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In response to concerns about China’s comprehensive military modernization, the Council on Foreign Relations formed an Independent Task Force to assess the current level of Chinese military power and its potential future growth. The Task Force found that China is pursuing a deliberate course of military modernization, but is at least two decades behind the United States in terms of military technology and capability. Moreover, if the United States continues to dedicate significant resources to improving its military forces, as expected, the balance between the United States and China, both globally and in Asia, is likely to remain decisively in America’s favor beyond the next twenty years.
This timely and important report provides policymakers and the public with a pragmatic and nonpartisan approach to measuring the development of Chinese military power. It recommends specific milestones to gauge the pace of Chinese military modernization as China acquires limited power-projection capability and outlines key indicators that would signal major shifts away from these current priorities.
Chaired by Dr. Harold Brown, former secretary of defense, and Admiral (Ret.) Joseph W. Prueher, former U.S. ambassador to China and former commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Command, the Task Force consisted of individuals with extensive China and U.S. foreign policy experience, including former U.S. government officials, business leaders, policy analysts, and scholars.
Harold Brown is a Partner at Warburg Pincus and Counselor at the Center for Startegic and International Studies. He served as Secretary of Defense during the Carter administration and was the first Secretary of Defense to visit the People’s Republic of China (in 1980).
Joseph W. Prueher is a Consulting Professor and Senior Advisor on the Stanford-Harvard Preventive Defense Program. He previously served as U.S. Ambassador to China; is a retired Navy admiral; and was formerly Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Command.Adam Segal is the Maurice R. Greenberg Senior Fellow in Chinese Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.
|Task force report||20|
|Current Chinese military capabilities||24|
|PLA modernization in political context||29|
|PLA reforms and development aspirations||37|
|Task force members||87|
|Task force observers||93|
|List of acronyms||94|