China's Changing Approach to Military Strategy: The Science of Military Strategy from 2001 and 2013

Joe McReynolds, ed., The Evolution of China’s Military Strategy (Washington, DC: Brookings Forthcoming)

MIT Political Science Department Research Paper No. 2016-15

24 Pages Posted: 4 May 2016 Last revised: 14 Jun 2016

M. Taylor Fravel

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Political Science

Date Written: April 1, 2016

Abstract

The 2013 publication of the Science of Military Strategy is an essential source for understanding how China’s thinking about military strategy is changing. To examine how China’s approach to military strategy is changing, this chapter compares the 2013 edition of the Science of Military Strategy with the 2001 edition. The chapter reaches two conclusions. First, the 2013 edition represents an evolution of China’s approach to thinking about military strategy. It does not contain a description of a revolutionary new approach to China’s military strategy. Instead, it examines changes in China’s security environment through traditional concepts that have underpinned the PLA’s approach to strategy, such as “active defense,” by modifying or adjusting these ideas based on new circumstances. Second, a main theme throughout the text is how new and expanding interests overseas, along with worldwide advances in military technology and the posture of potential adversaries, are expanding the battlespace in which the PLA will need to operate and the importance of greater strategic depth. Thus, much of the book can be interpreted as examining how the PLA should respond to these new conditions based on its traditional approach to strategy.

Keywords: China, People's Liberation Army, Strategy, Military Strategy

Suggested Citation

Fravel, M. Taylor, China's Changing Approach to Military Strategy: The Science of Military Strategy from 2001 and 2013 (April 1, 2016). Joe McReynolds, ed., The Evolution of China’s Military Strategy (Washington, DC: Brookings Forthcoming); MIT Political Science Department Research Paper No. 2016-15. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2774761

M. Taylor Fravel (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Political Science ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States

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