Report: China’s Advanced Weaponry Threatens U.S. Military; Beijing pursuing 'leap ahead' high tech arms strategy (excerpt)
China is developing an array of advanced, high technology weapons designed to defeat the United States in a future conflict, according to a congressional commission report.
"China is pursuing a range of advanced weapons with disruptive military potential," says the annual report of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.
The report outlines six types of advanced arms programs that Beijing has made a priority development in seeking "dominance" in the high-tech weapons area. They include maneuverable missile warheads, hypersonic weapons, laser and beam weapons, electromagnetic railguns, counterspace weapons, and artificial intelligence-directed robots. (end of excerpt)
Click here for the full story, on the Washington Beacon website.
(Source: U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission; issued Nov 17, 2017)
As the Commission’s Annual Report was going to print in October 2017, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was preparing to hold its 19th Party Congress, where it would appoint China’s new leadership team and set the agenda for the next five years of economic, political, and strategic development.
Chinese President and CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping, who has been methodically consolidating his political power since ascending to China’s highest office, is poised to emerge as the most powerful Chinese leader since Deng Xiaoping. What will China’s leaders prioritize over the next five years? How will they go about implementing these goals? And what will these priorities mean for the United States, economically, geopolitically, and militarily?
In following Chinese government actions over the past decade, the Commission has observed several trends that we expect will continue. (…/…)
CHAPTER 4, SECTION 2: CHINA’S PURSUIT OF ADVANCED WEAPONS
• China is pursuing a range of advanced weapons with disruptive military potential. Six types that China’s leaders have prioritized are maneuverable reentry vehicles, hypersonic weapons, directed energy weapons, electromagnetic railguns, counterspace weapons, and unmanned and artificial intelligence-equipped weapons.
• China’s advanced weapons programs align with the People’s Liberation Army’s overall modernization drive over the past several decades, but appear to reflect a more careful degree of planning as to the U.S. weaknesses they are designed to exploit.
• Current technological trends increase the difficulty of preserving an advantage in developing advanced weapons. The United States for the first time faces a peer technological competitor
—a country that is also one of its largest trading partners and that trades extensively with other high-tech powers—in an era in which private sector research and development with dual-use implications increasingly outpaces and contributes to military developments.
• The requirements for developing advanced weapons are fundamental scientific knowledge, unique materials, and abstract skill-based enablers (i.e., abilities, tools, and techniques). China has clear policies to exploit government funding, commercial technological exchange, foreign investment and acquisitions, and talent recruitment to bolster its dual-use technological advances. For China, the only ultimate barrier to such advances is likely to be effort—time, will, and money—and it will be difficult for the United States and its allies and partners to deter this.
• While China has only achieved incremental innovation in military technologies in the past, its research efforts at the technological frontier indicate it may be moving from a phase of “catching-up” to pursuing “leap-ahead” technologies. China’s limited returns on science and technology investments indicate shortcomings that may render its development of innovative advanced weapons more costly or protracted, but do not rule out successful innovation.
• China’s achievement of a surprise breakthrough in one of these technologies is possible, due to the secrecy surrounding these programs and the uncertain nature of advanced weapons development in general. Such a breakthrough could have significant strategic implications for the United States, particularly in its potential to further existing access challenges and hold forward deployed U.S. forces at risk.
• Given Beijing’s commitment to its current trajectory, and the lack of fundamental barriers to advanced weapons development apart from time and funding, the United States cannot assume it will have an enduring advantage in developing weapons at the technological frontier. (end of excerpt)
Click below for:
-- Chapter 4, Section 2: China’s Pursuit of Advanced Weapons
(44 PDF pages)
-- Executive Summary
(40 PDF pages
-- Annual report
(657 PDF pages)