United States Defense Officials Evaluate China's War Readiness
Western Leaders Assess the War Capacity of China in a Recent Report
The United States Department of Defense (DoD) has stated that China's self-assessment of its war readiness reflects genuine concerns about its military preparedness for actual combat. The U.S. continues its assessments of rival powers as, in recent months, tensions between the U.S. and its allies within the NATO alliance, and China and its allies within the Sino-Russian and regional players have intensified.
Last month, in its annual report to Congress, the Pentagon revealed that China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) regularly conducts war readiness evaluations to identify military shortcomings and guide force-wide modernization efforts.
China's war readiness evaluations employ phrases such as the "Five Incapables," "Two Incompatibles," "Two Big Gaps," and "Three Whethers" to highlight areas that require improvement.
The DoD explains that the "five incapables" refer to Chinese commanders' inability to make appropriate operational decisions, deploy forces effectively, and handle unexpected war situations. It also signifies significant deficiencies in the military's training and education systems, with some military leaders being ill-prepared for modern warfare.
While the extent of the "Five Incapables" within the PLA is unspecified in its writings, PLA media outlets consistently raise awareness about them. According to the Pentagon report, this may indicate a lack of confidence within the PLA regarding its ability to execute its operational concepts.
The Pentagon further asserts that China is concerned about not meeting the requirements for winning a local war under-informed conditions, as well as being ill-prepared for war in the new stage of the new century. Beijing's defense officials are acutely aware that the PLA has not engaged in combat for decades and has not fought with its current capabilities and organizational structure.
PLA leaders and state media frequently emphasize the need to address the "peacetime disease" within the force. This disease manifests as lax training attitudes and practices that allegedly undermine combat readiness. The Pentagon's report suggests that China's war readiness evaluations serve as a call to remedy these issues and enhance its military capabilities.
According to the DoD, China's war readiness evaluations reflect a genuine commitment to modernizing its military and addressing its weaknesses. The PLA's focus on self-assessment and improvement demonstrates China's recognition of the evolving nature of warfare and its determination to adapt accordingly.
As tensions between China and the US persist, understanding China's military preparedness and intentions becomes increasingly crucial. The DoD's annual report provides valuable insights into China's war readiness evaluations and highlights areas where the PLA seeks to enhance its capabilities. By addressing these shortcomings, China aims to bolster its military preparedness and maintain its position as a global power.