Is China’s naval modernization cause for storm warnings? This topic is certainly of keen interest around the globe, and there are more perspectives on it than just one. This discussion does not purport to have all of the answers to the issue, but as a keen observer and longtime participant in the Pacific, I will try to frame some of the elements the United States, and particularly the U.S. Navy, may need to focus on as we move away from two ground wars in central Asia to what is arguably the key security issue facing the country today.
Two quotes in particular set the stage well. First, page 60 of the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) states: “However, lack of transparency and the nature of China’s military development and decision-making processes raise legitimate questions about its future conduct and intentions within Asia and beyond.”