To the United States, which for decades has been the dominant naval power in the world, China exemplifies the “near peer” rival—one that has come a long way in a short time, modernizing its armed forces to a level at which it is able to significantly challenge U.S. interests in the region. The changing face of China’s surface fleet is proof of its growing ambitions on the open ocean. It is developing not only carrier-based naval aviation, but area air-defense ships such as the Luyang II– and III–class destroyers to defend it—roughly equivalent to U.S. Arleigh Burke–class destroyers.
A Sling for Goliath
As potential adversaries modernize their ballistic-missile force, the United States should augment its counter–anti-access/area-denial strategies with small ships, anti-radar drones, and coastal-defense cruise missiles.
By Lieutenant John F. Tanalega, U.S. Navy