One of the key concerns of naval strategists and planners today is the nature of the Chinese geostrategic challenge. Conceding that no one can know for certain China's intentions in terms of future strategy, the editors of this timely book argue that the trajectory of Chinese nuclear propulsion for submarines may be one of the best single indicators of whether or not China intends to become a genuine global military power. Nuclear submarines, with their unparalleled survivability, remain ideal platforms for persistent operations in far-flung sea areas and offer an efficient means for China to strengthen deterrence and project power.
This collection of essays presents the latest thinking of leading experts on the emergence of a modern nuclear submarine fleet in China. Each contribution is packed with authoritative data and cogent analysis. The book has been compiled by four professors at the U.S. Naval War College who are co-founders of the college's recently established China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI). Given the opaque nature of China's undersea warfare development, readers will benefit from this penetrating investigation that considers the potential impact of revolutionary changes in Chinese nuclear submarine capabilities.
This book is essential reading for anyone interested in China's foreign and defense policies, in the future of the U.S. Navy, and in the defense of the United States.
Andrew S. Erickson
is an assistant professor at the China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI) in the Strategic Research Department of the Naval War College. He is an expert on Chinese and Japanese national security issues. Online at www.andrewerickson.com
Lyle J. Goldstein is an associate professor in the Strategic Research Department of the Naval War College and Director of the newly established China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI). His primary research interests encompass Chinese maritime development and nuclear strategy.
William S. Murray is an associate professor in the War Gaming Department of the Naval War College. A retired submariner, he focuses his attention on Chinese maritime issues.
Andrew R. Wilson is a professor in the Strategy and Policy Department of the Naval War College. His research centers on Chinese military history and China's classical military writings.
"Unknowns about China's Navy, especially its nuclear submarines, perplex our security planners. China's Future Nuclear Submarine Force presents the most accurate information—and the most savvy analysis—available. This thoughtful compendium is vital to any serious discussion of the PLA Navy."—Adm. Joseph W. Prueher, USN (Ret.), Former Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Command and Ambassador to China
"China's undersea fleet has been sharply focused on coastal defense and sea denial, largely in connection with Taiwan contingencies. With this role now assigned to a fleet of increasingly formidable diesel submarines, China's growing nuclear submarine fleet may be about to move beyond symbolism and experimentation to take on strategic missions farther from Chinese shores. This exceptionally fine compendium of essays by scholars and practitioners of submarine warfare brings together in one place most of what we know and don't know about China's nuclear submarine programs and doctrines. By comparing and contrasting the experiences of the U.S. and Soviet navies, the authors offer informed speculation about the possible roles of both nuclear attack and ballistic missile submarines in the rapidly modernizing People's Liberation Army Navy, and discuss the implications of differing scenarios for U.S. strategy and force structure. The result is a benchmark study that will both fascinate and inform anyone concerned with the future uses of sea power and the evolution of maritime strategy."—Amb. Chas. W. Freeman Jr., Chairman, Projects International, Inc., Former U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia and Assistant Secretary of Defense Chinese interpreter for President Richard M. Nixon
"captures important aspects of China's submarine force that explain the rationale for Beijing's large submarine investment, beginning by recounting its maritime goals and doctrine, then examining the applicability of a submarine force to these goals. …raises many important issues that influence the future of China's nuclear submarine force…."–Scott W. Bray (the U.S. Navy's Senior Intelligence Officer for China), "Turning to the Sea… This Time to Stay," Book Review Essay, Asia Policy, No. 9 (January 2010), pp. 167-72.
“This volume constitutes a great and useful effort to understand Chinese strategic planning for the near future.” — CHINA REVIEW International, Vol. 16, No. 4, 2009
"…provides both novices and experienced scholars an extensive primer on the context of the Chinese nuclear submarine fleet. It is quite readable, well organized, and extremely well documented in all chapters."–Lt. Col. John D. Becker, USA, Joint Force Quarterly, Vol. 52, No. 1 (2009), pp. 165-66.
"…creative use of Chinese sources has allowed [the authors] to penetrate the veil of secrecy drawn over China's submarine programme with surprising effectiveness."–Colin Green, Pacific Affairs, Vol. 81, No. 1 (Spring 2008), pp. 111-13.
"…features contributions by some of America's most prominent (and promising) analysts of PRC naval affairs."–Alan Wachman, Naval War College Review, Vol. 61, No. 2 (Spring 2008), p. 134.
"…offers the most comprehensive open-source analysis yet made public of the transformation of the PLAN and the central role that submarines are likely to play in the years ahead. …has already become the benchmark unclassified study on the development of the PLAN's sub-surface combat capability."–Richard Scott, "China's Submarine Force Awaits a Cultural Revolution," Jane's Navy International, 1 January 2008.
"…if a book such as China's Future Nuclear Submarine Force had appeared in 1930 on the subject of Japanese developments in naval air power and force projection, the U.S. 'battleship admirals' may have been overruled by the carrier advocates in the critical period leading up to the Pearl Harbor attack of December 7, 1941. This new book… is that good."–Gregory R. Copley, "The Pacific Turns a Pinker Hue," Maritime Studies, Issue 156 (September/October 2007), pp. 24-25.
"Reading this excellent volume should waken many of us in the U.S. Navy to remain vigilant and always explore the totality of assets a potential adversary may have, even though they maybe technologically inferior to our own."–LCDR Youssef Aboul-Enein, USN, Naval District Washington, DC, 10 May 2007.