You are here

U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, "Hearing: China's Military Modernization and Its Implications for the United States," January 30, 2014

This hearing was conducted by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission on January 30, 2014. The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission was created by the U.S. Congress in 2000 to monitor, investigate, and submit to Congress an annual report on the national security implications of the economic relationship between the United States and the People’s Republic of China.
January 30, 2014

Thursday, January 30, 2014
Room 2118, Rayburn House Office Building,
45 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20515.
Washington, DC 20002

Hearing Co-Chairs: Senator James M. Talent and Commissioner Katherine C. Tobin, Ph.D.


Good morning everyone. On behalf of my fellow Commissioners, I’d like to welcome you to the first Hearing of our 2014 Reporting cycle.

As some of you know, in November we reported to Congress on our 2013 findings and in this very room we met with members of the House Armed Services Committee outlining all our recommendations. In particular we discussed our top recommendation which was for the United States to continue to “rebalance” the Navy toward Asia; to deploy 60 ships in the Asia Pacific, and to rebalance US homeports so that 60 percent of our ships would be in the region by 2020.

Today we continue our focus on Asia-Pacific security issues with an impressive group of experts. We will begin by looking closely at the current and future capabilities of the PLA; on the first Panel we’ll hear from leaders in the U.S. naval and air force intelligence community. Then with our second panel we’ll examine how China has financed its military modernization over thirty-plus years. Our witnesses will brief us on the current structure of China’s defense industry as well.

This afternoon, having grounded ourselves in China’s military capacity and its investment in defense, we’ll address the all-important and critical question which is – What should the U.S. do given this picture? How should Congress, our diplomats and our military leaders proceed?

The Commission’s responsibility is to brief Congress, but I believe we also must inform our citizenry on this national and international security issue. So thank you all for coming.

Before I turn the microphone over to my colleague, Senator Talent, the Commission would like to thank the House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon and the entire staff of the House Armed Services Committee for helping to provide today’s hearing venue.


Thank you, Commissioner Tobin, and welcome to our panelists and guests.

China’s military modernization presents significant challenges to U.S. security interests in Asia. First and foremost, major elements of this program — such as the DF–21D antiship ballistic missile and increasing numbers of advanced submarines armed with antiship cruise missiles — are designed to restrict U.S. freedom of action throughout the Western Pacific.

The PLA is rapidly expanding and diversifying its ability to strike U.S. bases, ships, and aircraft throughout the Asia Pacific region, including those that it previously could not reach, such as U.S. military facilities on Guam. The PLA’s steadily advancing regional power projection capabilities enhance Beijing’s ability to use force against Taiwan, Japan, and rival claimants in the South China Sea. This could embolden China to respond militarily to a perceived provocation or to consider preemptive attacks in a crisis involving Taiwan or China’s maritime sovereignty claims. Many of these scenarios could require the U.S. military to protect U.S. regional allies and partners as well as to maintain open and secure access to the air and maritime commons in the Western Pacific.

Panel I:  China's Current and Future Military Capabilities
Mr. Jesse Karotkin, Senior Intelligence Officer for China, Office of Naval Intelligence
Mr. Donald L. Fuell, Technical Director for Force Modernization and Employment, National Air and Space Intelligence Center

Panel II: Inputs to China's Military Modernization
Dr. Andrew Erickson, Associate Professor, and founding member, China Maritime Studies Institute, U.S. Naval War College
Dr. James Lewis, Senior Fellow and Director of the Strategic Technologies Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies

Panel III: Strategic Impact of China’s Military Modernization and U.S. Options
Mr. Mark Stokes, Executive Director, Project 2049 Institute
Dr. Roger Cliff, Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council
The Honorable David Gompert, Senior Fellow, RAND Corporation
Mr. Thomas Donnelly, Resident Fellow and Co-Director of the Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies, American Enterprise Institute



PDF icon USCC 2014 Jan.pdf1.55 MB