China views the United States as its top security competitor, but it has taken a decidedly non-Soviet approach to dealing with the US, according to China expert Bernard Cole, professor of international history at the National War College. China has focused its military capabilities on specific scenarios, such as a war over Taiwan and not on an across-the-board competition with American military might, Cole said Tuesday at AFA’s Air & Space Conference. Throughout the 1980s, China modernized its military with the goal of catching up to US combat strengths. The American military prowess displayed in the 1991 Persian Gulf War dealt the Communist regime a rude wake-up call, however, as Beijing realized it was chasing a moving target—the US was probably even further ahead than when China’s military began it’s modernization effort. Consequently, said Cole, China has since pursued scenario-specific advances in airpower, networked capabilities, logistics, space capabilities … and avoiding US military strengths.
Adm. Christopher Grady, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs and head of the Joint Requirements Oversight Council, is pushing a “portfolio” approach to requirements and wants his position to have “more teeth” so he can enforce it.