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The Military Potential of China's Commercial Technology

Roger Cliff

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ISBN 10: 0833029398 / ISBN 13: 9780833029393
Published by RAND Corporation, 2001
New Condition: New Soft cover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Military Potential of China's Commercial...

Publisher: RAND Corporation

Publication Date: 2001

Binding: Paperback

Book Condition:New

About this title


China's economy is expected to grow over the next 20 years at a rate that will make it larger than the U.S. economy at the end of that period. This suggests that China has the economic potential to be a U.S. military rival by the year 2020. But can it become such a rival? At present, China's military hardware is largely based on 1950s Soviet technology. To produce weaponry technologically comparable to U.S. weaponry by 2020, China would have to improve its technological capabilities through internal, defense-industry efforts and/or other avenues: direct transfers of military technology from abroad, imports of components and equipment, and diffusion from China's civilian industries. Of these three, the third, diffusion from civilian industries, is the most promising over the long run. This report explores this option, examining China's current commercial technology in eight industries (microelectronics, computers, telecommunications equipment, nuclear power, biotechnology, chemicals, aviation, and space) that have the most potential for supporting military technology development, and assessing the prospects for technological progress (in terms of capabilities, effort, incentives, and institutions) over the next 10 to 20 years. The findings suggest that even though China's military will not be the U.S. military's technological equal by 2020, the U.S. still must prepare for a Chinese military whose capabilities will steadily advance in the next 10 to 20 years, perhaps developing capabilities in certain niches that will present difficulties for the U.S. military in some potential-conflict scenarios.

From the Publisher:

This report examines the potential of China's civilian industry toserve as a source of advanced technology for China's military. Itlooks at the current standing of China's commercial technology in anumber of industries with potential military applications andassesses prospects for further progress over the next 10 to 20 years. Itshould be of interest to researchers and policymakers who wish toknow about China's potential for developing advanced military sys-tems,as well as those who wish to know about China's commercialtechnological capabilities.This study is part of a larger, multiyear project on "Chinese DefenseModernization and Its Implications for the U.S. Air Force." OtherRAND reports from this project include Mark Burles, Chinese Policy Toward Russia and the Central AsianRepublics, MR-1045-AF, 1999. Daniel Byman and Roger Cliff, China's Arms Sales: Motivationsand Implications, MR-1119-AF, 1999. Zalmay Khalilzad, Abram N. Shulsky, Daniel L. Byman, RogerCliff, David T. Orletsky, David Shlapak, and Ashley Tellis, TheUnited States and a Rising China, MR-1082-AF, 1999. Mark Burles and Abram N. Shulsky, Patterns in China's Use ofForce: Evidence from History and Doctrinal Writings, MR-1160-AF,2000. Michael D. Swaine and Ashley Tellis, Interpreting China's GrandStrategy, MR-1121-AF, 2000.This project is conducted in the Strategy and Doctrine Program ofProject AIR FORCE under the sponsorship of the Deputy Chief ofStaff for Air and Space Operations, U.S. Air Force (AF/XO).Comments are welcome and may be directed either to the author orto the project leader, Dr. Zalmay Khalilzad. The cutoff date for re-searchin this report was November 2000.PROJECT AIR FORCEProject AIR FORCE, a division of RAND, is the Air Force federallyfunded research and development center (FFRDC) for studies andanalyses. It provides the Air Force with independent analyses of pol-icyalternatives affecting the development, employment, combatreadiness, and support of current and future aerospace forces. Re-searchis performed in four programs: Aerospace Force Develop-ment;Manpower, Personnel, and Training; Resource Management;and Strategy and Doctrine.

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