reforms in detail and assess their implications for the PLA’s ability to conduct joint operations, for the Chinese Communist Party’s control of the army, and for civil-military integration.
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China’s Maritime Gray Zone Operations

Published in 2019

Chapter by CIRA analyst Morgan Clemens

Description ➝

China’s maritime “gray zone” operations represent a new challenge for the U.S. Navy and the sea services of our allies, partners, and friends in maritime East Asia. There, Beijing is waging what some Chinese sources term a “war without gunsmoke.” Already winning in important areas, China could gain far more if left unchecked. One of China’s greatest advantages thus far has been foreign difficulty in understanding the situation, let alone determining an effective response. With contributions from some of the world’s leading subject matter experts, this volume aims to close that gap by explaining the forces and doctrines driving China’s paranaval expansion, operating in the “gray zone” between war and peace.
The book covers China’s major maritime forces beyond core gray-hulled Navy units, with particular focus on China’s second and third sea forces: the “white-hulled” Coast Guard and “blue-hulled” Maritime Militia. Increasingly, these paranaval forces, and the “gray zone” in which they typically operate, are on the frontlines of China’s seaward expansion.
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The People in the PLA 2.0

Published in 2018

Chapters by CIRA analysts Joe McReynolds, John Chen, James Mulvenon, Morgan Clemens, Ben Rosen, and Kenneth Allen.

Description ➝

This volume is the 2018 edition of a continuing series on the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) by the US Army War College Strategic Studies Institute, the National Bureau of Asian Research, and US Indo-Pacific Command. The People in the PLA 2.0 is a sequel of sorts to the 2008 book The People in the PLA: Recruitment, Training, and Education in China’s Military. The book serves as a complete resource that focuses on some of the less tangible, but no less vital, human aspects of PLA readiness.
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The Gathering Pacific Storm: Emerging US-China Strategic Competition in Defense Technological and Industrial Development

Published in 2018

Chapter authors include CIRA analyst Jonathan Ray and former CIRA analyst Daniel Alderman

Description ➝

The United States has enjoyed overwhelming military technological superiority in the post-Cold War era, but China has begun to chip away at this dominance. As distrust and strategic rivalry becomes more prominent in US-China relations, this is helping to turn what had previously been parallel but separate military research and development efforts by both countries into a directly connected competition. This contest for leadership in defense technology and innovation promises to be a long-term and highly expensive endeavor for the United States and China.
While there are some similarities between this emerging US–China defense strategic competition and the twentieth-century Cold War, there are also significant differences. The US–Soviet confrontation was primarily an ideological, geostrategic, and militarized rivalry between two countries and supporting alliances that were largely sealed from each other. This twenty-first century rivalry takes place against a backdrop of globalized interdependence, the blurring of military and civilian boundaries, and the growing prominence of geo-economic determinants.
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Chinese Military Diplomacy, 2003–2016: Trends and Implications

Published in 2017

Ken Allen, Phil Saunders, and John Chen

Description ➝

The international profile of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has grown significantly over the last half decade, with a notable increase in the frequency and complexity of its activities with partners abroad. As the Chinese military participates in multilateral meetings and engages foreign militaries around the world, it is strengthening diplomatic relations, building the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC’s) soft power, and learning how to deploy and support military forces for longer periods. This monograph examines several aspects of the PLA’s military diplomacy remain relatively understudied. What are the PLA’s objectives in conducting military diplomacy? Which partners does the PLA interact with most? What trends are evident in the pace and type of activities the PLA carries out? Which aspects of PLA military diplomacy should concern U.S. policymakers, and which present opportunities?
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Assessing the People’s Liberation Army in the Hu Jintao Era

Published in 2015

CIRA chapter authors included Joe McReynolds, Dr. James Mulvenon, and Kenneth Allen.

Description ➝

This volume provides unique insights into the PLA’s achievements over the span of Hu Jintao’s tenure as Central Military Commission Chair from 2002 to 2012. This period saw a remarkable growth in capabilities and a critical expansion in the military’s missions. The PLA increased its adoption of information technologies and advanced sensors into its modernization efforts. It also improved its ability to carry out joint training and missions other than war. Reflecting developments in the Chinese Communist Party, the PLA also experienced important changes in its political focus and mission. Most significantly, Hu Jintao introduced the “historic missions,” which oriented the PLA toward a much greater international mission than it had previously undertaken. Supporting this new international mission, the PLA expanded its participation in international military exercises, as well as peacekeeping operations and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions abroad, including its first ever permanent naval deployment abroad in the counterpiracy missions in the Gulf of Aden. Understanding how the PLA matured and developed in the Hu era is critical to understanding the PLA today, and for identifying opportunities to further cooperation between our two militaries.
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Forging China’s Military Might: A New Framework For Assessing Innovation

Published in 2014

Chapter authors include CIRA analysts Joe McReynolds, Brian Lafferty, and Ed Francis, as well as former CIRA analysts Kevin Pollpeter, Lisa Crawford, Aaron Shraberg, Susan Puska, Daniel Alderman, and others.

Description ➝

Among the most important issues in international security today are the nature and the global implications of China’s emergence as a world-class defense technology power. Since the beginning of the twenty-first century, the Chinese defense industry has reinvented itself by emphasizing technological innovation and technology. This reinvention and its potential effects, both positive and negative, are attracting global scrutiny. Drawing insights from a range of disciplines, including history, social science, business, and strategic studies, the contributors to Forging China’s Military Might offer an analytical framework to evaluate the nature, dimensions, and spectrum of Chinese innovation in both the military and broader defense spheres.
Forging China’s Military Might provides an overview of the current state of the Chinese defense industry and then focuses on subjects critical to understanding short- and long-term developments, including the relationship among defense contractors, regulators, and end-users; civil-military integration; China’s defense innovation system; and China’s place in the global defense economy. Case studies look in detail at the Chinese space and missile industry.
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The PLA as Organization 2.0

Published in 2013

Featuring chapters by Ken Allen, Katie Atha, Amy Chang, Kevin Pollpeter, LeighAnn Ragland, and Daniel Yoon

Description ➝

In 2012, CIRA organized a conference with some of the United States’ best minds on both People’s Liberation Army and People’s Armed Police organizational issues. This volume presents the outcome of that conference and includes the organizational and personnel changes that later occurred in conjunction with the 18th Party Congress in November 2012. The book delves into the minutia of the PLA’s and PAP’s organizational structure – cataloging the numerous units and their functions, as well as explaining the difference between a zhidui and a dadui, and, most importantly, understanding the PLA’s grades and ranks structure. The result is the most complete and authoritative guide to the PLA as organization since the previous ‘PLA as Organization’ volume was published in 2002.
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Soldiers of Fortune: The Rise and Fall of the Chinese Military-Business Complex, 1978-1998

Published in 2000

James C. Mulvenon

Description ➝

In 1978, faced with the pressure to modernize and a declining budget, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) reluctantly agreed to join China’s economic reform drive, expanding its internal economy to market-oriented civilian production. Dr. James Mulvenon’s classic study of the PLA’s former business empire examines the PLA’s role in China’s economy up to 1998.
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