Chinese Views of Future Warfare
This year is the 100th anniversary of the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895). It is of great significance for the China Military Science Association and Military Academic Research Committee of the Chinese Navy to organize this academic seminar jointly to mark the commemoration day.
The Sino-Japanese War, which broke out in 1894 and was a great event in Chinese modern history, was an aggressive war launched by Japanese imperialists. It ended with the complete collapse of the Chinese northern naval force and total defeat on land in the eastern part of Liaoning Province; several hundred thousand Qing servicemen were knocked down at one blow. After being defeated, the government of the Qing Dynasty was forced to sign the "Sino-Japanese Treaty of Shimonoseki" and cede territory and pay indemnities which humiliated the nation and forfeited its sovereignty. After the war, several imperialist powers started a new surge in the carving up of Chinese territory, speeding up the process of Chinese semicolonization. China faced an unprecedented crisis.
However, this war greatly stirred the Chinese nation. Since the beginning of modern times, China, a great nation in the East, had been not only repeatedly defeated by Western powers but also by Japan, its eastern neighbor, which rose rapidly after the Meiji Restoration.
General Liu Huaqing is Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission. This paper is from China Military Science (Winter 1994).
Now, Chinese citizens with high ideas were aroused by this harsh reality and developed an entirely new view of the world. Rising with force and spirit to save the nation from subjugation and ensure its survival, they went in search of plans to save the nation and its people from impending danger. This resulted in the Reform Movement of 1898 and the Chinese bourgeois democratic revolution of 1911. Under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, the Chinese people fought wars bravely, one after another, for several decades, finally winning victory in the new democratic revolution and ending the humiliating history of being helplessly trampled by others for more than a century since the Opium War. The Chinese people attained national independence, unification of China and people's democracy, thus initiating a new epoch of socialism in China.
The Chinese nation is a great one, striving unceasingly with unflinching courage. Instead of sinking into degradation after being enslaved by the big powers, China made great historical advances out of tremendous historical disasters. Our great motherland again stands like a giant in the Eastern world. Today, the situation in the world and China have changed tremendously and stand at the threshold of a new century. The world structure is speeding up its development toward a multipolar world. Peace and economic development are the two major goals for which people throughout the world strive. The Chinese people are advancing along the socialist road, with Chinese characteristics pointed out by Comrade Deng Xiaoping, and have achieved much. They stride forward toward the next century full of confidence. We are now commemorating the Sino-Japanese War so we never forget our national humiliation and can be enlightened by this historical lesson. The war affords us a useful reference in carrying forward the socialist modernization of our country. Chairman Jiang Zemin repeatedly proposed that everyone should have some knowledge of Chinese modern history, to understand the past deeply, grasp the present correctly, and advance toward the future even better through the study of our history.
An important reminder of the Sino-Japanese War is that we must modernize our national defense. A strong national defense is the fundamental guarantee of the sovereignty and security of a country. The final result of the Sino-Japanese War had a major influence on the course of Chinese history it emphasized that security is the precondition of the development of a country. The government of the Qing Dynasty was defeated because China at that time was economically backward and militarily and politically corrupt and degenerate. Backwardness meant China took a beating. Before the war, the Qing Dynasty was complacent and conservative about its military strength and turned a blind eye to the danger of the Sino-Japanese War, and even went so far as to build up the Summer Palace with the military funds for the Navy. Lessons learned from the past will be the guide for the future. Now, the world is in a period of relative peace, yet quite unstable. Hegemonism and power politics still exist, and the major states of the world are building up their national defense despite the end of the Cold War. They are all revising their military strategy and continuously renewing their weapons. Great changes have taken place in warfare, because of rapid developments in science and technology. We should notice that the level of weapons modernization in our army still has far to go. So, we must pay close attention to building a high-quality army and modernizing our self-defense capacity in response to world military situations.
Along with building a modern national defense, the Chinese people should demonstrate patriotism. During the Sino-Japanese War, which was a large-scale war against aggression in Chinese modern history, the great patriotism of the Chinese people was prominently displayed. The patriotic officers and men, with Deng Shichang, captain of the Zhi Yuan warship, fought dauntlessly, facing death with no regrets and daring to perish heroically at the hands of the Japanese invaders. This lofty national integrity and heroic spirit of defying brutal suppression are good examples for us to follow and worth our eternal admiration. Patriotism is a great banner and a mighty strength of spirit. In today's China of hastened reform, open-door policy, and socialist modernization, we should continuously promote the spirit of patriotism, carry on the education of patriotism, and instill a sense of national defense among the Chinese people, thus further enhancing the cohesion of our nation. Further more, the Chinese Liberation Army must think of danger in time of peace, adhering to the concept of all-time preparedness and constantly maintaining a high vigilance in order to fulfil our army's sacred duty. We must safeguard the sovereignty of our territorial land, air, and sea, our maritime rights and interests, and the unity of our motherland, and do our utmost to provide a firm and powerful guarantee of safety for our socialist modernization. Devoting ourselves to the building of our army and the cause of national defense should become a lofty aspiration for every one of our servicemen.
In a review of Chinese history it becomes clear that it is quite necessary to concentrate our efforts on the issue of how to enhance the construction of our country's coastal defense. History tells us that whether one has maritime sense and can pay attention to the building of our coast defense is supremely important to the rise or decline and the honor or disgrace of a nation.
Since the beginning of the 1970s, the strategic importance of the oceans has increased day by day. Exploitation of the ocean has turned into an important condition for coastal countries in developing their economy and overall strength of national power. It is certain that the ocean will be more and more significant to the long-term development of a country. We must understand the ocean from a strategic level and its importance to the whole nation. We should safeguard our maritime rights and interests and security at sea and build a powerful coastal defense. Comrades in our army must have an even deeper understanding of the importance of enhancing our coastal defense.
In modern times, Chinese people suffered from imperialist invasions. Since the founding of the People's Republic, China has consistently pursued a peaceful foreign policy and opposed hegemonism in any form. China will never seek hegemony and never invade other countries and is an important force in safeguarding world peace. The only purpose for which we augment our navy's strength is to uphold and defend the sovereignty of our territory. Through the efforts of several generations, our navy has greatly improved its military equipment, personnel, and training, but it still does not meet the needs of the present situation. It should be foreseen that potential local war at sea in the future will possibly be a high-tech confrontation. We must keep these lessons of history in mind and arouse our vigilance with a strong sense of duty.
As early as the beginning of the 1950s, Chairman Mao pointed out that China should build a powerful navy. Comrade Deng Xiaoping demanded in the 1970s that our navy forces "must serve our national goals." On this occasion of 100th anniversary of the Sino-Japanese War, we should build our people's navy even better and make a greater contribution to modernizing our national defense.
Deng Xiaoping attaches great importance to the logistics modernization of our armed forces, considering the question of logistics construction in the context of the overall strategic situation. He has made many important statements on logistics in accordance with the new requirements of modern warfare and the new situation that our logistics construction faces in the new era. He has emphasized the importance of the modern logistics to the modern army and modern war. He asks us be subordinate to the overall situation of national economic construction, making full use of the limited defense budget. We should race against time and prepare for anti-aggression war. We should pay special attention to the study of the new situation and the new problems facing our logistics. We should improve the standard of management in our logistics, and learn to do more work with less spending. Things should be straightened out in our logistics, and the good tradition of hard and honest work should be carried on. His instructions have become important parts of the theories on defense building in the new era, and have given guidance to the revolutionizing modernization, and regularization of our logistics.
General Fu Quanyou is Director of the General Staff Department and former Director of the General Logistics Department, People's Liberation Army. This essay was translated from China Military Science (Spring 1994).
Faced with this new situation, we should not only make sure that the army is well prepared for military struggle, but also make sure that the army maintains a good standard of living, that army cohesiveness is strengthened, and that combat effectiveness is improved. Our logistics department staff should clearly understand the responsibilities they bear and be firmly committed to servicing the army. Catering to the needs of the grass-roots units and servicing the army wholeheartedly should be the point of departure for our logistics. We should strive to ensure good service and efficient supply; our motto should be "we serve." We should make sure that our logistics serve the army, our department offices serve the grass-roots units, and higher levels of authority serve the lower levels. Warehouses, hospitals, recreation centers, supply stations, and army service stations are windows on the spirit of logistics. We should improve the quality of our service through promoting good service activities, and create good images. Good service for the armed forces in the remote and hardship areas should be our priority. The investment of expenditures and materials should favor the grass-roots units and the remote and hardship areas. We should continuously improve the level of logistics service to facilitate overall army modernization.
Military modernization being subordinated to the overall situation of economic construction is a scientific policy that will ensure a prosperous country and a strong army. Military power in the final analysis is based on economic power. The scale, speed, and quality of army building are all conditioned by the country's economy. On a weak economic foundation, military maintenance is constrained by economic conditions; thus it is difficult to develop and strengthen the military. Only when the economy is developed and the economic power strengthened will it be possible to build a strong and solid national defense. Deng Xiaoping has therefore emphasized, "The four modernizations can be summed up as economic construction. There would not be the modernization of national defense without the necessary economic foundation. . . . The modernization of national defense can only be based on the development of the whole sector of industry as well as agriculture." Therefore, we must exercise restraint and adhere to the central task of economic construction.
We should strive to develop our national economy, because without the development of our national economy there will be no military modernization. Stressing military reconstruction but ignoring the national economic construction will certainly affect the speed of economic development and fundamentally constrain the speed of military modernization. To gain the initiative in the next century, many countries in the world now choose the road of giving priority to the development of the economy, science, and technology. Deng Xiaoping's idea that military modernization be subordinated to the overall goal of national economic construction is suitable for the conditions of our country and of our military and is absolutely correct.
An important principle of logistics in the new period is to serve and be subordinated to the overall situation of national economic construction. We should attach importance to the overall situation, starting out from the overall interests of the nation and the military. We should give up individual or local interests for the sake of the whole, and immediate interests for the sake of long-term interests. We should firmly establish the concept of the overall situation, and overcome and prevent selfish departmentalism and decentralism. We should conscientiously put the interests of our unit or department under the interests of our nation and the military. Just as military modernization is subordinated to the overall situation of economic construction, logistics construction should be subordinated to overall military modernization.
The fact that we show consideration for the overall situation does not mean that we are passively exercising restraint, attempting nothing and accomplishing nothing. We should be eager to make progress in the context of "subordination and restraint." We should liberate our minds, renew ideas, and use our brains to find our way toward reform. New ideas and new ways should be tried in our efforts to strive for the continuous development of logistics modernization.
In the field of logistics, doing an excellent job for combat readiness is an important aspect of being prepared for an anti-aggression war. Modern wars, especially high-tech local wars, have raised new and higher requirements for combat readiness in the field of logistics. We should carefully study and seek new ways to deal with the question of combat readiness in the field of logistics. We should closely follow military strategic policy in this new era, to ensure that the entire armed forces are well prepared for military struggle, and at the same time greatly improve the combat readiness of the logistics itself. We should pay close attention to the building of emergency support forces for logistics, and make serious adjustments in the structure of combat material stockpiling. The portion of high-technology materials should be increased. Materials stockpiling should be combined with that of production capability, and stockpiling by the military should be combined with that of civilians. The logistics mobilization structure should be improved and we should study and formulate rules and regulations concerning mobilization during wartime. The building of a logistics reserve force should be strengthened, and preparation work for logistics mobilization should be carried out. In light of the characteristics of a high-tech war, we should stress the study of theories, principles, and methods of wartime supply.
Equipment for logistics is an important component part of military equipment and an important factor in fighting capability. Acceleration of the modernization of logistics is a key way to improve the capabilities of logistics supply. In future wars, without an advanced logistics supply, costs will increase and the time it takes to win a war will be prolonged. We should have a sense of urgency about updating our logistics. There should be a unified plan for overall logistics and for combat equipment, as well as a coordinated development between the two. Priority goals should be set with an obvious focal point. Currently, we should first of all increase the mobility of logistics supply and improve the capability of emergency supply. Human beings are the decisive factor in war, including the area of logistics supply. It would be impossible to improve wartime capability of logistics supply without high-quality personnel suited to high-technology war. Therefore, the training and education in the field of logistics should be strengthened and be seen as a basic project in the improvement of logistics supply capability. In order to strengthen training and education in the field of logistics, training and education reforms should be implemented. We are in a time of rapid development in science and technology. High-technology arms have come into the combat field, with many features of modern warfare. Training in and education of logistics should incorporate the realities of modern war, quickly changing from coping with general warfare to dealing with the problems of logistics supply on a high-technology battlefield. We should pay attention to the needs of supply under high- technology conditions. The intensity and degree of difficulty of training should be raised, and the contents and methods be reformed. We should try to find different ways to train various logistics forces. Training on new equipment, with new technology, to gain new knowledge, should be increased. Training in the areas of mobility, supply, rescue operation, repair work, and protection under different conditions should be stressed. Real combat situation training should be increased. Methods of training in the field for night warfare and for expedient materiel supply should be studied. Training and real combat situations should be closely related. Modern science and technology are the most important factors of logistics capability. Research in logistics will generate great cost effectiveness not only for the military but for the economy as well. Therefore, strengthening research in logistics will be of great significance to logistics modernization and improvement of logistics supply capability. In order to do this, our leaders at various levels should strengthen their awareness of science and technology. The idea of building a strong army by relying on science and technology and improving logistics through science and technology should be genuinely fostered. Scientific research work should be put on the agenda, and an atmosphere should be created so that the entire logistics forces attach importance to science and technology. Scientific research should focus on logistics modernization and on logistics supply under high- technology conditions. President Jiang Zemin stated, "In the field of defense science and technology, we should focus on researching and developing some key technologies," and we should concentrate our manpower, material, and budget on a number of high- technology items that influence overall logistics work. We should give full play to our scientific research department's skills and knowledge and tap their potential. On the basis of high-quality research and achievements, we should promote popularizing and utilizing the results of scientific research by organizing the transfer of research results, offering technical service and consultation, and signing technical contracts. Our logistics department has a lot of intellectuals and technical professionals and is a department with a high concentration of skills and knowledge. We should uphold Deng Xiaoping's policy of "respect knowledge, respect talents," and create an environment in which people's talents will emerge and be fully utilized. We should give full play to our scientific research workers' talents and creativity.
As the country has set up its socialist market economy system, the environment of military logistics reconstruction has seen great changes. For a long time, logistics reconstruction was been carried out under the planned economy system. The various aspects of the logistics construction are all suited to the planned economy system. As the economic system changes, logistics construction faces new situations. We should keep in mind Deng Xiaoping's instruction: "Pay attention to the study of the new situations and new problems of logistics work under new historical conditions." We should raise our reform consciousness, follow the development of the situation, and make sure that the guiding ideology, our goals, supply system and logistics methods in this new era are in step with the establishment of the socialist market economy system. Logistics reconstruction should be pushed to a new phase.
In the defense industry we should adhere to the method of "linking peacetime and wartime production, and having compatible utility for both the military and civilians." In the last few years, we have made some progress and had some pleasing results. The defense industry has been connected with the civilian industry. After ensuring that the military has all of its needed supplies, the defense industry has entered the market place, and reform has been carried out in all production areas. We have organized the transfer of defense industry technology to commercial use. The portion of commercial products made by the defense industry has increased year by year, thus creating wealth for the country and greatly invigorating the industry itself. Furthermore, logistics department units have made improvements in the long-time problem of single-product and low-efficiency manufacturing, by tapping potential markets and expanding plant functions. On the basis of accomplishing various logistics tasks, they have provided services to society, which both facilitated their own development and also brought about greater economic and social cost effectiveness. Social forces to improve logistics supply have also greatly promoted military logistics reconstruction. We have trained a great many people, providing them with skills suitable for defense and commercial sectors, thus providing a source of talents for both military reconstruction and civilian economic development. Practice has shown that, under the conditions of a socialist market economy, it is correct and practical that the logistics industry adhere to the principle of linking peacetime and wartime production that has both defense and commercial applications.
According to the principle of linking unified supply with separate supply, it will be a long-term task to carry out adjustmenta and reform in the logistics supply system. Currently, the materials and services that various military forces use should be procured accoding to the principle of proximity and convenience, and we shall further improve the supply system by allocating supplies, medical services, and repair work according to region. This will meet the needs of the army to strengthen combined forces and raise efficiency and will also be in accord with the market economy trend of to strengthening cross sectorial ties and raising efficiency. The essential criterion is to improve the capability of logistics supply and to improve the combat effectiveness of the armed forces. We should deepen the reform of the logistics supply system and gradually establish a centralized, unified, flexible and highly efficient logistics supply system suited both to the military strategic policy of the new period as well as to the development of the socialist market economy.
We should actively carry out reform in a way that will allow us to raise money, stockpile and provide supplies. At present, the logistics department should work with the main channels of government. We should take the initiative in reporting to the relevant government departments our military supply needs and gaining support of the country. We should work through legislation to ensure there is a large stockpile of necessary military materials for the armed forces. In addition, we should study new channels, methods, and measures for increasing military materials and stockpiles, by actively exploring the market. With regard to stockpiling military materials, Deng Xiaoping pointed out that the army "should not store too much, otherwise there will be waste. . . . What is the use of storing too much. We should not store too much because the service life of materials is limited, and things become useless after storing them for too long."
In the future, apart from storing combat-use materials according to regulations, materials and equipment that have both defense and commercial applications should be ordered by contract according to market conditions. We should use specially designated civilian enterprises to supply the set amount of materials at agreed upon times, and let society shoulder more responsibility. We should have various and useful ties with the large and medium-size commercial enterprises and establish stable channels of supply. Army supply stations should be connected, exchange and redistribution of supplies should be strengthened, and unified supply should be organized. When logistics has really adapted to the new track of the market economy, when it can better use the market mechanisms and work according to market prices, we will be able to closely follow the steps of the national economic reform, and the reform of logistics will continuously progress.
The shortage of defense funds has always been a bottleneck constraining the modernization of our military, and the tension between supply and demand is not likely to ease. Under the conditions of scarce funds and big demands of reforms, we should strengthen logistics management and use the limited amount of funds efficiently. We shall use less money, accomplish more, and do a better job, for this is the only option for us in the strengthening of our army's logistics construction in the new era.
To strengthen logistics management, we should above all manage according to rules and regulations. Deng Xiaoping pointed out, "In the past, we did not have much property. But we have more things now. It is a new problem for us to manage the logistics work well. We need to have a whole series of rules and regulations that are suited to the new situation and can solve the problems. We should fight against those who have no regard for the financial rules and regulations, and oppose extravagance and waste." Rules and regulations governing logistics work should be perfected and be strictly followedin order to regulate the various activities of logistics work. We should prevent willful use of funds, materials, and equipment, and conduct technical operations. Logistics work should gradually become systematized, standardized, and regularized. All those actions that violate financial regulations should be seriously dealt with, and the maintenance of a system of standards and financial disciplines should be taken seriously.
Financial administration is the key to strengthening of logistics management. Military logistics is, in a certain sense, financial administration. On the premise that the defense budget cannot increase much, the rate of defense modernization is, to a large degree, determined by the management of logistics and especially the management of the defense budget. Deng Xiaoping said, "Those who do the logistics work should learn how to manage things well, and should learn to use less money and do more chores. . . .The defense budget as a portion of the government budget can not be increased now, and it is the job of the army to use the money effectively. It takes a lot of knowledge to know how best to spend money, and we need to study carefully . . . strict budgeting. The policy should be correct, and the method right." We should examine the annual budget and its implementation, to make sure the money is correctly spent and the amount is appropriate. Because the defense budget is tight, we should concentrate our financial resources and focus on key projects. Taking into consideration the need to continually improve the living standard of the troops, the military expenditure should be tilted toward equipment, key forces, and key direction. That is to say, to ensure stability of the armed forces, we must modernize the armed forces. At the same time, we should closely follow and assess the results of the actual spending after the funds have been distributed. Auditing and supervision by the broad masses should be perfected, in order to meet the requirement put forward by Deng Xiaoping that "the money should be put to better, rational use, and should be used genuinely to improve combat effectiveness."
The foundation of logistics management lies at the grass- roots level, and when the performance of logistics management at the grass-roots unit is good, the whole logistics management system will be excellent. Therefore, leaders at different levels should attach importance to logistics management at the grass-roots level. "Regulations on Logistics Management at the Grass-roots Level," issued by the Central Military Committee, lists important regulations for grass-roots level reconstruction of the whole military. These are regulations for the standardized management of logistics at the grass-roots level.
Each level should work according to headquarters requirements and consider the implementation of the regulations to be part of its day-to-day management. Emphasis should be laid on improving the quality of the managers and raising the standard of management. The self-managing capability at the grass-roots level should also be strengthened. We should rely on the masses to do a good job in logistics management at the grass-roots level in order to ensure that everyone cares about management, everyone takes part in it, and everyone encourages its development.
Logistics management is a scientific matter, and the strength of the members of the logistics department determines the results of the management. Deng Xiaoping has repeatedly emphasized the importance of training logistics personnel. We must use various ways and means to strengthen the training of logistics personnel to increase the number of good managers. Better software for logistics management is the essential solution to the improvement of the logistics management.
Logistics personnel, especially the leaders, should set good examples, and not take advantage of being in a favored position. They should be honest in performing official duties and be good managers.
According to the plan of the Party and Central Military Commission, we should further carry out our anticorruption policy and advocate honesty. Army logistics is in charge of money and materials and is vulnerable to the corrupting influences of pleasure seeking, money worshiping, and extreme individualism that exist in a developing socialist market economy. To carry on the excellent tradition of hard work and thrift in the new era, anticorruption and pro-honesty activities should be seriously carried out and not conducted perfunctorily or superficially.
We should reform our production and management, and maintain the distinctive character of the people's army. The army is basically dependent on public revenue, but it is necessary to undertake some production in order to make up for the deficiency of public funds. But the army should not attempt to completely support itself. It would be extremely dangerous to put all its energy into business and making money. All combat units below the level of corps must not engage in business activities, but instead engage in agricultural and side-line production. Production and business activities should be grouped together and be under the unified management of a larger unit. The financial affairs of production and business activities should be strictly managed and earnings from production should be distributed in a unified way. It should be stressed that illegal acts will not be tolerated in production and business activities. This is an important policy for the military in the new era, and should be resolutely, earnestly, and fully implemented. We should fully understand the significance of rectification and reform in our production and management. Through rectification and reform, we can carry on the fine tradition of hard work and thrift, strengthen the development of honest administration and Communist Party style in the army, and better perform the essential duties and functions of our army.
China's Second Artillery Corps, a strategic missile troop of the People's Liberation Army, mainly has the task of strategic nuclear counterattack. The research as well as the development of strategic nuclear weaponry are the foundation for constructing and developing the Second Artillery Corps.
China's strategic nuclear weapons were developed because of the belief that hegemonic power will continue to use nuclear threats and nuclear blackmail. From the day of establishment, the People's Republic of China faced a major economic and technology blockade from hostile powers. Further, it also faced serious nuclear threats from hegemonism. To oppose nuclear war, smash nuclear blackmail, safeguard national security and sovereignty, and keep peace throughout the world, China needed a powerful national defense and its own strategic nuclear weapons. At that time, the Central Committee of the Party, Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai made a wise decision to make China's strategic nuclear weapons independently. This decisive and timely step paved the way for developing our strategic nuclear weapons.
Major General Yang Huan was Deputy Commander, Second Artillery (Strategic Rocket Forces), PLA. His paper is excerpted from Defense Industry of China, 1949-1989 (Beijing: National Defense Industry Press, 1989).
As early as 1956, Mao Zedong pointed out, "We also need the atom bomb. If our nation does not want to be intimidated, we have to have this thing." In June 1958, he stated, "To make atom bombs, hydrogen bombs, and intercontinental missiles, from my point of view, is perfectly possible in ten years." Later on, he further instructed us that development of strategic nuclear weapons should "have some achievement, and be fewer but better." What Mao Zedong said gave us a clear guidance on our effort to research and manufacture our strategic nuclear weapons. It is not hard to imagine how difficult it was during those days in China to develop advanced weapons with a weak economy and a backward scientific and technological community. But under the leadership of the Central Committee of the Party and its specialized committee, all Chinese people gave strenuous support to the cadres, the experts, the technicians, and the PLA officers and men who shouldered the responsibility of developing our advanced weapons. These people exerted themselves to carry out a determined struggle for the final victory. They lived plainly, they worked hard, they devoted themselves selflessly to the projects, they relied on their own efforts in research and manufacturing, and after an extremely hard struggle they surmounted the difficulties at last.
On October 16, 1964, our first atom bomb exploded successfully; on October 27, 1966, we succeeded on our nuclear missile trial test; on June 17, 1967, our first hydrogen bomb was exploded. These tests allowed made us step into a new period, that of mastering the development of nuclear missile weapons. China's achievements within such a short period of time evoked a strong response all over the world. The Chinese Government has declared again and again, "China is compelled to conduct nuclear tests and develop nuclear weapons in order to break the nuclear monopoly; China's nuclear weapons will be used definitely for self-defense; the Chinese Government has always advocated an all-round prohibition and a complete destruction of nuclear weapons in the world." This is the fundamental stand China maintains on possessing nuclear weapons.
In 1958 we built up the special Artillery Corps, then on July 1, 1966, the Second Artillery Corps was officially established with approval of the Central Military Committee. In the last 20 years, the Corps has gradually been developed and strengthened and equipped with different kinds of nuclear missile weapons it made by itself. The Second Artillery Corps trained in the use of weapons, coordinated training, battle simulation and tactical exercises, and successfully launched different types of missiles and improved both its ability to master strategic weaponry and fighting capability. At the same time, it strengthened its research work on the formation of weapons systems, weapons use in battle, and development of such systems, and improved weapon quality. It has also done a great amount of work on command systems, battlefield construction, weapons testing, and maintenance and repair. The Second Artillery Corps has become a well-trained strategic missile corps with a certain level ofnuclear counterattack capability.
For over 30 years, we developed our strategic nuclear weapons from short-range to medium-range to long-range and intercontinental missiles, and provided our army with a number and variety of missiles and nuclear weapons. Our armed forces are now capable of striking back with nuclear weapons, which greatly strengthens our national defense and our international status. Additionally, it helps to weaken the nuclear monopoly of the superpowers, contain nuclear war, and safeguard world peace.
Since the 1980s, the international situation has relaxed somewhat, but the role of military force in national security policy has not decreased. The number of strategic weapons owned by the big nuclear powers has already surpassed the saturation level, and weapon technology has reached a very high level, constituting a serious threat to world peace and security. At the same time, the problem of nuclear proliferation and especially the concern of nuclear weapons falling into the wrong hands have become more and more serious, and there is no end to the regional arms race. We should have a clear mind and maintain vigilance when facing such a situation, and should also follow the development of the high technology in the world, maintaining our strategic nuclear weapons in accordancewith the actual conditions of our country.
The research and development of our first generation of strategic nuclear weapons were a great success, but we must understand that there is still a great distance between the world's advanced level of technology and our own. Our historical experience has shown that for the sake of our national security interests, and for world peace and stability, we must develop strategic nuclear weapons and keep pace with the advanced world level. Ours is a developing country that is engaged in economic construction. Our Party Central Committee and the Central Military Committee have, according to scientific analysis of the international situation and in consideration of the actual conditions of our country, made decisions to change the strategic thinking that guides our military development. Under the current situation, the development of our strategic nuclear weapons should focus on long-term goals. We should develop advanced weapons that suit our national defense strategy, and at the same time we should improve current weapons to raise the quality and the comprehensive fighting capability. Science and technology should be our guideposts, and we should aim for advanced levels of 21st century technology, strengthening the study of single-item high technology weapons. We should work hard on the survival, fast reaction, accuracy, and break-through and high-command technologies for weapons systems. These should be the direction for the development of our strategic nuclear weapons. We should conduct research in the following aspects:
The development of weaponry has undergone a long historical process. Nuclear weapons came into being in the middle of this century, creating a place for themselves in the history of weapons development and on the war arena. Along with the rapid development of modern science and new technology, high-tech weaponry has played an enormous role in some of the recent local wars and demonstrated a broad range of development. We are now entering an era in which high-tech weaponry is used in combat operations. In such an era, are nuclear weapons still useful? Will nuclear warfare break out? Is nuclear deterrence still effective? These are issues for debate about future high-tech warfare that cannot be avoided. This article expresses my humble opinions about them.
The dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 by U.S. troops proclaimed the advent of a nuclear era. With their unprecedented tremendous power, it shocked people's hearts, became a significant bargaining chip of military strength, and cast a nuclear shadow over warfare. Between the 1960s and 1970s, the role of nuclear weapons was inappropriately exaggerated. The prolonged situation of the Cold War and particularly the emergence of high-tech weapons and high-tech warfare have made people understand more clearly the limitations of nuclear weapons. However, we must note that the existence of a large number of nuclear weapons and the continuous development of nuclear technology are facts that brook no argument. We cannot simplistically think that the emergence of high-tech weaponry has replaced the position and role of nuclear weapons, neither can we believe that because of their extremely gigantic destructive power, nuclear weapons have totally negated their own prospects for use.
Major General Wu Jianguo is a former Associate Professor and Dean of the Antichemical Warfare Academy. This paper was published in China Military Science, no. 4 (Winter 1995).
For several decades after World War II, various military powers vied with one another in the research and development of nuclear weapons. At present, countries possessing nuclear weapons include the United States, Russia, Britain, France, and China, and the total number of nuclear warheads currently throughout the world exceeds 20,000. Of this total, 95 percent are in the hands of the United States and Russia, who have the power to destroy the world many times. A series of treaties and agreements on nuclear disarmament has been concluded in recent years. However, even after they have been completely implemented, in the year 2003, the United States will still possess 3,500 strategic nuclear warheads, with a total equivalent weight of approximately 900 million tons, and 999 carrier vehicles; Russia will still possess 3,000 strategic nuclear warheads, with a total equivalent weight of more than 700 million tons, and 975 carrier vehicles. If we compare the above two sets of figures with the amount of bombs dropped by the U.S. troops during their 3-year war of aggression in Korea and the 8-year war in Vietnam, which totaled 680,000 tons and 1.5 million tons, respectively, it is not difficult to imagine that the force of the "remnant" nuclear weapons is still extremely formidable.
Since the Cold War ended, the danger of a world war has been growing smaller and smaller, but local military conflicts have never ceased. In light of the issues cropping up in various local wars, especially in the Gulf War, and to meet the requirements of the new pattern of military strife, some military powers stepped up their research and production of new-type nuclear weapons with very small TNT equivalents. Such small-sized nuclear weapons have a degree of destructive power, yet the possibility of using them will not be negated because their equivalent weights are not too big and the destruction they cause is not too disastrous.
As disclosed in the autumn 1992 issue of Strategic Review, some people proposed that three kinds of nuclear weapons with small TNT equivalents should be developed:
Today, the world is in a historical period of drastic changes, the pattern of multipolar forces is taking shape, the international situation is moving toward relaxation, and peace and development have become the theme of the present world. Therefore, we can anticipate that a new world war will not break out and nuclear warfare is avoidable. However, the world today is not trouble free, hegemony and power politics still have not withdrawn from the historical arena, the international situation is still very complicated, and the flames of war arising from local conflicts have never died out. Owing to multifarious factors, the nuclear shadow still cannot be cast away from future battlefields.
Warfare is violent action. More than 100 years ago, the capitalist strategist Clausewitz pointed out, "The use of violence knows no bounds. Therefore, a belligerent will oblige its opponent to use force as it will itself, thus producing a kind of interaction. As viewed from this conception, such interaction will inevitably lead to extreme." Warfare is the continuation of politics, and a kind of bloody politics at that. Nuclear warfare and high-tech warfare are both instruments subordinate to the purposes and requirements of wars. When countries possessing nuclear weapons and high-tech conventional weapons are involved in a war in which the conflict is intensifying, the possible use of nuclear weapons cannot be ruled out. Nuclear weapons, therefore, are still a trump card in the hands of nuclear nations.
Thomas F. Ramos, science adviser to the senior officer responsible for nuclear weapons in the U.S. Department of Defense said: "No reasonable evidence indicates that conventional weapons will be reliable shelters to cope with enemies possessing and intending to use nuclear weapons." His remarks express the consensus of some military strategists studying the Gulf War.
As estimated by some Western specialits/analysts, there are at least 12 countries which claim to have ballistic missiles and at least 25 countries that have probably developed or are developing nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. Using this estimation, some Western publications maintain that "the world has ushered in an age of nuclear proliferation." In 1974, India carried out its first nuclear blast, which kicked off the nuclear emulation in South Asia. In 1988, India successfully developed the PRITHVI medium-range ground-to-ground missile with a range of 2,000 meters, and the capability of carrying nuclear warheads. On March 24, 1993, South African President De Klerk addressed a special session of the National Assembly, saying that South Africa worked out a limited nuclear deterrent program in 1974 and had produced six atomic bombs by the end of 1989, and that all the said nuclear weapons had been dismantled and destroyed in early 1990. It was also revealed by the South African media that if the expansion of nuclear powers shown an intimidating color, South Africa will install warheads into its missiles and will probably develop and deploy neutron weapons. Israel is one of the countries that had nuclear weapons in its possession relatively earlier. Moreover, it was prepared to use them during the fourth Middle-East war.
Other data also stated that countries like Argentina and Brazil will also be able to manufacture nuclear weapons. With the rapid development of science and technology, the technology of making nuclear weapons has almost become an open secret. The disintegration of the former Soviet Union not only resulted in a brain drain of a vast number of scientists engaged in nuclear weapon development, but also threw the supervision of nuclear materials into chaos, considerably enlarging the scope of nuclear proliferation. A terrorist organization or a maniac could, some day, claim possession of an atomic bomb and use it as a tool of intimidation and blackmail, and no one would think that this was a tale from the Arabian Nights.
What merits our attention is that in a high-tech conventional war, a nuclear environment may still emerge even if nuclear weapons are not used. The more society advances, the greater the demands for energy will be. In order to satisfy the demands for energy, nuclear power stations were built. According to the data released by the International Atomic Energy Agency in March 1994, at the end of 1993 there were 430 nuclear power plants with a total installed capacity of approximately 345 million kw operating in various places throughout the world; these accounted for more than 17 percent of the world's gross power generation. It is predicted that by 2001, there will be 558 nuclear power generating units with a total installed capacity of approximately 460 million kw all worldwide, which will account for 24 percent of the world's gross power generation. The peaceful utilization of nuclear energy is a piece of joyous news to mankind.
Meanwhile, the extensive use of nuclear energy also constitutes a latent threat to peace and the existence of human beings. The accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant that occurred in April 1986 inflicted air pollution on 16 Russian oblasts and victimized 250,000 people. In Ukraine, 370,000 people suffered injuries in varying degrees as land covering 40,000 square meters was polluted, and more than 2,000 residential areas were evacuated. In future high-tech warfare, if an enemy intentionally or unintentionally attacks nuclear power plants or other facilities using nuclear energy with high-tech conventional weapons, the secondary nuclear radiation produced and the nuclear environment brought about would likewise do harm. In June 1981, Israel dispatched four aircraft to launch a sudden attack on an Iraqi nuclear reactor southeast of the capital Baghdad, dropping 16 tons of bombs in two minutes and hitting all the targets. Fortunately, the reactor was not yet operational; otherwise the attack would have resulted in very serious consequences.
The local wars that broke out after World War II were mostly carried out under the conditions of nuclear deterrence if the Western powers were involved in them. During the Korean War, U.S. Commander-in-Chief MacArthur once threatened a sudden attack of atomic bombs on China's northeast and coastal strategic targets. After Eisenhower came to power, he again ordered the Pentagon to formulate a nuclear program aimed at China. During its war of aggression in Vietnam, the United States also made nuclear threats and was prepared to resolve the issue with nuclear weapons. After the armed conflicts on Zhenbao Island between China and the Soviet Union in 1969, Brezhnev considered initiating a nuclear attack on China in an attempt to ruin China's nuclear facilities. In the Malvinas Islands War, Britain carried tactical nuclear weapons on its huge fleet and was prepared to use them if its conventional operations failed. In particular, the multinational coalition troops headed by the United States used extremely advanced high-tech weapons in the Gulf War, and although they held the trump card, they still deployed 800 to 850 tactical nuclear weapons on three sides of Iraq. What is more, U.S. troops considered using radio flash bombs but, because of political considerations, they were not approved by U.S. President Bush. In response to Saddam's repeated threats to use chemical weapons, the British Government warned again and again that its troops would retaliate by using tactical nuclear weapons should Iraq resort to using chemical weapons. Bush also hinted that he would give field commanders freedom when necessary. These countries threatened to use nuclear weapons in conventional wars because they believed that with nuclear weapons in hand, psychologically they would be able to hold a dominant position, which would enhance troop morale and frighten the enemy on the one hand, and restrict the enemy's use of some conventional means on the other, thus changing the direction of the war. These past events should not be forgotten.
At present, nuclear deterrence is still a strategic pillar of military power. U.S. President Clinton thinks that the United States must build up military muscle that suits the new age, and this military muscle must have the capacity of nuclear deterrence. Nuclear deterrent force is an effective form of security. The 1993 defense report submitted by the U.S. Defense Department to Congress proposed that an all directional global defense system of strategic nuclear deterrence to prevent limited nuclear attacks should be set up, under which the former nuclear deterrent strategy chiefly aimed at the Soviet Union should be readjusted to an all-direction and multilevel nuclear deterrent strategy aimed at both the former Soviet Union and other regions.
On September 25, 1995, President Clinton ordered the Energy Department to maintain the three major nuclear weapon laboratories to ensure that U.S. nuclear deterrent capacity remains effective. Russia set up a defense ministry in March 1992, then founded its nuclear strategic forces and made the development of strategic nuclear weapons a top priority in the future development of eight technical weapons. President Yeltsin said that a strategic nuclear force was the foundation of Russia's military strength. In November 1993, giving sanction to the new Russian military theory, he officially abandoned the Kremlin's 11-year-old commitment that in a conflict it would not be the first to use nuclear weapons. In its 1992 defense report, France claimed that it merely wanted to have the "most rudimentary" nuclear deterrent for as a way to cope with various kinds of unexpected events and check possible encroachments on its interests by potential enemies.
In the meantime, France announced that it is continuing to focus on the development of a submarine-launched strategic nuclear missile system to ensure the reliability of its nuclear deterrent strategy. At his first news conference after assuming office as president on June 13, 1995, Chirac declared that France would resume its nuclear tests in the South Pacific. The French Defense Minister maintained that President Chirac had made a "very serious decision." British Prime Minister Major said, "As far as Britain is concerned, laying down the nuclear shield in whatever manner is an indiscreet move. Britain holds on to its views that as long as the CIS countries are still in possession of nuclear weapons, Britain should retain its own. The number of British nuclear weapons will not be determined by that of other countries, but by whether or not they are sufficient to make potential enemies feel incapable of sustaining their losses."
Deterrence and actual combat are complementary and closely interrelated. Generally speaking, the military strategy of all countries has a dual character of deterrence and actual combat. Before a war breaks out, a country will, by way of military deterrence, try to make the opposite side refrain from launching an attack rashly, so as to provide a powerful backing for its own political, economic, and diplomatic activities. Once military deterrence does not work, it will strive to win a victory through actual combat, so as to remove obstacles to its political, economic, and diplomatic activities.
Militarily, the immense effect of nuclear weaponry is that it can serve as a deterrent force and, at the same time, as a means of actual combat. Some countries, even those of the Third World, also consider possession of limited nuclear strength to be a significant way to contend against the deterrence of big powers or to deter one another in order to make up for the deficiency of their conventional forces. Military history after World War II has principally centered on the two superpowers that applied nuclear deterrence to each other and contended with each other for nuclear hegemony. After one of the superpowers disintegrated, a "crowd of heroes" rose up. As a result, conflicts that were in the past covered up by the Cold War surfaced with each passing day, and the collision and coalition of various political forces intensified simultaneously. Some regional powers were not weakened by the superpowers' relaxed control over them. On the contrary, they will, perhaps, go their own way even more willfully on the issues of possessing and using nuclear weapons. Both the United States and Russia believe that future nuclear threats will primarily stem from small nuclear nations in certain regions. Hence, the world situation of nuclear deterrence will be transformed from the previous global nuclear deterrence and confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union to multiple and regional nuclear deterrence and confrontation. In future high-tech local wars, the struggle between nuclear deterrence and counter nuclear deterrence will be even more complex.
We are materialists, so when we study an issue, we must proceed from the objective reality rather than from a subjective wish and, through investigation and study of objective reality, we derive our principles, policies, and measures. The study of issues concerning warfare can be conducted in the same way. Comrade Mao Zedong said a long time ago:
Investigation and study are very important. When we see someone hold something in his hand, we should look into the matter. What is he holding in his hand? It is a knife. What is the use of a knife? It can kill a person. Whom will he kill with the knife? He will kill the people. After probing into these matters, we should further the investigation: The Chinese people also have hands, and they can hold knives too. They can forge one if they have none. . . .
We love peace. China's development and possession of a small number of nuclear weapons is entirely for self-defense. Since the very first day when China had nuclear weapons in 1964, it solemnly proclaimed that it would never be the first to use nuclear weapons at any time and under any circumstances. China also made the commitment that it would never use or threaten to use nuclear weapons toward nuclear-free countries or regions. At the same time, we clearly understand that only by relying on the arduous work of the people all over the world can the objective of genuinely eliminating nuclear wars and genuinely obtaining world peace be realized: "It is a universal truth since ancient times that proficiency in warfare is not tantamount to bellicosity." The stronger our national defense muscle and the more sufficient our preparations for high-tech warfare under the condition of nuclear deterrence, the smaller the possibility of the outbreak of nuclear war.
We wish that the day will come when the nuclear shadow will disappear from the blue sky and the people the world over will live under the sunshine of genuine peace. To hail the early arrival of this day, we should work with greater stamina and diligence.
Major General Chen Benchan
T he manufacture of tanks and armored vehicles, which started from zero in China, initially began with imitations but now has been replaced with our own designs and manufacturing. As early as the end of 1945, the PLA set up its first tank corps using tanks captured from its enemies during battles. By 1949, when the People's Republic of China was founded, the PLA already had two armored divisions and two armored regiments, and equipped these corps with 410 American or Japanese tanks and 367 armored vehicles, all captured equipment. On the basis of this we started constructing and developing our own armored weaponry.
On September 1, 1950, our Armored Corps was officially established. To meet the needs of the tanks corps we bought over 400 tanks and mobile guns from the Soviet Union. Immediately after that, the tank corps made use of the equipment during the war to Resist U.S. Aggression and Aid Korea, and forcefully backed the infantry's operations. In 1956, we began to set up the tank industry. Until 1959, we copied designs to make medium-sized tanks (model 59) for our troops. Then, starting from the latter half of 1958, a magnificent stage in the history of the developing of our tanks began, a time when we designed and made our own tanks. After a hard struggle of 4 to 5 years, as we manufactured model 62 light tanks, we finalized the designs of model 63 amphibious tanks and model 63 armored vehicles. Then four major series were gradually formed according to the requirements of our operations and capacities that would adjust to specific terrains and climates. They were medium-size, light, amphibious, and armored carrier tanks. Step by step, they became the mainstay of our armored weaponry.
Major General Chen Benchan was Director, Armor Department of the General Staff, PLA. His essay originally appeared in Defense Industry of China 1949-1989 (Beijing: National Defense Industry Press, 1989).
During the Cultural Revolution, the research and production of tanks were seriously damaged. Though the scientists, technicians, officers and men in our defense industry worked hard to achieve some progress, and the design of the medium-sized model 69 tank was finalized along with a number of accessory automobiles during this time, on the whole, the level of technology and the quality of the equipment was not much improved, and the distance between the most advanced technology and ours grew.
Since the Third Plenary Session of the 11th Party Committee, the policy of reform and opening to the outside world has brought opportunities for the rapid development of science and technology in our national defense. In the wake of a strategic transformation in the guiding concept on the construction of our army, we have strengthened the strategic research about how to develop weapons and developed an overall plan of development. The plan and the policies we put into practice in developing weapons were constructive and reliable, so the research and development of tanks and armored vehicles embarked on a steady and healthy road and achieved much progress. During this period, we did much research and finally manufactured over 10 new types of weapons, including the main battle tanks, caterpillar infantry battle vehicles, armored carriers, mobile antiaircraft guns, antitank missile launchers, armored command vehicles, tank bridge-making vehicles, tank rescue haulers, and tank transporters. Using advanced foreign technology, we actively improved our existing weapons, improving fighting capability and increasing the amount of equipment and weapons in every unit of the armed forces. Our armored weaponry has played an important role in training and preparing to prevent war, as well as in self defense.
We have achieved great progress in the development of armored weaponry after a tortuous experience. The many successes and failures have made us understand better the characteristics and rules of development:
The development of armored weaponry should proceed from reality and in accordance with the actual conditions of our country and our army. We should go our own way and not follow the footsteps of the others. The future development of tanks and armored vehicles should follow these principles:
Motorization and armoring our troops are the developing trends for the modernization of our army. Fast-reaction and quick-strike capabilities will be important factors for our armored corps in winning future anti-aggression wars. Weapons for our armored corps in the year 2000 must meet the requirements of future warfare. Our armored corps should improve the ability to strike deep, react fast, and coordinate well with the air force. The overall efficiency and adaptability should be improved, and weapons systems with appropriate combinations of different levels of quality should be formed. At present, we should give priority to the development of new types of main battle tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, automatic battle command complexes, and anti-aircraft vehicles. At the same time, we should selectively improve our current weapons and improve their reliability and fighting capability.
We are confident that under the correct leadership of the Central Committee of our Party and the Central Military Committee, and with the great efforts of all people in the defense industry and armored corps, the working capacity of our armored weaponry will be greatly improved, and the capacity of combined-operations will reach a new level. It is a difficult and heavy task, however, as long as we persist in our efforts, we will definitely achieve our aim.
General Ding Henggao
The development and reform of defense science, technology, and industry are now in a key stage. A new situation and some arduous tasks lie ahead of us. This is mainly reflected in the following:
Faced with new conditions and wanting to speed up the reform and development of defense science and technology, we must first of all fully understand its vital importance. President Jiang Zemin pays great attention to this. He asserts that the key to developing defense science and technology is to heighten its level. This is not only the requirement of the new military strategy but also that of the whole modernization drive. We can deepen our understanding of these points from the following three aspects:
-To go through the processes of research, experimentation, and production in the defense industry, we need a lot of new materials, new technologies, experiments with new methods, and efficient facilities for production. This is bound to make strict demands on basic industry and result in a series of industrial breakthroughs and improvements.
-Then, some new high technologies, such as nuclear technology, telemetry and remote sensing technology, automatic control, electronics and computer science, precision machinery, meticulous chemical, etc. were originally and successfully used in the defense industry and have gradually formed some new competitive industries through their application in the civilian sector. -Finally, the military departments and enterprises make full use of their superiority in equipment, technology, and talented personnel directly to develop new high technology products, which, to a certain degree, have filled in the gaps in the fields of science and technology and raised the overall level of the national economy.
With changes in international affairs and hot competition in the high-tech world, all countries are readjusting their national strategy and defense strategy and pursuing the development of modern technology, especially high technology, as the key measures to strengthen comprehensive national power and defense strength, and thus gain the strategic initiative. Historical experience has proven that all starting points and guiding ideology in our work should alter with changing situations. Analyzing the distinguishing features of modern technology, especially high technology, and taking into consideration our national and military conditions, we need to seize the opportunity to speed up the development of defense science and technology. We also need to correctly understand and handle some important relationships:
A problem that restricts or affects the development of the defense industry is the improper defense industrial structure. For this reason, our fundamental goal for modernizing the structure is the optimum disposition and full liberation of the military productive force. As the international situation changes and new technology steadily develops, many developed and developing countries find a flexible military industrial structure to be an important strategic measure in restructuring their national defense industry. Currently, we have made good progress in defense industry adaptation, but the situation is still short of what is expected for example, problems such as activities too large in scale, overextended battle lines, low-level production, inefficiency and so on still exist. In the future, any defense industry should follow and serve the needs of the military strategy in the new era and be suited to the building of the country's socialist market economy system. Additionally, we should pay attention to the following points in our guiding ideology:
The Fourteenth Party Congress made it clear that the goal of our economic system reforms is to build up and improve the socialist market economy system. The third plenary session of the Fourteenth Party Congress further confirmed the framework of our socialist market economy system and put forward requirements for the initial buildup of the socialist market economy system at the end of this century. How to speed up the reform of the military industry, and build a new system that meets the requirements of the market economy are important issues to study and answer.
The military industry is an component part of the whole economic system of the country. Its production, circulation, distribution, and exchange activities cannot be separated from the national economy. Therefore, it must be subordinated to the need to set up a new economic system in the country, and speed up the transition to the socialist market economy. The transition from a highly centralized, command and planned economic system to a market economic system is a great change of strategic significance for the military industry. The key to what is actually a profound revolution is the proper handling of the relationship between the plan and the market. Deng Xiaoping has emphasized on many occasions that both the plan and the market are tools of economics. President Jiang Zemin pointed out, "The scope, degree, and forms of integration of the planned and market economicscan be different at different times, in different areas and regions." According to the realities and characteristics of the military industry, we should pay attention to the following three points for the present time:
Another outstanding problem is the introduction of competition into defense industry reform. Competition is necessary to encourage creativity and to raise efficiency. In the early 1980s Deng Xiaoping said that there can be competition in weapons production. Some weapons can be produced by more than one department, and the army can choose to buy the better products. But in recent years, because of the unsmooth structure, the unclear division of government and enterprise, interference by the administration, and the weak concept of market, the competition mechanism has not been given full play in the research and production of military products. According to the experiences of the developed countries, and in light of the actual conditions in our country, we should actively introduce competition in the research and production of military products. But the scope, items, and forms of competition should be chosen according to actual situations. For example, in terms of scope, competition can be carried out in the same trade, in the defense industry system or in the whole country in certain cases. In terms of weapons systems, there can be competition in subsystem or in single unit equipment. In terms of items, we can start out in small and medium projects, and when we have more experience, we can then gradually press forward. In terms of forms, we can have competition among units and even within the same unit.
The current world is an open world. We must notice that the general trend of development in the world economy and in science and technology is increased mutual infiltration, interdependence, and integration. Any country that wants to speed up development has to carry out an open policy. Deng Xiaoping said, "Opening to the outside world is of great significance. It is impossible for any country to have development in isolation and with its door closed, neither would it be possible without the strengthening of international exchanges, and importation of advanced experiences, science and technology, and funds from the developed countries." In fact, even in the confidential and sensitive military sphere, the countries of the world are not closed to each other. Many countries not only import advanced technology and equipment from abroad, but also carry out broad cooperation in the area of military high technology, and have joint research and production of new types of weapons. There is still a gap between the level of our national defense science, technology, and weaponry and that of developed countries. To make quick advances, we need to be self-reliant, but at the same time we should open wider to the outside world. There are two key points in the opening of national defense science, technology and industry:
Scientists and technology experts are the creators of science and technology. Science and technology experts in the defense industry play a special role in the development of national defense science and technology and weaponry, and to a large degree determine the development progress of new high-technology weapons, and even the successful realization of the goals of modernization for national defense and army building. Under the overall situation of reform and opening up, and the development of a market economy, the conditions for the existence and development of national defense science and technology personnel have undergone great changes. We need to use new thinking to select and train talent. Deng Xiaoping once said, "We need to open up a way, so that talented people will grow to maturity quickly. We should not block talent. The constant emergence of talents means the success of our cause." Under the new situation, the building of the national defense corps of science and technology experts should pay special attention to the following three points:
Under the traditional planned economy system and personnel system, national defense science and technology experts were normally assigned through state planning and administrative means. As the development of the market economy and the reform of personnel system moves forward, we should, under the guidance of the state, pay attention to exploring the opportunities for recruiting and selection through labor markets and facilitate the appropriate promotion of talent, to create a balance of supply and demand. We should also gradually set up a system of training, evaluation, examination, recruiting, promotion, and awards for talented people.
National defense science, technology, and industry are very important strategically and have a unique pattern of development. Only by strengthening overall control can we take into consideration national and military strategic requirements and make timely decisions and arrangements in light of national economic, scientific, and technological realities based on collective wisdom and scientific proof. According to historical experiences and future trends of development, we should pay attention to the following if we want to raise the authoritativeness and effectiveness of the overall control system:
Firepower is the basic element of combat strength and artillery troops are the main firepower of the army. These are the chief forces for launching a ground offensive with firepower and the main forces for air defense in the combat. In peacetime, artillery troops are important components of the conventional deterrent forces for containing war. The degree of modernization of artillery troops directly affects the coordinated fighting ability of the armed forces and affects the modernization process of national defense.
The people's artillery troops were born and rapidly grew and became stronger during the revolutionary war era. Since the founding of new China, and under the direct leadership of the Party Central Committee, the State Council, the Central Military Committee, and the Headquarters, it was through nearly 40 years of hard work by various industrial departments that our artillery weapons development has made important achievements and greatly improved our fighting capability. But owing to the disturbances of the Cultural Revolution, the limits of our national financial resources, and problems with structure and in our work, our artillery weapons at present are quite backward. Compared with the advanced level of foreign artillery, we are facing serious challenges. When looking to the future, we need to sum up the experiences of 40 years of equipment development, grasp favorable opportunities, and facilitate the development of equipment in order to strengthen the power of the "god of war."
Major General Zi Wuzheng is Director, Artillery Department of the General Staff. This article is from Defense Industry of China, 1949-1989 (Beijing: National Defense Industry Press, 1989).
Since the founding of new China, artillery weapons have experienced important changes. In the early days of the People's Republic, artillery weapons were mostly guns, vehicles, and optical instruments captured in war and made in other countries. During the period of resisting the United States and assisting Korea, we bought a number of weapons from the Soviet Union. Starting in 1953, we began to manufacture Soviet-style artillery and instruments and formed a weapons system based on Soviet artillery. Under the guidance of the policy of independence and self-reliance, in 1958 we began to design and manufacture artillery weaponry by ourselves. Over 30 years we have successfully made a large number of weapons, instruments, and vehicles, gradually replacing the Soviet equipment. At the same time, we trained a production force of dedicated scientists and technology experts in comprehensive fields of specialty. We have built up the material and technical bases for design, research, testing, production, and maintenance, are capable of manufacturing different kinds of weapons, and have entered a new stage of research and manufacturing artillery weapons on our own.
Our artillery weapons are no longer composed of mismatched types of guns and vehicles. Today we use sophisticated ammunition, and our artillery reconnaissance and firing calculation instruments are no longer operated by hand. We have developed a cohesive system of artillery and ammunition, accompanied by accessories; reconnaissance, command, communication, survey, and meteorology instruments; and vehicles. A series of different types of artillery has been formed, and part of the artillery, instruments, and automobiles has been or is being upgraded. Since the 1970s, we have gradually been equipped with antitank and antiaircraft missiles, and new types of missiles are in the development. Different kinds of reconnaissance radar, air reconnaissance systems, laser-range finders, night vision instruments, and fire command systems are in various stages of research, production, and operation. With the development of this equipment, the fighting capability of our artillery troops has been continuously improved. In the various combats we have been involved in since the founding of new China, our artillery troops have played its special role and made important contributions.
In the new historical period, we are faced with the serious challenge of modernizing the design of our artillery weapons. We are still lacking in certain types of new weapons and we have not been able to form a complete set of equipment. For instance, we still have not met the demand for various missile systems, new types of ammunition, motorized artillery, and advanced electronic and optical reconnaissance instruments, as well as fire command systems. The whole artillery weaponry system is too old. Because of the new technology revolution, artillery weapons of advanced countries are high-tech and high quality, and the distance between the advanced countries and ourselves might be enlarged if we do not do a good job. We are relatively slow in upgrading the equipment of our troops. The antitank, antiaircraft, and neutralizing fire power still cannot meet the basic requirements of modern warfare, especially for antitank and antiaircraft warfare. Further, there is the need to develop different kinds and types of weapons. The technology is getting more and more complicated and more expensive. On the other hand, our level of science and technology is relatively low, our budget very limited, and the contradiction between the need and the possibility is very pronounced.
But at the same time, we must realize that though there are many difficulties, opportunities and favorable conditions do exist. The relaxation of the international situation, the change from the imminence of war to a period of peace has provided us with a favorable environment and valuable time for the modernization of our artillery weapons. Our Party's policy of reform and opening up has provided the opportunity to import advanced technology from abroad, utilize the results of the new technology revolution, reform our system of scientific research and equipment management, improve efficiency in investment, and accelerate development. Our science and technology, especially the development of high technology and its application in the research and production of artillery weapons, as well as our 40 years' experience and technological foundation, have provided the conditions for the development of advanced artillery weapons.
In short, modernization of artillery weapons faces serious situations and arduous tasks, and it will be through a long period of hard work that we will gradually realize modernization. If we have favorable timing and opportunity, and adopt correct policies and strategies, we will be able to succeed and make steady progress. We should start from reality and look toward the future, make an overall plan, and strive to realize the goal of artillery weaponry modernization in a planned and systematic way. Before the end of this century, we should pay attention to the research and manufacturing of key new weapons and equipment, improve and upgrade in a planned way the current weapons and equipment we are using, raise the overall fighting capability of our artillery troops, and lay a good foundation for the realization of all-round modernization in the next century.
In the last 40 years, the development of artillery weapons has gone down a tortuous road. When reviewing our work, the most important lesson is that the modernization of artillery weapons should take into consideration the actual conditions of our nation and our army, and we should pursue development with Chinese characteristics:
This article focuses its attention on the characteristics of regional wars using modern technology, especially high technology, and studies how to improve the logistic support of our army. The author believes that the logistics of our army should try hard to improve the mobility of contingency operations in order to meet the requirements of rapid mobile operations, the three-dimensional multisupport capability in order to meet the requirements of joint operations of various services, the sustained and unceasing support ability in order to meet the requirements of continuous attack operation, and the defense and survival ability of logistics in order to meet the requirements of defense operations or rear services. The author also points out that training qualified personnel for logistics in our army and constructing logistical equipment based on science and technology are also strategic criteria for "powerful support."
Modern technology, especially high technology, is widely applied in the military field, which gives regional wars special characteristics. These mainly include the high flexibility of operations, close combination of all forces, extreme continuity of operations, and extraordinary fierceness of the rear defense struggle, among others. Under modern technology, the new characteristics of regional wars create even more requirements for logistic support of our army, centering on the general aim of "powerful support."
Major General Yang Chengyu serves at Headquarters, General Logistics Department, PLA, Beijing. His paper is from China Military Science (Summer 1995).
Speed is precious in war. Under high-tech conditions, war breaks out suddenly and operations are mainly maneuvers. Many nations have set up their rapid-reaction units to deal with regional war. Rapid-reaction troops will be able to play their full role depending on logistics. A commander of rapid-reaction troops of a western country said, "Whether the rapid-reaction troops are able to achieve success depends eighty percent on logistic work." To deal with high-tech regional wars in the future, the first troops to be affected or to be used will be the rapid-reaction troops in charge of operational missions. To enable quick reaction to unexpected incidents, mobile logistic contingency support capability will be greatly needed, working jointly. Only thus can we ensure victory in every battle by acting quickly against a quick enemy to deal with emerging situations. Logistic support should be based on the principles of combining peace with war, unity between construction and management, stressing the main points and improving step by step. It must put into effect everything in organization, equipment, materials supply, training, and systems, so as to form a reliable contingency supporting capability. Forces should be developed with special training in supply, rescue, repair, and transport, flexibly composing themselves to form modern-style combinations so that they can do multipurpose support tasks jointly or single support tasks separately.
Transportation is key to support combat forces so that they can quickly and flexibly conduct operations. Recently, some regional wars showed that the battlefield supply line was shortened while the strategic supply line was relatively extended. In the Gulf War, U.S. troops quickly threw 550 thousand troops into war and transported 770 thousand tons of goods and materials, relying on their powerful mobile contingency support capability, especially strategic transportation capability, although the U.S. homeland is separated from Iraq by vast oceans. What the U.S. Army transported in the first month in the Gulf War altogether exceeded what it did in one year in the Korean War. So the U.S. Army's new edition of "operation program" lays great stress on improving the capability of getting troops in. The capability of global rapid deployment of troops for operations has become the cornerstone of the U.S. Army's strategic threat. Our country is able to conduct war in self-defense, relying on its home land, but it covers a vast expanse of land, and our communications and transport are rather poor, so it is worth considering and studying how to ensure deployment of mobile troops quickly and flexibly to the site of an incident. Our communications and transport development will be increasingly strengthened and expanded with the vigorous development of our national economy. From a long-term point of view, means of transporting troops will also be improved. The capability of deploying military forces and delivering materials will be increased step by step. Taking the present conditions into account, we should, in advance, place a certain amount of logistic strength and war material in areas of possible conflicts so forces may obtain support immediately. That is the way that we, relying on our own territory to conduct war, can make good use of space to gain sufficient time and, remaining where we are, control delivery and action.
The U.S. Army's new edition of "Basic Operations" has outline a new combat concept of conducting joint battles in air, on land, by sea, and in outer space, instead of what was mentioned before: conducting combined air and land battles. They think, "Any battle the ground forces take part in is bound to be a joint one. . . . In the whole combat zone the special-type joint battle operations will be conducted by air and sea, and what is more, they will be supported from outer space."
Future high-tech regional war will concentrate the army, navy, air force, and outer space forces of various services on the same battlefield to conduct joint operations and support one another. To meet the requirements of joint operations, it is necessary to establish a multipositional and multilevel logistic support system and improve three-dimensional logistic support.
From the horizontal standpoint, it is necessary to establish a joint logistics system of various services and arms. It is a developing trend in many countries to carry out logistics jointly among all three armed services. In the Gulf War, the logistics organization stipulated that, with regard to support, the U.S. Army's central command on the home land was under the charge of the logistics department of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. At theater level, a Central Command logistics department was controlled and coordinated by the logistics officers.
The Chinese People's Liberation Army's joint logistics system of three armed forces must be based on actual conditions and possess its own characteristics. It will take some time for us to realize the joint logistics plan of three armed services in the best sense of the term, but we must try hard to make progress in this field. In recent years we have tried putting into effect a network-type support system according to separate regions. We obtained better results and necessary experience. Besides what has already been achieved, we should create favorable conditions in all fields and gradually increase and expand the supply of component parts. The requirement is to unify the supply of commonly used materials for all three armed services, the repair of equipment in common use, medical care for common wounds, and arrangements for communications and transport. Meanwhile, various services and arms must keep their specific character in addition to those in common. Only in this way can logistics capability be improved comprehensively.
From the vertical standpoint, it is necessary to establish a three-level supply system with strategy, campaign, tactics, and logistic work connected together. Marshal Liu Bocheng said, an army's rear area is like a huge tree, the strategic area like a tree trunk which stands motionless, and each campaign's rear is like a branch, only half moving, but the tactical rear is like leaves, entirely moving. A perfect, highly effective logistical support system must be a whole body with motion combined with stillness, the first joined to the last, a comparatively stable strategic rear base to rely on, a half-moving campaign rear working as a link and a full-moving logistic service attached to the troops. Under high-tech regional war conditions, we still want to lay stress on the construction of the strategic rear bases, devoting major efforts to strengthening campaign support so as to form both the supporting point and overall support capability. Thus, no matter what enemy you conduct operations against, or which direction you go toward, you still can rely on stability to cope with changing factors in order to provide strategic or campaign multipositional support.
From the vertical standpoint, it is necessary to link together ground forces, navy, air force, and outer space force and a multilevel logistics support system. Like forces in many other countries, the Chinese People's Liberation Army logistics department needs to alter the old support mode in which ground forces took the main support and support was provided on an interim basis to other forces. To develop support by air and sea is the key link of building multilevel logistics support. It is also worth our attention to perfect ground-force support for field operations. At the same time, great attention must be paid also to the comprehensive use of railways, highways, underground tunnels and artificial facilities, and useful natural conditions. Only when the support system combines army, navy and air force mutual supply and joint transportation by train, boat, air and tunnel will it become possible to give effective complete logistics support to all services and arms in wartime.
In future high-tech regional wars, both fighting sides will concentrate crack troops and modern weapons, perhaps continuously applying these means: maneuver against maneuver, air strike against air strike, assault against assault, jamming against jamming, not allowing each other any breathing spell. This sort of intensive, quick, and fierce conflict may inevitably expend a large amount of materials, damage equipment and facilities, and cause heavy casualties. If the logistics department is not prepared very well before operations and can't keep the supplies coming, then we are bound to lose the battle.
In the Gulf War, two strange phenomena appeared: two "long" and two "short." That is, it took a long time to get ready for operations, but a short time to conduct actual combat; a long time to make an air-attack, but a short time to engage in ground battle. Many factors explain these phenomena. The most important is a high-technology regional war's high intensity and consumption rate can influence and decide the course and the outcome of war. In this sense, the multinational forces won the battle in the Gulf War at a high financial cost. In 6 months, U.S. troops spent a total of $61 billion and used over 30 million tons of various materials. Four times more materials were consumed each day per single fighting man than in the Vietnam War. The ammunition consumption each day was 20 times more than that of the Korean War each day. Logistics support on such a large scale benefitted mostly from an effective mobilization system that developed a continuous transport capability. So in the U.S. army's new edition of "Operation Program," they lay stress on continuous military operations and stress military actions before, in the middle of, and after war. In order to ensure the continuation of military action and be able to withstand losses and consumption caused by intensive, quick and fierce conflict, it is necessary for a logistic department to get fully prepared before war and give strong and continuous logistic support.
Our country is large and still undeveloped. With our supply and demand problems not well solved, how can we strengthen logistics development for preparedness against war and improve contiguous support capability for war time? First of all we must firmly have a comprehensive concept, accepting national economic development and submitting to self-sacrifice as the first consideration. Only when our national economy has been developed can the national defense development rest on a solid material base. Then logistics support can be provided continuously from the rear of the country. Of course, the defense budget is strained at present, but we can't remain inactive, accomplishing nothing. Logistics personnel must use the concept of seeking results from management and from self-restraint. When it comes to how to manage and make good use of funds, there is a lot that can be done. According to the requirements of force development and future defense operations, it is very important to make scientific use of funds in a reasonable way and in an appropriate amount. For example, it is necessary to give priority to building key troops, supporting the preparation of battlefields in the directions and areas where the operations will occur, and the development of new equipment for war. Storing and acquiring materials for war must be nationally coherent with structural improvements concentrated at the main positions. Only by concentrating our limited financial and material resources effectively can we strengthen logistical war preparations and give reliable continuous support to some key troops, in the vector toward which operations will go when war breaks out. We must firmly foster the idea of overall rear service for a People's War, making soldiers compatible with civilians, and connecting peacetime with war, so as to give full play to the system of powerful support by both soldiers and civilians as a whole. In this new historical period, we need to improve gradually the logistic mobilization system and establish the law of logistic mobilization, making it lawful and conforming it to the standards for conscripting reserve personnel, stockpiling, and preparing war materials, collecting means of transport, and mobilizing technical personnel. Thus, we can transfer latent support capability into actual support strength immediately when war breaks out. It is necessary to frequently consult with state and local governments. When deciding on economic development projects, we should consider not only the needs of the people, but also the military's requirements, and obtain results that are beneficial both for preparing against war as well as for the economy and society. Now our country is studying and developing "National Defense Law," which will afford us a legal basis for starting national defense mobilization work and establishing a logistic support system of soldiers compatible with civilians.
The targets of attack in modern wars have expanded to battlefield in full depth. One of modern war's main characteristics is to attach great importance to operations in the enemy's rear. It tends to threaten and weaken the enemy's key point if you attack its support system, thereby exerting a great influence over all its operations. It is a very important aspect of operations to destroy the enemy's support system. In the Gulf War the multinational troops headed by the U.S. forces struck heavy blows mainly at Iraqi forces' logistic bases and transport lines, thereby making their supply capability drop 90 percent and leaving Iraq's troops on the south line without ammunition and provisions. Iraq's troops were thus utterly routed at the first encounter. In future high-tech regional wars, the rear base and communications lines will tend to be the first target of sudden attack by enemy, so the guiding principle of sudden attack and counterattack around the rear area will run through the whole operation course. Whether or not to effectively to carry out the rear defense struggle plays a very important part in the logistic survival. Without powerful rear defense capability, the safety of the logistic personnel and the facilities cannot be ensured, nor can the powerful logistic supplying support be organized and carried out. In accordance with the characteristics and special requirements of the rear-defense operation in future regional wars, when waging a rear-defense struggle, we must put into effect the policy of "defense combined with attack," and "taking the defense as the dominant means" so as to carry out the whole defense. It is still necessary to build a strong protection and transportation system, running through in length and breadth, with conveyance, attack, and repair connected and employing various camouflage techniques. Making logistic troops conduct operations and reach the indomitable and skillful level like or almost like that of combat troops is a new problem worth paying close attention to. "Ferocious and violent as the devil is, the magic means to vanquish him is more powerful." In all previous revolutionary wars and the Korean War (1950-1953), we successfully created rear-supply and defense methods with Chinese characteristics. In a rear-defense struggle under modern high-tech conditions we can still find effective ways to improve the logistics capability.
Because rear services ensure not only front support but also rear defense operations, it seems to be more important and conspicuous to improve logistical organization and commanding capability. In future wars it should be carefully studied how to organize command in a concentrated and united way as well as by acting promptly at one's own discretion. It involves several factors: qualified personnel and equipment, whether to improve mobile support capability and sustainment; unceasing supporting capability; or strengthen the rear-defense and command-organizing capability. Therefore, we must pay attention to and do a good job in training the logistic personnel contingent, improving logistics and scientific and technical equipment as strategic measures to provide strong support. Qualified personnel and top-quality equipment, closely combined with scientific and reasonable arrangement and establishment, can ensure and also serve as a firm foundation for winning a possible high-tech regional war and improve logistics supporting capability all around.
China's defense industry system after 1949 was basically modeled on the plan in the former Soviet Union. It has been a highly centralized system since the first 5-year plan. Under the circumstances of a weak economic base, then, this system played an important role in concentrating abilities on those priority projects in the defense industry and rapidly improving the levels of weapon development and production. However, along with national reform, opening up, and the policy of developing the national economy, this kind defense industry system is not suited to the new situations.
A highly centralist planned economy can not meet the needs of the tremendous changes in military supplies. Those state-owned enterprises of the war industry command vast reserves of qualified scientists and technicians, high-level technology, well-equipped facilities and great potential. During peacetime there are fewer military production quotas, therefore many productive forces are left unused. But during wartime military supplies increase sharply and are urgently needed. In the face of today's unceasing changes in military strategy and operational modes as well as the continual improvement in weapons, modern war requirements for weapons and equipment have grown considerably.
Shun Zhenhuan is Senior Researcher at the State Planning Commission.
The special military enterprises could hardly satisfy the needs for supplies expended in warfare, even in a regional war. As a result, we should try to reform our present system in accordance with the objective requirements.
Because the military enterprises represent a small group, we can not hope such a closed system will encourage civil industry development. The Soviet Union proved this argument. The Soviet Union adopted a plan of highly centralized but separate military and commercial industries. Although there was remarkable success in the production of munitions, the price that was paid was the sacrifice of other civil industries that should have grown. Like the Soviet Union, China devoted major efforts to developing the A-bomb, the H-bomb, satellites, and nuclear-powered submarines with limited funds and an inadequate technical force. While some areas in the defense industry came up to advanced world standards, much of our general mode of production lagged. Shortcomings such as high consumption, high cost, inefficiency, and low quality were present everywhere, and some advanced defense technologies were set aside for years. Obviously this is harmful to the national economy.
The system has not solved these long-standing problems; for example, defense and commercial industries are separate, enterprises are isolated from each other, manufactures and imports are duplicated, and factories, whether large or small, are unnecessarily affected. Management and administration followed conventional supply systems. The state issued projects, allocated materials of production, bought products, and assumed sole responsibility for profits and losses; consequently, enterprises were dependent on the state, and workers dependent on the enterprises. The military product price was fixed (cost and 5 percent of profit). One factory, one price, no matter the volume; the more cost, the more profit, and vice versa.
A poor variety of products made it difficult for military enterprises to be productive. Because most of the enterprises, over a long period of time, were preparing for war and targeted only military products, it was not until 1979 that the output value of commercial products in four war-industry departments finally accounted for 8.1 percent of the total output value.
The state had total control over military enterprises so that they could not develop their own designs. Lacking power and function, and with responsibility being divorced from profit, the enterprises were not at all vigorous.
From the 1960s to the mid-1970s, the movement called the construction of the third defense line was fully under way. Almost all the enterprises, were committed to large projects, pursued high production targets and were eager to succeed. They practiced the tactics of "mountain," "dispersion," "cave," "village," and so on. This finally resulted in a far-flung front that was too large in scale.
After the CCP's Third Plenary Session of the Thirteenth Central Committee, China's defense industry was steadily reformed, as restructuring of the state economic system was implemented. During the past decade, the State Council and Military Commission of the Central Committee passed a series of resolutions: the State Council governed directly the six departments formerly run by the State Defense Science and Industry Commission but headed by both the State Council and Central Military Commission. According to their special needs, every military department, restructured themselves, from the governing body to administrative setup to product structure to internal organization to work patterns and distribution. The variety of changes propelled the defense industry forward. The success and experiences laid a good foundation for further reform.
New Merits of Military Production
The whole defense industry entered a new strategic stage of history after the reform. Scientific research for military products is carrying out a policy that emphasizes small scale and advanced levels. By putting stress on the foundation, strengthening key science and technology, and keeping in step with high technology, we are amking progress and are renewing our military production.
There are some new achievements in the nuclear industry. New nuclear weapons designs have given our strategic missile force the ability to counterattack, which is one of the important factors that helps establish our nation's international status. A new generation of research has also made considerable headway. The completed high-flux engineering test reactor provides a significant medium for development in the nuclear industry.
In the last decade, aviation industry factories have manufactured the most modern aircraft in history. Of the more than 20 types of aircraft on our assembly lines, 75 percent are new types that were put into production this decade. A new lot of fighters, attack planes, bombers, helicopters and unmanned planes have been furnished to the army to replace old ones. The fact that more advanced warplanes have been designed and finalized marks our capability to make aviation product designs of our own.
The ordnance industry is quickening its pace of renewing heavy weapons. The industry has been fruitful in manufacturing modern tanks, armored carriers, infantry fight vehicles, heavy-caliber guns, and antitank missiles.
Numbers of special ships oceangoing comprehensive monitoring ships, oceangoing survey ships, oceangoing supply ships, landing ships, and minesweepers are proof of the development of the ship-building industry. These ships successfully completed many trials. According to statistics, within the China Shipping Industrial Company, the output value of new-style products accounted for 60 percent of the gross value of industrial output, and of those products, 38.6 percent came up to the advanced world standards of the 1980s, including 47.7 percent of necessary ship-building industry accessories.
The successes in the space industry have attracted worldwide attention, especially the results in strategic missiles, space technology, and tactical missiles. In May 1980 we successfully launched a long-range carrier rocket to the Pacific for the first time. In October 1982 a rocket launched underwater from a submarine showed a qualitative leap in our strategic missile technology. The manifold tactical missile weapon systems finalized one after another are increasing the modern combat effectiveness of the troops. Today, our space technology reflects the advanced world standards:
Since the Third Plenary Session of the Thirteenth Central Committee, civilian production of the defense industry has made great strides. The proportion of commercial product output value in the industry has risen from 8.1 percent in 1979 to 62 percent in 1990.
Concerning the military enterprises located in 'three-line', from 1980 to 1987, the output value of their commercial products increased at an average rate of 40 percent a year, and in 1987 reached around 50 percent of the value of all military enterprises in the whole nation. According to preliminary estimates, departments in the defense industry have completed more than 400 main commercial product assembly lines, developed over 300 kinds of key products, and sent over 7,000 commercial products to market. For the last 10 years, they have supplied, to domestic and foreign markets, large quantities of products and technical equipment for energy, traffic, light textile, and other trades, and have technically transformed assortments of spare parts for import equipment to improve food machinery, packing machinery, and medical instruments. Isotopes (and their outcomes) have been used into agriculture, industry and medical services. Commercial aircraft is one good scene of prosperity: over 500 passenger transport planes are flying for over 70 airlines, and 13 main line passenger planes made cooperatively with Mydao Co. have been delivered to the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China. Three military factories, in Chongqing, Baotou, and Taiyuan, have the capacity to produce 5,000 open freight cars in 1 year but the investment is only 40 percent of what is needed to build these same items.
During the sixth 5-year plan, 193 kinds of commercial products made in defense industry departments won national gold, silver, or national invention prizes.
Through 10 years of experience and practice in developing commercial products, military enterprises created a set of rules for product development, administration, management and restructuring, organization, sales, and service:
Commercial nuclear fuel has entered into the overseas market with the government's approval. The metal calcium made by the nuclear industry also occupies a certain status in international market.
Aircraft made in China were on display at the International Aviation Fair. Six Y-12s, a light multiuse plane of our own design and manufacture, was sold to overseas buyers. Another new medium-range transport plane carrier-8 was also exported. The British General Administration of Civil Aviation, recognized as a worldwide authority in aviation, issued a certificate of quality to our carrier-12 in 1990; this signifies that the carrier-12 has reached a world-class level and increases the plane's export channels. Besides the eight already sold, we have also signed contracts for 14 other carrier-12s. Our aviation industry system as a whole has exported several hundred aircraft to about 10 countries, and has also exported aircraft engines, carrier equipment, parachutes, and aircraft spare parts. We manufactured aircraft parts and engine parts for a dozen foreign factories or companies, thus earning foreign exchange totalling 12 million.
Ordnance industry manufactured and sold their motorbikes, bicycles, and others to the United States and other countries or areas. During just the first sixth of the 5-year plan, the exports and projected contracts of the whole ordnance industry were 80 percent of the total business of the preceding 30 years.
Our space technology started servicing the international market. The Long-March-2, Long-March-3, and Long-March-4 carrier rockets were put on the international market one after another. In 1987 and 1989, we provided carrier service to the former West Germany and France using our retrieval satellites. Our new Long-March-2E and Long-March-3 carrier rockets will launch satellites for Australia and an Asian satellite company. This is a indication that China is entering the international space technology international market and is catching up with the advanced world.
The shipbuilding industry was unwilling to lag behind in their export business. In the latter half of 1981, the world's shipbuilding output was less than half its actual production capacity, and many shipyards went bankrupt. But China's shipbuilding output rose uninterrupted, doubling from 1986 to 1987. And during the first seventh of the 5-year-plan, ship exports were 1.53 million tons, twice as much as that during the first sixth of the 5-year-plan. The volume of export was 40 percent of the general volume of ship-building. The trade volume of export business reached $2.3 billion, three times as much as during the first sixth of the 5-year plan.
Military Technology Shifts to Commercial Use
The transfer of military technology to commercial technology may occur in various ways and forms. Through mediums such as technical interchange and the technology market, both sides can strike bargain, or by means of direct talks they make agreements. The following ummary of our practices in carrying out technology transfers amke clear the five areas in which we find it important to engage jointly:
Although this is not easy, it is a good beginning and lays a foundation for building military/commercial joint efforts. There are five general policies on the conversion from defense to military/commercial joint enterprises:
The ultimate aim of restructuring our defense industry is to build a integrated system of defense/commercial production viable for both war and peace times. In addition, we should build a multi-administrative policy body we can centralize or decentralize. The system must guarantee that the State Council and Central Military Commission are able to keep national defense under their macro control, which includes control of the direction, scale, speed, layout and structure of national defense development. Moreover, it will help national economic actions to keep its vitality, separate organization from production and streamline administration.
Suggestions about how to make various military enterprises more efficient include further reduction of scale, adjustment of structure, strengthening macrocontrol, increasing necessary investment, and making serious efforts to develop commercial products. To realize defense/commercial production unity, the national defense industry should serve the Four Modernizations, meaning take on a double task:
The national defense system will adjust its industrial and productive structure, according to the principles of planning, rational division of labor, mutually complementary advantage, and coordinated development. The department responsible for military enterprises will send the plans for adjustment of research and production of military products one by one, down to their enterprises as soon as possible. This will further restructure these enterprises by making them more self-governing so that they have the rights and duties that average state enterprises have. It will help most of them to become socialist commercial firms, and manufacturers that are able to run a business by themselves and assume sole responsibility for their profits or losses. In addition to fulfilling military orders, it will intensify the reform of the administrative system by pursuing and perfecting production, and by rewarding the hardworking but punishing inferior quality and indolence, it willencourage military enterprises and their workers.
Military enterprises need to heighten their commodity consciousness, market sense, and competitive ideas and keep aware of market information isre always changing, the factories should constantly develop new products on the basis of market requirements. They also must foster the three kinds of motivation forces that modern factories have: inventing or finding new technology, applying new technology to production, and promoting products to domestic and external markets.
The military sector should introduce competition through separate cost accounting for defense and commercial products, which would solve the problems that arise from sharing equally regardless of ability or contribution. A small accounting unit exists within every factory. Under certain conditions, a branch or workshop of a factory will run relatively independently, whereas the group of enterprises that possesses economic strength will properly retain the power of decisionmaking over investment.
After talking with departments and districts concerned, the factories, which must have approval not to undertake military production, can according to their technical specialty and equipment situation, decide to whom they are subordinate. They can also not change subordinate relationships and just incorporate each kind of products into commercial departments or districts, taking responsibility for production plans and product types. We encourage interindustry, interdepartmental, and interregional relationships. The factories can arrange their production on the basis of voluntarism, mutual benefit, specialized cooperation, and responsibility, and can develop new products by way of economic or technical cooperation with each other.
We will give energetic support to export commodities and urge enterprises to be familiar with the concept of two resources and two abilities. They should open up their own path to international markets through widespread cooperation and strengthen their competitive power through high-quality, low-priced products.
The enterprises located in the third defense line could, if possible, open a "window" in coastal cities or special to develop commercial products. The experiences of the last few years have showed that there are some principles we have to follow:
1. Focus on exports, combine production with trade, technology with commerce,
and recognize that specialization is important but promote a diversified
2. Actively depend on the backbone of the enterprises, uphold import but cooperate with internal; take products as the key factors to give full play to the "window."
3. Have both exports and imports to keep the foreign exchange balance and to win more foreign exchange; to bring economic benefits, stress advanced technology that could improve the quality of products, increase the variety, speed up the replacement of the old with the new, and lower the consumption of resources and materials.
4. Putting the stress on the key products that are intensive science and technology, take the above-mentioned road of import, digestion, creation, and development.
5. Boldly attract the investment of foreign capital, raise funds in every way, and actively use them.
6. Give full play to the enterprises and enhance competitive power through union with others.
7. Make full use of favorable conditions, create special districts or open cities as bridges to trade with Hong Kong, Taiwan, and surrounding countries, and then expand to other countries and areas.
8. Enable special districts to become centers for training managers, engineers, and other qualified personnel.
9. Strengthen the enterprises by adjusting both the plan for military production and the quantity of important civil production and by removing factories from the third line; formulate specific policies for reorganization, merger, and cooperation of the enterprises; and implement a rational organized system for each enterprise and form competent groups of enterprises in the spirit of voluntary participation and mutual benefit.
To protect national industry and avoid unnecessary equipment imports or technology re-introduction, the military sector should utilize existing abilities as fully as possible to produce things that can supply the market over a long period of time and to guarantee the products' quality and quantity.
When, in commercial industries, products are needed to expand production or some items require a large research basis, the military enterprises' surplus abilities, technical superiority and facilities should first taken into account. For any items needing technological reconfiguration, we should choose the better one between a defense or a commercial enterprise.
The nation will broadly guide the defense sector to cooperate with the commercial sector to developcommercial products. This will depend on market requirements and on enterprise's expertise. The aim is coordination rather than unchecked independence.
Defense and commercial units may have mutual concerns and need to exchange information, solutions, and motivations. The industries, departments, and districts will set up mediation netowrks and go between them to solve related problems.
We will link the military development plan with each regional economic development program.
Military science is a system of knowledge about war, laws for guiding wars and principles of war preparations and combat operations. Military science plays an important role in guiding force development and provides theoretical methods of fighting and winning a war. The objects of the study of military science are wars and other activities of military practice.
The most important task of military science is to study the causes of wars, the nature of wars, the relation between war and politics, economics, science, geography, etc., and to explore the law of emergence of wars and development, so as to lay the foundations for guiding wars correctly.
According to the characteristics of the moves of contradictions, any war has its generality and individuality, universality and particularity. The common law of war moves and war development is defined to be the general law of wars, and the general law exists in the special law of wars as the universality and generality exist in the particularity and individuality. In order to guide a war correctly, it is necessary for us to have a good grasp of not only the general law of wars but the special law of wars. The law of wars is an objective reality, which always acts in wars and affects them spontaneously and mandatorily, no matter whether you have thought about it or have not. Thus, we say that laws for guiding wars are concrete and lively expressions of the dynamic theory of knowledge as reflected in the reality in wars.
Lt. General Zheng Wenhan is a former President of the Academy of Military Science, Beijing. This paper is from Zheng, ed., An Outline of Military Science (Beijing: Academy of Military Science Press, 1994).
Armed force construction and its development strategy are another important research area, which mainly includes the theories of armed force organization, construction and system of leadership; its structure and quantity; weapons and equipment; education and training; and administration, politics, and logistics support. Accompanying the studies on these theories and their applied principles is the development of the military system science, military education and training science, military administration science, military politics, and military logistics.
The armed forces, as a part of the state machine, have been developing continuously with the development of productive forces and war. In order to maintain national security interests, countries have always paid special attention to all aspects of the construction of armed forces such as military constitutions, education and training, weapons and equipment, reserves force construction, logistics support, and so on.
Weapons and technical equipment are the material foundation for an army's combat effectiveness. Since war first emerged in society, weapons and technical equipment have been the essential materials for an army and have become the vital material means to fight and win wars. Military applications are almost always given priority major inventions or improvements are always given priority to apply to the military. In the history of war, the development of weapons and equipment can be divided into several stages, namely cold weapons, hot weapons, nuclear weapons, and high-tech weapons. The magnificent development of weapons and technical equipment and their applications to the army promote the development and change of military organization, war patterns, and operational ways and methods. Anyone who looks down on the great role of weapons and technical equipment or has no necessary weaponry and technical equipment would pay the price of blood in a war. On the one hand, the development of weapons and technical equipment has been exerting a tremendous influence on the development of armed forces, the final result of war, and the evolution of military arts. On the other hand, the needs of war and the evolution of military theory conversely ask weapons and technology to meet their requirements and promote the innovation and development of weapons and technical equipment.
With studies on the trial manufacturing, production, and use and maintenance of weapons and technical equipment, people created weaponry, ammunition science, shooting science, ballistics, military engineering, navy technology, air force technology, armored force technology, nuclear physics, military electronics, military chemistry, and astronautics.
Military history is one of the earliest subjects of military science. Military history records the events of war and facts of military activities which reflect the operational ways and methods and operation principles applied by opposing sides in the war. There were numerous books about military history in ancient Greek, Rome and China. In order to win a victory, ancient military scientists paid tremendous attention to the study of war history and the exploration of strategy and principle for directing wars. In the study of the development of military thought, operational method, and armed forces buildup, in order to sum up the experience and lessons of war, people created various subjects and sciences such as war history, military history, history of military science, military historical material science, compiling historical literature science etc.
Geographic environment and natural conditions have had important influence not only upon war, but also on national army construction and military thought. War and military activities have always been conducted in a certain space. If you want to control wars, you should research geographic conditions and their influence on military actions. You should research natural geography conditions, understand which condition is favorable to military operations and which is not, and know how to give full play to the strong points and avoid weak points. The main task for military geographic studies should be having a clear understanding about an enemy state's strategic pivot, the hub of communications, the center for politics, economics and culture, and strategic military, political, and economic areas and objects.
With the progress of modern science and technology, it is a developing trend for science to be increasingly split and synthesized. The scope of military science studies is continuously widening. A lot of new subjects, such as military operational analysis, war mobilization science, military future science, the science of military law, and so on are emerging.
In conclusion, the seven fields mentioned above form the various subjects related to military science. These are the sciences of military thought, military art, theory of armed force construction, military technology, military history, and military geography. All are interdependent, influence each other, promote each other, are closely tied together, and constitute the integrated theory system of military science.
In 1948, Mao Zedong said that military science mainly included strategy, tactics, economics, politics, and military culture.
In 1959, the President of the Academy of Military Science Marshall Ye Jianying said military science could be divided into three parts, namely military thought, military art, and military technology. In February 1960, he put forward a new set of classifications, as follows:
MILITARY SCIENCE I. Science of Theory A. Military Thought 1. Strategies 2. Operations 3. Tactics B. Military Art 1. Military System Science 2. Military Mobilization 3. Military Training 4. Military History 5. Military Geography II. Science of Technology A. Military TechnologyWe think that the theoretic system of military science should include military thought, military art, theory of armed force construction, military technology, military history, military geography and other frontier science:
MILITARY SCIENCE A. Military Thought 1. Military Dialectics 2. Ancient Military Thought 3. Bourgeois Military Thought 4. Proletarian Military Thought B. Military Art 1. Strategies 2. Operational Science 3. Tactics 4. Army Command Science C. Theory of Armed Force Construction 1. Military System 2. Military Education and Training 3. Military Management 4. Army Politics 5. Military Logistics D. Military History 1. War History 2. Military History 3. History of Military Science 4. Science of Compiling Military Literature E. Military Geography 1. Military Geography 2. Military Meteorology F. Military Technology 1. Weaponry 2. Science of Shooting 3. Ammunition Science 4. Ballistics 5. Navy Technology 6. Air Force Technology 7. Armored Force Technology 8. Military Engineering 9. Ballistics Missile Science 10. Nuclear Physics 11. Astronautics 12. Military Electronics 13. Military Chemistry G. Frontier Science 1. Science of Military Law 2. Science of Military FutureMilitary science takes war, a special social phenomenon, as its object of study. It is a kind of comprehensive science, which has close relations with social science, natural science, and philosophy.
The Relationship Between Military Science and Philosophy
Almost all military scientists, in modern or ancient times, in China or elsewhere, attach importance to analyzing and demonstrating war, the objective law of war, and the law of directing war from the angle of philosophy. The earliest military thought was contained in philosophic works. Since the development of military science, military theory gradually separated from philosophy and developed independently. Mao Zedong integrated military theory with philosophic theory, advancing a new concept of military dialectics to form a new subject in military science.
The Relationship Between Military Science and Social Science
Social science takes social phenomena as its object of study, while military science takes war activities, a special social phenomenon, as its object of study. War is a part of society as a whole. It is not only the main task for military science, but also an important task for social science to research the origin, the cause, the nature, and the development of war. The difference between them is just a different angle, a different emphasis of study. There is a famous sentence asserted by Clausewitz that states, "War is the continuation of politics by other means." By this he meant to stress that all strategy, all military activity, must be subordinated to clear political motivation and goals. Politics is pregnant with war, and war is its highest and the most violent form. It is imperative to have not only wide basic knowledge of military science but also a rich knowledge of politics, economics, and history from the social sciences for military science studies.
The Relationship Between Military Science and Natural Science
War activity has always been affected and restricted by the conditions of topography, climate, and hydrology. There is no exception to this in modern or ancient times, in China or elsewhere. Furthermore, the weapons and equipment that are the important elements of an army's fighting capacity, are restricted by not only economic capacity but also science and technology. Technology determines tactics while tactics in turn promote technology. Parts of military science is closely related with the physics, chemistry, geography, meteorology, astronomy, geology, and hydrology branches of the natural sciences. The combination of military science and these subjects has created relevant frontier science and intersecting science. Finally, many new and developing subjects in social science and natural science such as system engineering, theory of information, theory of control, theory of probability, future science, and electronic computer technology have been applied in the military field one after another. Thus, a lot of new military subjects have been created such as military system engineering, theory of military information, theory of military control, and theory of military system, which have enriched and developed the field of military science.
Although instances of defeating a powerful opponent with a weak force can be cited from the early period of Chinese history, the establishment of a topic related to this concept has gone through a long process.
The concept of defeating a powerful opponent with a weak force, or defeating the enemy even when outnumbered has continually been put forward by people from the Yin, Zhou, Ming, and Qing Dynasties. Using historical materials, and on the basis of scientific conclusions about the development of war, Mao Zedong creatively and comprehensively explained the issue of defeating the superior with the inferior. He pointed out that war is a competition to win superior subjective initiatives between the commanders of two forces backed by financial capacity and military strength. The correctness or incorrectness of the subjective factor will turn the inferior into the superior, or passivity into initiative, or vice versa. We can conclude from Mao that the key to defeating the powerful with a weak force is making the most of subjective initiative. The weak force can change its unfavorable position and defeat a relatively powerful enemy. There are some basic points about the definition of defeating a powerful enemy with a weak force:
Shen Kuiguan is a Professor at the Air Force Command Institute, Beijing; his paper originally appeared in China Military Science (Winter 1994).
First, the concept of superiority and inferiority covers a great deal. It is the manifestation of the overall balance of many factors between both belligerents.
Second, defeating the superior with the inferior is the result of integrating material and spiritual conditions. Without the first, it will be spiritual omnipotence; without the second, will be mechanical materialism. To stick to the dialectical unity of the two conditions is the correct dialectical materialist point of view.
Third, defeating the superior with the inferior must go through a certain course, that is, there are three periods: resisting the superior with the inferior, turning the inferior into the superior, and defeating the superior with the inferior.
Fourth, defeating the superior with the inferior, and defeating the inferior with the superior are dialectically related. They are related as ends and means, or whole and part. Defeating the superior with the inferior ends in campaigns and major battles. Overall this must be assured by first defeating the superior with the inferior piecemeal.
They are mutually complementary
Modern high-tech war is a fierce competition using high-tech weaponry under nuclear deterrent or conventional conditions. In such a war, it will be difficult for the side that is at a disadvantage in technology and military strength to defeat the opponent, because the high-quality combat capacity of high-tech weaponry widens the disparities between the two sides. Although it is extremely difficult for the weaker side to defeat the powerful in a high-tech war, it is still possible.
The law of conversion from superiority to inferiority or vice versa is an important principle of military dialectics. It reveals the inexorable trend that the changes of balance between the two belligerents that is caused by the mutual functioning of many factors determines the mutual conversion of superiority and inferiority. As the conversion determines the ending of a war, it is a general principle dominating war development. Chairman Mao Zedong said, first, superiority and inferiority are a pair of important categories restricting victory or failure in a war. What we mean by superiority is the advantageous position in military strength and combat posture. It is composed of superior political conditions, powerful military forces, abundant material base, full war preparations, correct operational direction, advantageous natural conditions, favorable mass opinion, and international support, among which some factors occupy a dominant position. Inferiority refers to the disadvantageous position in military strength and combat posture. It contains political backwardness, weak military strength, insecure economic base, insufficient war preparations, poor leadership, disadvantageous natural conditions, unfavorable mass opinion and lack of international support, some of which play a leading role. Superiority and inferiority exist in all kinds of wars, they influence and determine the combat strategies, mode of operations, operational preparations and combat course, and finally, the victory or failure of the war. Second, superiority and inferiority are dialectically related:
Altering the overall balance of combat factors between two belligerents is the practical foundation of defeating the superior with the inferior. As Sun Tzu, world-famous ancient Chinese strategist, pointed out,
The victory or failure of a war is determined by Five Factors and Seven Aspects. The Five Factors are justice, weather, geography, command and regulations. Only when the commander has a thorough knowledge of these five, will he be able to defeat the enemy. Which side has justice? Which commander is more capable? Which possesses more favorable natural conditions? Which side enforces the law more strictly? Soldiers of which side are more assiduous in military training? Which side is more strict and fair in meting out rewards and punishments? By comparing the seven aspects, I can judge which side will win at last.Later, some renowned strategists proved it from different angles and levels. Based on his understanding of the law of wars from the long history of China, Comrade Mao Zedong clearly stated, "Doubtlessly, victory or defeat in a war is determined by the conditions of both sides in the areas of military forces, the political situation, the economic conditions and the natural surroundings. But more than that, it is also determined by the capacity of subjective direction."
In other words, victory or failure in a war is not determined by a single factor or certain factors, but by changing the overall balance of all factors between two belligerents. One may be backward in weaponry or economics, but he may also be in a far more advantageous position than his enemy in political and geographical conditions, and subjective direction. As long as one makes the most of his strong points and takes advantage of the enemy's shortcomings, he can turn the enemy's advantage into disadvantage, his own disadvantage into advantage, and even with his inferior weaponry, he can defeat the enemy's superior weaponry.
Evidence of defeating the superior with the inferior has occurred in modern wars. In air force actions, examples are too numerous to mention individually. We have the earlier ones of the Battle of Britain, the Battle of Moscow, and the Battle of Stalingrad, and the recent ones of the air force actions in the Korean War and the Middle East War. The Vietnam War can be cited as a typical example of defeating the superior with the inferior in modern wars. It proved the fact that, with correct strategic principles, proper strategies, flexible tactics, and high operational efficiency, inferior forces will be able to defeat the superior enemy.
During the Gulf War, the victory of the United States and the defeat of Iraq can be explained by the great role of high-tech weapons. But the real cause for the victory of one side and the defeat of the other does not lie only in technical factors but also in the comprehensive superiority founded on many war factors, particularly the political nature and the subjective direction of the war. From the moment of its invasion of Kuwait, Iraq found itself in a completely isolated position in international opinion. Additionally, its economic dependence, inflexible strategies and passive defense tactics added to its inferiority, which consequently caused its inevitable defeat. A comprehensive understanding and analysis of the Gulf War are needed in order to avoid the erroneous conclusion that it is impossible for a weak force to defeat a powerful opponent in a high-tech war.
The basic way to defeat a powerful opponent with a weak force in a high-tech war is to bring the overall function of its operational system into full play, to persevere in defeating the superior with the inferior in crucial battles, and, through the integration of the above two aspects, attain the goal of turning the inferior into the superior and finally defeat the enemy. Bringing the overall function of its operational system into full play just means to strengthen the capacity and efficiency of the whole operational system that is composed of all the war factors. By perseverance in defeating the superior with the inferior in every crucial battle, we mean to muster superior forces and weapons, bring about favorable combat posture, and destroy the enemy. Bringing the overall function of the operational system into full play is a prerequisite for defeating the superior with the inferior in every crucial battle, and in turn, the victories of these battles will strengthen the overall function of the operational system. They are interrelated, organically integrated, and mutually supplemented.
The theory that bringing the overall function of the operational system into full play and persevering in defeating the superior with the inferior in every crucial battle is essential to defeating the superior with the inferior is based upon the following two points.
In conclusion, high-tech war is a relative concept, which reveals different characteristics in different periods of time, but the law of mutual conversion of the superior and the inferior is a permanent concept. No matter what new techniques or weapons are used, there is the possibility of a weaker force defeating the powerful opponent. So long as we stick to the combat principles of defeating the superior with the inferior and actively create the conditions, we will be able to win victory in future high-tech wars.
Maturity of War Comes Earlier than Maturity of Peace In the 20th century, the scale, forms, and means of war as well as the corresponding military theories have reached a level hitherto unknown. This century has seen great progress in science, technology, and social development, but has also suffered from the unprecedented catastrophes of two world wars. The 20th century holds unusual significance for the Chinese people. At the beginning of the century, the united army of eight countries invaded Beijing, and the powers carved up China. One hundred years later, and at the end of this century, China will be a comparatively well-off socialist society, and Hong Kong and Macao will return to the motherland. It can be said that the Chinese people were in a state of misery and suffering at the beginning of the century, but enjoy stability and well-being at the end of the century. The change was achieved through the hard struggle, blood and sacrifice of lives by countless martyrs, and fine sons and daughters of the Chinese nation. When they examine their conscience at the end of this century, the Chinese people will feel no qualms for the century or for mankind.
Lieutenant General Li Jijun is Vice-President of the Academy of Military Science, Beijing. This article is from his book, Military Theory and Conflict (Beijing: Academy of Military Science Press, 1994).
We can expect that in the next century the possibility of the breakout of world war will be minimal, but the peace is far from reaching maturity. As a multipolar world structure gradually comes into being, there will be contradictions of economic interests among multiple centers, and complex ethical and cultural conflicts make the occurrence of local war and military conflict unavoidable. While the global economy moves towards integration, regional economic interests affect many countries, so some local wars or military conflicts may see the formation of coalitions. The participation of big powers and the purchase of modern military weapons and equipment by smaller nations or regional groups make it possible that local wars or military conflicts could also be high-tech. At the turn of the century, the problems and requirements that world military theory and strategy will face are as follows:
The science of strategy is not satisfied by one particular historical pattern of war or by the result and viewpoint of one particular war. It constantly uses new war experiences, new war models, new technical equipment's effect on war to study and guide warfare. The Gulf War, for example, symbolizes the beginning of a new phase. The domination of the battlefield by cold weapons, hot weapons, and nuclear weapons has been changed into domination by high-tech weaponry. That is to say, the emergence of the new character of local war or military conflict a few years ago has now gradually become the leading factor on the battlefield. It will cause change in the patterns of war, and this is the rule. For instance, the use of rifles caused the change in the formation of combat teams, creating dispersed formations. Trench warfare appeared after machine guns and wire netting. When the infantry could not make a breakthrough, they expanded into two flanks. Protracted flanks appeared in the First World War, and fronts were long and unbroken. After the introduction of tanks, machine guns and wire netting were of no use, thus mobile warfare appeared. During World War I, tanks were the new weapons but not the dominant ones. During World War II, planes and tanks became the dominant weapons on the west front of the battlefield, and great depth of attack and high speed in the form of combat occurred. The United States used more than 80 high-tech weapons in the Gulf War, and these new weapons are beginning to play the dominant role on the battlefield. This form of high-tech warfare has just emerged, and its rules and regular patterns are not completely revealed yet. However, we must realize that the domination of the battlefield by these high-tech weapons will cause a series of changes in the patterns of war, forms of combat, combat command, or even in the strategic control. In terms of the range of the battlefield, the high-tech local war battle field will include land, sea, air and space, as well as areas of electromagnetism. We can say that each wave in the development of mankind added an area of battlefield. For example, the first wave added the area of sea battle. The second wave, the industrial revolution added the area of air battle. The third wave, information, has added two new battle fields in outer space and in the area of electromagnetism. So the coming of each wave of industry and technological revolution has added a corresponding area of battlefield.
We can say that the Gulf War has brought about many new changes. It takes a long time to prepare for high-tech local war, but the process of war is short. However, it costs too much the Gulf War cost $61.1 billion for a very short time period. This war could be divided into three phases. The first was Desert Shield, lasting 167 days and accounting for 80 percent of the total process of the war. This phase mainly saw the assembly and transport of forces. The second phase, Desert Storm, was the phase of air strikes, it lasted 38 days and accounted for 18 percent of the total process of the war. The third phase was Desert Sword, the phase of ground attack, which lasted only 4 days and accounted for 2 percent of the total process of the war. This reflects a rule that the preparation time for the high-tech war is long, the attack time is short, and the rhythm of the war is fast.
During the Korean War, it was mainly the armed forces of the United States and South Korea that did the fighting. Britain sent two brigades, Turkey sent one, and the other 12 nations sent only symbolic troops. During the Gulf War, the majority of the allied forces on the side of the United States sent real troops, and Germany and Japan contributed money. The combat areas of high-tech war were expanded, and although it was a local war, it involved the interests of many nations and had the character of alliance and internationality, because of money and troops contributed by the allied countries.
In the way of attack, it was very different from the past. Take the air strike for example, in the past the first strike would be at the front, and then strike behind the front line. The Gulf War was different in that it first struck headquarters, then the crucial energy and production facilities, then the transportation system, and finally the armed forces. Compared with past strikes, the sequence was turned around. It is very important for the combat commander to learn this change.
In terms of the requirements of organization and command, the Gulf War was a war of systems against systems. The C3I system became the nerve center of the whole war. The strategic and campaign battles were often mixed together. The campaign battles became more important, and had the characteristics of the strategic battles. The first battle of a high-tech war could also be the last one. This places higher demands on the quality of service personnel, especially of commanders and commanding offices.
Of course, we must also see the limitations of high-tech local war. The Gulf War itself was not typical. U.S. Armed Forces revealed many weak points. For example, the combat consumption was too great, and it could not last long. There was great reliance on the allied countries. The high-tech equipment was intensive and its key links rather weak; once they were damaged, combat effectiveness was greatly reduced. Also, if the adversary of the United States was not Iraq, if the battle was not fought on the flat desert, if the Iraq armed forces struck first during the phase when U.S. Armed Forces were still assembling, or if Iraq armed forces withdrew suddenly before the U.S. Armed Forces struck, then the outcome of the war might have been quite different. High-tech war has not at all changed the decisive role played by the people. In the history of wars, each time when there was a revolution in military technology, it was easier to ignore at the beginning, and then when it became established, its role was often exaggerated.
Strategy concerns the survival of a nation and the dangers of war and therefore must be handled with great care. For a nation or an army, the managing of strategy quite often decides the outcome of the war or the survival of a nation. We all know that the failure of the Soviet Union at the start of its war against Hitler was due to many factors, but it was chiefly because of strategic mistakes, and the causes can be found in Soviet strategic policies and combat theories. For instance, the Soviet Union did not seriously learn the lessons of the Spanish War and Germany's surprise attack on France. In the purges from 1937 to 1938, large numbers of senior military leaders were killed, and almost all the army corps, division and brigade commanders were changed. There was great retrogression in the Soviet Union's military. At the beginning of the war, the Soviet Union made a series of mistakes in strategic guidance. For instance, it incorrectly judged the timing of the enemy's attack, believing that war would break out in 1942 at the earliest. Additionally, it made a wrong guess about the direction of the German invasion. The Soviet Union also ignored strategic defense, pushing the areas of fortresses forward. The result was that while the old areas of fortresses had been dismantled, the new ones were not yet set up, and adjustments in deployment could not be made before Germany attacked. When the German armed forces attacked, the orders from the supreme commanding office of the Soviet Union were still to launch attack into German land, which was not in keeping with reality. So the mistakes in military theory and strategic policy caused irreparable damage to the country. Of course there were political reasons as well. In the past, we used to summarize only military factors, and not political ones. For example, there were over five million Soviet servicemen captured as prisoners of war. Its army was fighting for a just cause on its own land, so how were so many servicemen captured as prisoners of war? One reason may be that the broadened scope of the movement to eliminate the counter-revolutionaries lowered the cohesiveness of the armed forces.
The safeguarding of national interests and integrity of the national territory and sovereignty is the starting point and the ultimate goal for the study of strategy. The Chinese nation has a rich heritage of history and culture. The Chinese civilization has existed for over 5,000 years and is the only uninterrupted civilization in world history. Ancient Chinese fairy tales attribute the source of this vitality to reflections of the soul of the Chinese nation, which makes unremitting efforts for self-improvement and stresses morality and respect for others and national unity. Later, there were the Confucianists, who were kindhearted and self-restrained, the Taoists, who were gentle but firm and detached, and the military strategists. All these historical forces exerted great influence on the formation of the Chinese nation's soul and strategic thinking. They became the unifying consciousness of the Chinese nation, namely, the social opinion of maintaining the unity of the country and its territorial integrity and sovereignty, formed by a history of 2000 years of unification.
In Chinese history, starting from the Qin Dynasty's unification of China in 221 B.C. and up to the revolution of 1911, there were nine dynasties under which China was unified without interruption. The Han Dynasty was the longest, 426 years. Starting from the middle of Qing Dynasty, China was invaded by foreign powers, and the country became weaker and weaker. Emperors Kangxi and Qianlong concentrated on governing the border regions and successfully maintained stability in the border areas of Tibet and Mongolia. There were nearly 100 years of stability. After the mid-19th century, China entered a period of border troubles. There were two Opium Wars and the Sino-French war. The eastern gate was knocked open, and problems on the western border grew more acute, and the threat of imperialist aggression loomed over the entire country. The strategic directions of China have always been closely related. During the Qing Dynasty, there was the argument over which was more important, the defense of the sea or the defense of the border area. Actually, whenever there was a tense situation concerning the sea, the situation on the border would also be tense. The focal point of our strategic study is our national interests, and the interests of the Party and socialism. Our socialist cause of today did not come easy, it is the result of thousands of years of the fine cultural traditions of the Chinese nation and of the hard struggles and sacrifices by countless Chinese people with lofty ideals. One precondition for the study of the science of strategy is love for the motherland and for the socialist cause.
We should also master the correct theory of knowledge and methodology. The Marxist theory of knowledge and methodology is the essence of the works by Marx and Engels. It is a theoretical system of science and consistency. The statement by Engels that technology determines the tactics and economy is the material foundation of war still holds true today. Mao Zedong's military thought guided the Chinese revolutionary war to victory and is also the focal point for our study. Mao Zedong guided the Chinese revolutionary war for over 20 years. After the founding of new China, he again led the struggle of construction and national defense. Mao Zedong, a leader, statesman and military strategist, was able to combine military practice and military theory at the highest level.
From the files of the central archives, we can clearly see from the cables and directions Mao Zedong wrote to command battles that he was a great strategist of rare gifts and bold vision. Take the war to resist the United States and assist Korea for example. At that time, New China was just founded, there was a big flood in southern China, hungry people were anxiously waiting to be fed, and China's industries were still in shambles. It took unusual strategic daring and resolution to dare to fight against the number one power in the world. When our volunteer army entered Korea, the relative military strength between the enemy ground force and our force was 1 to 1.2, but if you count the enemy's ship-carried planes and aircraft carriers, and take into consideration the actual forces and weaponry, the enemy strength was several times our own. But under those circumstances, our army with Chairman Mao and General Peng as the commanders achieved great victories and gained prestige for our nation and army. The battlefield is the fairest test ground.
To fight against a superior force and win victory is the highest honor for our army. Mao Zedong's brilliance in military strategic thought is even acknowledged by our enemy. From the end of the Second World War to the Gulf War, the United States fought two local wars, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, and in both suffered defeat. In both, its opponent was China. In the Korean War, it was the direct opponent, and in the Vietnam War, the indirect opponent. Therefore, in order to master the essential points in the study of science of strategy, we should first of all master the Marxist theory of knowledge and methodology, study Mao Zedong's strategic thought, his strategic theory and practice, and means of war, as well as Deng Xiaoping's theory of military strategy in the new period.
It is also necessary to comprehend how to utilize the method of cause and effect analysis, statistics analysis, and systematic analysis, and bring to light the inherent laws of war. We should master the history of war, not only the Chinese history of war, but also the world history of war. Kissinger was once the chief foreign policy advisor for the United States Government. He studied 19th-century European military and diplomatic history for ideas to apply to the 20th-century. History itself is the object of cause and effect analysis. Through the study of history, we gain insight into real-life problems.
We should use the method of statistics analysis. Dupuy of the United States, who collected statistical figures on the wars from 1600 to 1973, drew the conclusion that though the weapons had become more and more powerful, everyday the casualties in combat had decreased. This was because the coefficient of dispersion of soldiers had increased 4,000 times. Of course, this is just an example of statistics analysis; whether the conclusion is correct or not is another matter. The Soviet army stipulated that an artillery battalion's salvo could suppress the center of resistance by a platoon, and that infantry density of fire should be eight bullets per minute per meter in the front. These statistics from the Second World War raised the level of theoretical understanding. The statistical analysis method is obviously relative in nature, but it is an important step in the law of understanding.
We should also use the systematic analysis method. We should conduct analysis with a full, systematic, developed, high-level point of view. We should see through the appearance to the essence, studying the intrinsic links and changes of the various factors of war. For instance, the development of technology and its application in war could cause changes in military equipment, and could in turn cause changes in strategies, battles, and tactics. It could also cause changes in the forms of arrangement for the armed forces and the principles and means of command. These changes would raise new requirements for technology. In these links and changes, military rules are fully revealed.
Finally, we should adhere to seeking truth from facts. This is a very important point. The study of strategy is to raise concepts from practice, and not from concept to practice, and not from idea to idea. We should explain things from their true features of objective fact, and the rules of practice should be taken as what they are. The worst truth is still better than the perfect false. This is the least we ask for the fearless spirit of science. We should be good at thinking independently, and should encourage creative thinking. We should not rely on a walking stick and throw away our own legs, by doing so we would never be able to climb the peaks of military science.
China has fought a number of local wars and built up rich experience in this area since the founding of the PRC. It has been guided by a strategy of active defense within a framework of countering possible large-scale invasions by outside enemies. While the Chinese theory of "modern local war," which has developed rapidly since the 1980s, has distinct Chinese characteristics and a distinctive Chinese style, the concept of "limited war" is a U.S. postwar [World War II] military concept that has long dominated U.S. foreign policy and military strategy. It still has a crucial influence in the United States today. The intent of this article is not to make a full comparison of these two conceptual theories, but rather only to analyze their major differences and bring them to public attention.
Concerning the historic social conditions in which these theories emerged, the U.S. concept of "limited war" was a theoretical reflection in the United States and the Western nations of the new international bipolar political order and the state of warfare under nuclear deterrence. This concept developed after the Korean War and peaked in the 1960s.
A research analyst at the Strategy Department, Academy of Military Science, Beijing, Chen Zhou is the author of works such as Theory and Practice of the People's Liberation Army's Democratic Institutions. This paper was originally published in China Military Science, no 4 (Winter 1995).
In contrast, the Chinese theory of "modern local war" is mainly the product of a rational recognition by the PRC of the changed contemporary international political order, the growing conflict between war and peace, and its own most pressing security issues.
This theory started to evolve under the conditions of preparations to counter a new all-out war of aggression against China while being forced to fight a number of local wars against aggression. It developed quickly, bringing a strategic change to the guiding ideology of our defense and military establishment. The concept of limited war that emerged after the Second World War was first set forth by certain U.S. and British academics, and developed mainly out of the U.S. overseas war experience. Its key substance is its advocacy that both sides in a war need to act in line with the "politics-first principle," voluntarily and consciously setting certain limits on their war objectives, means, and scopes, thus keeping the war controlled to meet the goal of achieving the maximum effect at less cost. While the emergence of this concept was not unrelated to public aversion to the destruction caused by the two World Wars, it was essentially a theoretical reflection in the United States and Western nations of the new international bipoplar political order and the state of warfare under nuclear deterrence.
The postwar United States, as the only power that did not suffer from large-scale war destruction," became in one leap the capitalist world's overlord and the world's top military power. America's actions and attempts to dominate the world were quite obvious; however, the evolution of the U.S.-Soviet bipolar order sharply restricted the U.S. and left it feeling that its own strategic interests were seriously "threatened." The United States on the one hand did not want to fight a major war, particularly a nuclear war, while on the other it needed to keep a rivalry going in the "intermediate zone" between the two major camps to maintain its world supremacy.
That was the historic setting in which the concept of limited war emerged. The evolution of this concept had two key features:
The U.S. focus in the 1980s on dealing with low-level conflicts through a "new timely reaction strategy," and its 1990s focus on dealing with large-scale regional conflicts through a "regional defense strategy" and a "selective timely-participation strategy," have all actually been influenced by the limited-war concept, and can be traced to the same origin.
The Chinese theory of "modern local war" has developed gradually under different historic conditions. It is mainly the product of the CCP's understanding of China's particular historic conditions, the changed international political order, the major conflicts that China needed to resolve, the most pressing security issues China was facing, and issues such as war versus revolution and war versus peace.
Its evolution can be divided into two major phases:
The strategic policy of active defense drawn up in 1956 by the Central Military Commission to defend China proceeded from and was grounded precisely in that need. In the 1960s, because of factors such as the rapidly changing international situation and the clamoring of the Guomindang authorities on Taiwan to "counterattack the mainland," Mao Zedong started to place more emphasis on the "inevitability" of war and the ties between war and revolution. Additionally he showed great concern about the threat of Soviet supremacy, and calling for our military strategy to be grounded in fighting sooner, fighting on a larger-scale, and fighting a nuclear war.
This thinking lasted until the 1970s, so an independent theory of local war generally did not emerge during that time. Leaders such as Mao Zedong, however, did discuss the matter of local war from the perspectives of preventing or postponing a new world war and studying the new features of imperialist-launched wars. They accumulated much valuable experience in modern local war from leading the War To Resist U.S. Aggression and Aid Korea, from self-defense in the Sino-Indian border counterattack, and certain other military struggles. For instance, in the War To Resist U.S. Aggression and Aid Korea, they held that on the one hand, it was only by sending troops to fight that they could curb the war's expansion, defend Chinese security, and put us in a state of readiness for war with the United States. On the other, they made painstaking plans in all areas such as the method, time, and scale of dispatching troops, and the targets and scopes of attack in an attempt to "keep the Korean problem localized," as well as promptly drawing up after the fifth campaign the general strategic guiding principle of "full readiness for protracted war while striving for peace talks to end the war."
It is obvious that there have been sharp differences in the postwar views of the United States and China over their respective stances on world order, the key security issues that have needed to be resolved, the major dangers that they have faced, international politics, and war versus peace. In addition, their different social systems, ideologies, overall national power, and cultural traditions have brought obviously different features to their two conceptual theories on local war.
Regarding the qualities, aims, and limits of these theories, the U.S. concept of limited war is essentially an offensive theory focused on the needs of the struggle for world supremacy. It provides the theoretical grounds for launching offensives and engaging in rivalries in the "intermediate zone," and all its battlefields are in places outside of or far from U.S. territory. In contrast, the Chinese theory of modern local war is a defensive one grounded in China's self-defense realities. It is aimed at defending our national sovereignty, rights, and interests and providing a secure and stable environment for our national modernization. All its battlefields are in border regions that are dependent on China or specific surrounding locales.
The United States did not want to fight a major war, particularly a nuclear war. The standoff between the two large East-West camps restricted any use of nuclear weapons. But to contain the growth of the socialist camp, to curb the serious threat to the west of the so-called "Communist expansion," and to maintain the U.S. standing of world supremacy, the United States had to engage in rivalries in the "intermediate zone" (also called the Eurasian mainland's "border zone" or "grey zone") between the two large camps.
As certain advocates of the limited-war concept repeatedly emphasized, to meet the objective of avoiding all-out war while "containing communism," the only rational means of resolution was to "draw up a strategy that places limits on war and can win limited wars." In keeping with such political needs, the limited-war concept was actually an offensive theory with aggressive features in particular terms. It reflected the interests of the United States and the Western nations, and served the needs of U.S. imperialist policy and its struggle for world supremacy. Meanwhile, the concept of "limited war" per se was relative, as the limited wars that the United States fought were undoubtedly full-scale wars as far as their opponents in small and weak countries were concerned. The limited war theoretician Osgood acknowledged in his book, A Review of Limited War (1979), that "the Western definition of limited war, just like the concept per se, certainly reflects not certain general realities, but rather only the interests of the Western allies, particularly U.S. interests, at a particular stage of international conflict." World history since the Second World War shows that the United States was directly or indirectly involved in over 50 of the 182 local wars and armed conflicts that occurred in the world from 1945 to 1986. Concerning the places and limits of such U.S. involvement, most were in Third World Asian, African, and Latin American countries far from the United States, of which the majority were in the so-called "intermediate zone"outside of the spheres of influence set by the Yalta Accord. It is obvious that the U.S. aim in direct incitement of or indirect involvement in local wars and armed conflicts was certainly not to defend its territorial security, rights, and interests, but rather to struggle with the Soviet Union over supremacy and spheres of influence. The limited-war concept provided the crucial theoretical grounds and practical means for achieving that aim.
Regarding its ideological and cultural origins, the limited-war concept carried forward both the U.S. strategic tradition and ideology that emphasized attack and expansion formed in its colonial period and in its transition from laissez-faire capitalism to imperialism, as well as the balance-of-power policy inherited from British imperialism. The "containment" policy originator Kennan and limited war theorists Osgood and Kissinger all belonged to the realism school of Western international political theory. That school's founder, Hans Morgenthau, wrote in his book, Politics Among Nations (1978), that "international politics, just like all other politics, is also a power struggle. . . throughout history, despite the social, economic, and political terms, international intercourse always occurs through a struggle for supremacy." A fundamental means of keeping peace is "the balance of forces formed through the struggle for power in the international arena." In addition, U.S. geopolitician Spikeman's "border zone" theory "to control the fate of the world, it is necessary to control Eurasia, the control of which in turn necessitates control of the border zone" is also a key ideological pillarof the containment policy and the limited war theory.
The Chinese theory of modern local war is a defensive strategic theory. Either when preparing to counter all-out war or when coping with local wars and armed conflicts, the strategic policy of the Chinese military has always been one of active defense. This was determined by China's socialist system, the nature of our people's army, our basic mission of modernization, and our peaceful foreign policy. The various local wars that China has fought since the founding of the PRC were aimed not at struggling for supremacy and engaging in expansionism, but rather at defending our country's territorial land, air, and sea sovereignty and our maritime rights and interests, as well as maintaining our national unity and security to provide a secure and stable environment for our national modernization.
Our strategic guidance in local war has always adhered to the principle of "gaining mastery by striking only after the enemy has struck." Mao Zedong's states, "We will not attack unless we are attacked, but if we are attacked, we will certainly counterattack" which insists on the principle of "fighting to promote talks," with fighting being in the interests of peace. This "reasonable, favorable, and restrained" principle is absolutely not an attempt to occupy another country's territory, so our war agenda genuinely becomes a backup for and means of our peaceful foreign policy.
We waged the War To Resist U.S. Aggression and Aid Korea mainly because the U.S. Army was already in Taiwan and had advanced to our border on the Yalu River, bringing the war to China's border. The Chinese Government had issued two warning statements, which had been formally transmitted through the Indian Ambassador in Washington. After the end of that war, the Chinese people's volunteer army had withdrawn completely from Korea on its own initiative by the end of 1958.
We were also forced to launch a counterattack in self-defense at the Sino-Indian border because the Indian Army had invaded Chinese territory and repeatedly created border bloodshed. The Chinese Ambassador to India frankly and sincerely told India our strategic motives, explaining that China's main attention and fighting direction was toward the east, not aimed at India. China would not be so foolish as to make enemies with the United States on the east and India on the west, to leave us with two priorities. Once we were forced to counterattack in self-defense on our border zone, we fought and settled the matter quickly, unilaterally withdrawing 20 km from the original line of real bilateral control after our victory.
U.S. strategic analyst Michael Mandelbaum wrote in his book, The Fate of Nations (1988), "[China's] every combat aim has been limited. China has never in any war tried to occupy another country's territory. The People's Liberation Army withdrew from Korea after the cease-fire. Having routed the Indian Army, it did not follow up the victory with hot pursuit. It withdrew from Vietnam just a few months after South Vietnam was occupied in 1979. And once the United States stopped bombing North Vietnam, China also withdrew the troops that it had sent in 1965 to support the North Vietnamese regime."
This assessment is in accordance with historic realities. The strategic tactics of "striking only after the enemy has struck" and being "reasonable, favorable, and restrained," which China pursues in local wars, not only have a unique standing in all of our contemporary political and military thinking but also reflect longstanding Chinese cultural traditions. We can cite here the Confucian thought that "peace is precious," the Mohist idea of being "nonoffensive," the Taoist concept of "strength in yielding," and our ancient Chinese military strategy of "subduing others without a fight." Of course, defense in Chinese modern local war theory is an active, not a passive defense, one that includes both counterattack and attack. Our strategic principle of"striking only after the enemy has struck"certainly does not exclude sudden "first strikes" in campaign battles or counterattacks in self-defense into enemy territory. Deng Xiaoping pointed out clearly in 1980 that "active defense is not merely defense per se, but includes defensive offensives. Active defense also includes our going out, so that if we are attacked, we will certainly counterattack!"
As to its theoretical ways, means, and effects, the U.S. concept of limited war is grounded in a policy of strength and superior technology and equipment. It is a combat theory for fighting conventional wars with mostly an allied strategy, with its Cold War experiences showing that it was less pro than con to have weakened U.S. might to a certain extent.
The Chinese theory of modern local war, on the other hand, is based on the concepts of a people's war and follows the policy of defeating with inferior equipment an enemy with superior equipment. It is a combat theory that adopts flexible and diverse combat forms and adheres to independence and autonomy. The practical experiences gained while implementing the theory show that it safeguards national security while raising a country's international prestige. Because the realism school of Western international political theory stresses that power struggles are the crux of international politics, it puts particular emphasis on national "might." Morgenthau says that "international politics can be defined as a sustained effort to maintain and increase one's own country's might while containing the power of other countries." Such thinking has had a profound influence on the concept of limited war. While the limited-war concept called for limiting the aims, means, and scope of war to prevent an all-out or nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union, it also held that military might is the only arbitrator of conflicts between nations, because "the inability to use force absolutely cannot ease tense situations, rather it probably will prolong all disputes indefinitely" (Kissinger, Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy).
The limited-war concept favors sharp development of conventional forces, because it is dependent on U.S. powerful might and superior technology and equipment to win conventional war and meet its political goals. In contrast to the strategy of massive retaliation, the timely reaction strategy focuses on limited war; it regards nuclear deterrence as a "shield" against nuclear attack and treats conventional forces as a "double-edged sword" to be used for charging and attacking, particularly emphasizing preparations to fight special and local wars. The new timely reaction strategy of the 1980s once again stressed fighting conventional wars, placing particular emphasis on coping with low-level conflicts, as well as calling for the large-scale development of high-tech conventional weaponry to make up U.S. conventional-force deficiencies. In the 1991 Gulf War, the United States abandoned its Vietnam War method of "gradual escalation." It used large amounts of high-tech weaponry to achieve its limited military objectives and had an absolute superiority of conventional forces. All of which were further developments of the limited-war concept.
Another keystone of the limited-war concept is its allied strategy. All postwar U.S. administrations have pursued an allied strategy whose main essence is collective security, which means that U.S. military strategy is grounded in a powerful system of allies. Limited-war theorists go on to note that not only does the allied policy absolutely not run counter to the limited-war strategy, but it should be seen as a special operation typical of the strategy. A strategy of all-out war could weaken the allied system in two ways, by making the allies believe either that they would not have to take any military action or that it would be best not to fight because the terms were ripe for peace through surrender. Therefore, it is only an understanding of the allied policy on limited-war terms that could make the allies want to take action (Kissinger, Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy).
The limited wars launched by the United States in the postwar period, whether fought directly or through "locals fighting locals," all paid great attention to bringing into full play the role of regional allies and groups. But while the limited-war concept reflects to a certain extent certain objective realities of the changed state of war since World War II, it has been frequently foiled in practice, the most typical example of which was the Vietnam War. The U.S. defeat in the Vietnam War at once touched off a major crisis for the limited-war concept. Some said that the concept emphasized matters such as limited political objectives, the deterrence policy, diplomatic action, and bargaining at the expense of the military issues involved in this new style of war such as how to bring the military role into full play. Others held that the lesson was mainly in its irregular-war part, because it had not drawn up a strategy for Third World limited war. Since the 1980s, the United States has summed up its Vietnam War lessons and revised its "old limited-war concept," doing well in repeated low-force operations such as the invasions of Grenada and Panama and the air raids on Libya. In these actions it has achieved a fast-fight, rapid-resolution effect.
The self-defense and defensive nature of the Chinese theory of modern local war means that it cannot and never has regarded local war as a tool for pursuing any policy of strength. Additionally, the current state of China's national and military power also leaves it with less options for combat means. While the local wars that China has fought since the founding of the PRC have been essentially conventional ones involving mostly ground forces and limited weaponry, the Chinese theory of modern local war also has its own sharp distinctions: