The authors maintain that the constrained strategic thinking in China about the role of airpower and force modernization will affect the ability of The Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force to become a credible offensive threat against the U.S. or its Asian allies.
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In light of the Gulf War, in which airpower played a more dominant, effective, and visible role than in past military conflicts, many nations in the world seem likely to increase their emphasis on airpower. To better understand the potential implications of such a shift in military strategy, Project AIR FORCE at RAND has launched a multiyear effort that addresses the emergent role of airpower. The analysis is divided into two main efforts. The first portion explores the probable future position of the United States in the global balance of airpower. The second portion of the research analyzes the air forces of various ,air powers to see how these nations and their air force leaderships think about the past, current, and future role of airpower in support of their national security objectives. This report, written in support of the second element of this research effort, provides an overview and assessment of China's large and diverse air arm-the People's Liberation Army Sir Force (PLAAF). Analysis of the PLAFF has traditionally focused on air order of battle enumerations and projections about equipment procurement. Until the past few years there were very few available primary source materials about the PLAAF. Virtually nothing was written in China to give the air force-or other Chinese military institutions-a detailed identity. As a result, only two blocks have been published in the West devoted to the PLAFF (Bueschel, 1968; Allen, 1991). This study, which draws extensively upon newly disseminated Chinese-language sources, should help to fill this gap in our knowledge. Kenneth Allen served as an Assistant Air Force attach‚ to China between 1987 and 1989 before retiring from the United States Air Force. In response to an invitation from RAND, he compiled and organized the primary source materials and prepared several earlier versions of the study. Glenn Krumel is a U.S. naval aviator (and a former Navy fellow at RAND) who flew combat missions in the Gulf War; he prepared the data on Chinese order of battle. Jonathan Pollack supplemented and integrated the overall analysis and prepared the concluding chapter. As part of the Project AIR FORCE, this study is primarily designed to provide an overview of the PLAAF to senior Department of Defense and USAD planers. However, the study is also designed to meet the needs of a more specialized audience, including new officers and enlisted linguists and analysts entering the Cina-watching field, as well as long-time scholars and analysts of the Chinese military. Therefore, the study includes details on the historical roots of the PLA, and PLAAF, along with the international setting, that laid the foundation for PLAAF's present organization and that provides additional insight into the PLAAF's future development. The analysis in this report reflects information available as of May 1995. This research was sponsored by Maj Gen Richard C. Bethurem, the Director of Plans, Headquarters, U.S. Air Force. The research was conducted within Project AIR FORCE's Strategy, Doctrine, and Force Structure Program. Comments and criticisms are welcomed. Please contact the authors or the Program Director, Dr. Zalmay Khalilzad, at 202-296-5000 ext. 5448.About the Author:
Jonathan Pollack is a consultant at RAND. He is widely known for his work on China's political and strategic roles; the international politics of Asia; U.S. policy in Asia; and Chinese technological and military development.
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Book Description Rand Publishing, 1995. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0833016482
Book Description Rand Publishing, 1995. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110833016482