By Daniel L. Kuester, U.S. Naval War College Public Affairs
Feb. 27, 2017
NEWPORT, R.I. – An expert on the faculty of U.S. Naval War College (NWC) in Newport, Rhode Island updated Congress on China’s current military capabilities, possible intentions, and what he sees as the future options in the region at a governmental committee meeting.
Andrew S. Erickson, professor of strategy at NWC in the China Maritime Studies Institute testified before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) in the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington.
“My key points are, with its ambitious ASBM (anti-ship ballistic missile) development, China is challenging U.S. Asia-Pacific interests and military influence in new ways,” said Erickson. “This is part of a much larger Chinese counter-intervention effort that is advancing significantly regardless of precise ASBM capabilities or limitations. While China’s missiles pose potential challenges to U.S. forces, ensuring that they can be targeted effectively is expensive and creates growing space-based electromagnetic spectrum vulnerabilities that can be exploited.”
The hearing was co-chaired by Carolyn Bartholomew and Sen. James Talent of Missouri.
Erickson went on to say that select regions are particularly active for the Chinese military right now.
“In what it (China) considers the near seas (the Yellow Sea, East China Sea, and the South China Sea), Beijing enjoys powerful synergies and advantages vis-à-vis the disputed sovereignty claims it pursues there,” Erickson testified, “increasingly in defiance of regional stability and international laws and norms, and supported by precision-targeted systems designed to challenge American sea control and make American intervention risky.”
The panel was titled “China’s Hypersonic and Maneuverable Re-Entry Vehicle Programs” and also included James Acton, co-director of Nuclear Policy Program and senior fellow, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; and Mark Stokes, executive director, Project 2049 Institute.
In closing, Erickson gave USCC some direction on where U.S. policy might go next.
“U.S. policymakers should enhance efforts at developing tailored countermeasures, particularly concerning electronic warfare,” Erickson said. “(U.S. should also) attempt to ensure that China doesn’t develop Scarborough Shoal into a key targeting node in the South China Sea, and increase U.S. Navy ship numbers to avoid presenting China with an over-concentrated target set.”
The USCC was created by the United States Congress in October 2000 with the legislative mandate to monitor, investigate, and submit to Congress an annual report on the national security implications of the bilateral trade and economic relationship between the United States and the People’s Republic of China, and to provide recommendations, where appropriate, to Congress for legislative and administrative action.