China Sustaining Steady and Broad Force Modernization

Using 2012 prices and estimates, in addition to China’s publicly announced figures, the US government believes that China’s total military expenditures in 2012 stood between $135 billion and $215 billion, said Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia David Helvey on Monday. He briefed Pentagon reporters on the Defense Department’s annual report to Congress on military and security developments in China. These investments continue a now two-decade trend of sustained Chinese defense spending increases, he said, noting that as the country’s international influence has grown, its military investments have become more diversified. While modernization for “high-intensity” and information-centric conflict in the Taiwan Strait still appears to remain the principal focus of China’s military modernization, the Asian giant is also investing in capability for “new historic missions” beyond its periphery, such as counterpiracy, humanitarian assistance, peace keeping, and regional military operations, he said. China’s leadership has sustained investments in several key areas, including short- and medium-range conventional ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, counterspace weaponry, and cyberspace capabilities, said Helvey. These appear designed to enable what Chinese military officials call “counter-intervention operations,” or anti-access, area-denial missions, he said. (China report; caution, large-sized file.) (Helvey transcript)