PLA’s Growing Power Projection

China is making broad investments in key power projection capabilities to enable its military to respond quickly to crises beyond its immediate borders, according to the Pentagon’s annual assessment of Chinese military power. The report, released Thursday, states that China is building a military suited to “short duration, high intensity regional contingencies,” such as counter piracy efforts, peacekeeping, and humanitarian assistance activities. However, China also is expanding combined arms training for contingencies in the South and East China Seas, regions where territorial disputes with some of its neighbors have flared. According to the report, the October 2013 manuever-5 drill in the Philippine Sea was the “largest PLA Navy open ocean exercise to date.” China also conducted a series of joint exercises of ground, naval, and air forces in “large scale maneuvers” along China’s south and southeastern coasts between September and October 2013, states the report. In 2013, the country also began operational testing of its first aircraft carrier and continued development of its fifth generation fighter aircraft, the J-20 and J-31.