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A comparison of strategic doctrines

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In principle it is not political choices that generate strategic doctrines. The opposite is true, if anything.

 In the case of China, for example, it is very useful to study the evolution of recent strategic assumption and the most current military doctrines so as to later analyse political and even ideological changes.

Hence, which are China’s future and preferential battlefields? Which are the threats that the Chinese decision-makers regard as primary and what is their origin? What wars will China wage and fight? Indeed, inter alia, a strategic doctrine also answers these questions.

First and foremost, China’s military leadership has shifted the centre of gravity of its defence activities from the terrestrial centre of the country to the peripheries, hence mainly to the coasts and, ultimately, to China’s regional seas.

 During the Cold War, China had adopted a defensive “all-out war”.

Currently the Chinese doctrine mainly concerns regional and limited wars, restrained both in time and space and in the use of force.

 This means that currently China has not yet vast global interests to defend with a war. It will soon have them, however.

 Moreover, currently the Chinese political and military decision-makers do not believe that – in the not too distant future – China will be involved in a global sea or territorial war.

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has a full monopoly of force in China.

  Moreover, the PLA does not depend directly on the Ministry of Defence, but only on the Communist Party of China (CPC).

 The PLA’s high-ranking officers report directly to the CPC’s Central Military Commission and not to other entities. Hence they take orders only from it. The PLA’s Commander-in-Chief is the General Secretary of the CPC; the Defence Minister reports only to the State Council and the Central Military Commission is only a very powerful body of the CPC.

With specific reference to military spending, the latest data reports a PLA’s annual cost of 250 billion U.S. dollars while, for example, the U.S. military budget amounts to 649 billion U.S. dollars, again based on the latest data available.

 The Chinese ground forces consist of 975,000 units, while the Navy of 240,000 and the Air Force of 395,000 units. The Strategic Missile Force uses 100,000 units, while the Strategic Support Force finally operates with 175,000 soldiers.

 Other unspecified tasks and functions are performed by 150,000 soldiers and officers.

As to materials used and weapons – which are a strategic indication and not just a mere information item – the PLA has 70 intercontinental ballistic missiles and 162 bombers; 3,860 armoured combat vehicles for infantry; 6,740 tanks and 13,420 artillery pieces; 57 missiles for submarine launch; 1 aircraft carrier, as well as 82 frigates and cruisers; 4 amphibious ships; 1,966 tactical aircraft; 246 attack helicopters and, finally, 77 military satellites.

So far the PLA has deeply studied the example of the U.S. war in Iraq and hence of the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA).

This means a war fought above all with advanced technologies, communication networks and particularly with the highest-precision weapons and information technology.

 Until the RMA adoption, China relied above all on the clear numerical superiority of its ground forces.

 In other words, the Chinese military doctrine was based on the fight against a land invasion or an occupation but, after the Gulf War and the Iraqi war waged and led by the United States, China began to reduce the size of its ground forces so as to focus on more technologically advanced and better trained Forces.

 Another key factor of Chinese military modernization has been Taiwan’s political status.

During the 1997 crisis, in fact, China did not succeed in discovering the way and extent of U.S. military engagement in the region.

 It was after this failure that China began to produce anti-ship missiles, medium range ballistic missiles, A2 anti-ship missiles and other anti-access-area denial weapons, as well as cyber- and anti-satellite weapons.

As a whole, the People’s Republic of China has developed four military doctrines since 1949.

 The doctrines developed before 1993, however, were all centred on the Maoist concept of “People’s War”, i.e. the “long-term People’s War”.

It was mainly based on maintaining the support of civilian population for the Armed Forces and on combining the efforts of the working class and of the “Red Army” led by the CPC.

 The strategic goal of the “People’s War”was to force enemies to enter China’s large central area, where they would be besieged and then defeated, again by the combined effect of the working class and the Red Army.

 In essence, the People’s War was aimed at being prolonged as much as possible and hence wearing and tearing the attackers.

Moreover, again according to Mao Zedong, the “long-term war” was based on three phases: strategic retreat, strategic stalemate and strategic counter-offensive.

With a view to completing these three phases, three types of Forces were needed: the regular army, the local forces and the guerrilla warfare forces.

 However, there is no theory of political warfare – also outside Marxism – which does not envisage guerrilla warfare.

 Towards the end of the Cold War, in 1980 China adopted the concept of the “People’s War under Modern Conditions”.

Again with the label of the Maoist “People’s War”, a war of defence was envisaged at various levels, which were already active at the borders, as well as far more offensive operations than those envisaged by the old “People’s War”.

 In 1993 – almost at the end of the Cold War, in which Mao Zedong never believed – China adopted a new doctrine, called “Winning Local Wars under High-Tech Conditions”.

While initially thePLA was thinking about a war of defence against a land invasion, in the case of that doctrine the Chinese decision-makers imagined a peripheral war in high-tech conditions.

 In other words, a defensive war against an attack by Taiwan, Japan, the United States or their regional allies.

 And by the Russian Federation, as well. The Chinese doctrine was no longer defensive, as it even suggested a first strike, including a nuclear one, to immediately provide China with an advantage over the attacker.

 The key concepts of the 1993 doctrine were the following: the “strategic frontier”, i.e. the limit beyond which you react, even with a nuclear salvo; “strategic deterrence”, which occurs when the enemy knows how China will react; “victory achieved through elite troops”, well beyond the old link between workers and the Red Army; “taking the initiative by striking first”; “victory over inferiority through superiority” – obviously of forces –  and finally “quick battles to force quick resolution”.

 A huge anthropological and cultural transformation, compared to the CPC’s political and military tradition.

 No longer war of attrition, but quick war not designed to annihilate the enemy. Then strategic deterrence is considered, i.e. the use of nuclear weapons, as well as the new role – certainly scarcely “Maoist” and scarcely “people-based” – of the elite troops.

 For Mao Zedong, at the core there was the “human sea” of his “People’s War”, not certainly the inequality between special forces and the rest of troops.

Moreover, there was another innovative aspect in the 1993 doctrine: the importance attached by China’s military decision-makers to the joint operations in its peripheries.

Reading between the lines, the CPC’s message was that, with the 1993 doctrine, China could solve the conflicts with its neighbouring countries by force.

 The 2004 doctrine was called “Winning Local Wars with Informatised Warfare”.

The core of the issue was “IT and computerization”, which replaced the more generic term used in the 1993 doctrine of “High-Tech Conditions”.

Besides underlining again the importance of joint operations, as in 1993, the 2004 doctrine highlighted the consistent, orderly and stable flow of information between the various command and control centres and the military operating on the battlefield.

 Therefore, since 2004 the core of the Chinese military reform has become the creation of a powerful command, control, communications, computers, intelligence and surveillance network (C4ISR).

The scenarios envisaged for the future war included, above all, the assault on the islands and the blockade of the islands, as well as counter-attack campaigns in border areas.

 Finally, there is also a new Chinese military doctrine, which is largely still operational.

 Released in 2014, it is called “Winning the Informatised Local Wars”.

The new Chinese “active defence” is based on it.

Although not radically changing the previous theories, the 2014 doctrine underlines the fundamental role of flexibility, mobility, joint operations, information dominance and precision raids.

 The strategic direction remains the usual one: South-East Asia and Taiwan, i.e. China, tell us – between the lines – that a future and probable conflict for Taiwan will also involve the United States.

Furthermore, the 2014 doctrine carefully sets the issue of Military Operations Other Than War (MOOTV), such as rescue operations; counter-terrorism; maintaining political and social stability; protection of rights and interests; peacekeeping activities and international humanitarian assistance.

 The Chinese PLA also distinguishes between MOOTW and Preparation for Military Struggle (PMS).

Therefore, incidentally, the primary goal is the war for conquering Taiwan, but the PLA is also preparing for regional wars in the South China Sea and Southeast Asia, while the current doctrine, from 2014 onwards, is a military theory linked to the solution of a “high-intensity conflict”.

 The Chinese planners’ idea is a “war for the destruction of systems”, as was the case during the Gulf War in 1991 or the Kosovo one in 1999.

 China currently implements the Effect Based Operation (EBO) criterion that the United States began to use in the mid-1990s.

The “war of systems” means that whoever wins paralyzes the enemies’  “system of systems”.

However, what would the United States do if it waged war against China? Most likely, it would start with operations on the Southern coast, with a view to decimating the Chinese Navy.

 This would be followed by a U.S. attack against the Chinese command and control networks to prevent the PLA from striking back immediately.

In all likelihood, China would respond by using its artificial islands in the South China Sea and initially relying on information superiority, which would be followed by a joint operation against the U.S. fleet and later by a joint attack on one or many U.S. bases in the South China Sea.

Advisory Board Co-chair Honoris Causa Professor Giancarlo Elia Valori is an eminent Italian economist and businessman. He holds prestigious academic distinctions and national orders. Mr. Valori has lectured on international affairs and economics at the world’s leading universities such as Peking University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Yeshiva University in New York. He currently chairs “International World Group”, he is also the honorary president of Huawei Italy, economic adviser to the Chinese giant HNA Group. In 1992 he was appointed Officier de la Légion d’Honneur de la République Francaise, with this motivation: “A man who can see across borders to understand the world” and in 2002 he received the title “Honorable” of the Académie des Sciences de l’Institut de France. “

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Defense

India’s Sprouting Counterforce Posture

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In recent years, the technological advancements by India in the domain of counterforce military capabilities have increased the vulnerability of the South Asian region. While trying to disturb the strategic stability in South Asia, India through its adventuresome counterforce posture against Pakistan is on the verge of becoming a rogue state. Notwithstanding the repercussions, India is voyaging towards destabilization in the South Asian Region.

India’s enhanced strategic nuclear capabilities which includes-the development of Multiple Independent Reentry Vehicles (MIRVs), Ballistic Missile Defence System (BMD), Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), supersonic and hypersonic cruise missiles, and acquisition of nuclear-capable submarines- indicate that India is moving away from its declared policy of ‘No First Use’ (NFU) towards a more aggressive, counterforce posture against Pakistan. The BMD and MIRV technology along with the provision of an advanced navigation system under BECA would embolden India to go for the first strike against Pakistan. While having reliance on BMD, as to be sheltered in return. These technological advancements made by India are sprouting a new era of counterforce posture, which would further make the South Asian region volatile and vulnerable to conflicts.

India’s urge to acquire counterforce capability is strongly associated with its doctrinal shift. As the stated posture requires flexibility in the use of nuclear weapons, which fortifies the first strike capability, and thus a deviation in India’s declared policy of ‘No First Use’ (NFU) has become more significant, particularly concerning its impact on regional stability. India’s declared policy of NFU, set out in Draft Nuclear Doctrine in 1999, followed by its first amendment in January 2003 has since then been into hot debates. Pakistan has long doubted the Indian policy of NFU, as the actions and statements by the officials of the latter have always been aggressive and protruding towards the former. India, now, is drifting away from its policy of NFU with the acquisition of counterforce capabilities, particularly against Pakistan. This is further evident from the statement issued by India’s Defense Minister Mr. Rajnath Singh, back in August 2019. It stated “Till today, our nuclear policy is ‘no-first-use’ (NFU). What happens in the future depends on the circumstances.” A change at the doctrinal level is evident in the Indian strategic enclave. Notwithstanding the challenges and repercussions caused by the counterforce strategy and with an attempt to destabilize the nuclear deterrence in the region, India would go unjustifiably low to attain such measures.  

In the same vein, India has been enhancing its nuclear capabilities for strategic flexibility against its regional rivals. By the same token, it wants to attain nuclear dominance, which would ultimately result in chaos in the region. The counterforce capability by India would compel its adversaries to heed towards the preemptive strike, in case of a crisis, out of the fear of the use of Nuclear weapons first by the patent enemy.  Moreover, the counterforce capability pushes the enemy to put the nuclear weapons on hair-trigger mode, which is directly linked with the crisis escalation.  The acquisition of counterforce capability by India would likely provoke a new arms race in the region. This would further destabilize the already volatile South Asian region. The far-reaching destabilization which India is trying to create, just to have an edge on the nuclear adversary, would be back on India’s face, faster than she knew it.

On the contrary, Pakistan has been maintaining a posture of Credible Minimum Deterrence (CMD) and does not claim to have a No-First Use (NFU) policy. Moreover, Pakistan’s nuclear capability is defensive in principle and a tool for deterrence. Given the Indian evolved notions of counterforce preemption, even now Pakistan would be left with no choice but to leave room for carrying out a ‘first strike’ as a feasible deterrent against India. Nevertheless, with the advent of technological innovations, its countermeasure arrives soon, too. Presently, there are two aspects that Pakistan should take into consideration; the growing Indo-US nexus and India’s concealed innovations in the nuclear posture. Though India is far from achieving counterforce strikes against Pakistan’s nuclear targets, concrete steps are required for maintaining future deterrence stability. With that intention, Pakistan might need to look towards its allies for getting hands-on the modern capabilities which includes- advanced communication and navigation systems, sensors, and advancements in artificial intelligence and otherwise, is essential for strengthening its deterrent capability. Pakistan should heed towards the development of absolute second-strike capability; as, what is survivable today, could be vulnerable tomorrow. Therefore, advancements in technology should be made for preserving nuclear deterrence in the future as well.

Summarizing it all, the existence of Pakistan’s nuclear deterrence has created a stable environment in the region, by deterring full-scale wars on multiple occasions that might have resulted in a nuclear exchange. With the revolution in nuclear technology, the threat of nuclear war has emerged again. Instead of going towards the attainment of peace and stability in the region, India has been enhancing its counterforce capabilities. This would likely remain a significant threat to the deterrence stability in the region. Moreover, any kind of failure to maintain nuclear deterrence in South Asia could result in an all-out war, without any escalation control. India, in its lust for power and hegemonic designs, has been destabilizing the region. Both the nuclear states in South Asia need to engage in arms restraint and escalation control measures. This seems to be a concrete and more plausible way out; else the new era of destabilization could be more disastrous.  

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A pig in a poke of Lithuanian Armed Forces

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The proverb “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link” perfectly reflects the situation in the Lithuanian armed forces. It is it unclear how the army will carry out its tasks, if everything that happens there runs counter to common sense.

The conscription took place in Lithuania. The recruits once again were revealed by an electronic lottery on January 7, 2021. 3,828 recruits were selected from the list of 38 thousand conscripts aged 18 to 23.

The idea of using electronic lottery in such a serious procedure arises a lot of questions among Lithuanians. Young people are suspicious of this method and fully admit the possibility of corruption. Nobody could check the results and so nobody could be blamed for random selection. The more so, the armed forces could get weaker recruits than in case of using usual ways of choosing among candidates. So, the army buys a pig in a poke.

This approach to recruitment in Lithuania results in presence of those with criminal intents and inclinations. Сases of crimes committed by Lithuanian military personnel have increased. Incidents with the involvement of military regularly occurred in Lithuania in 2020.

Thus, a soldier of the Lithuanian army was detained in Jurbarkas in October. He was driving under the influence of alcohol. A Lithuanian soldier suspected of drunk driving was detained also in Siauliai in December. Panevėžys County Chief Police Commissariat was looking for a soldier who deserted from the Lithuanian Armed Forces and so forth.

Such behaviour poses serious risks to public safety and leads to loss of confidence in the Lithuanian army in society.

Lithuanian military officials have chosen a new way to discourage young people from serving in the army, which is already not popular.

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” The ministry of defence decided to run a photo contest that would reflect service in the country’s armed forces. It is doubtful that such pictures will attract to the army, but the real situation is provided.

Usually, popularization is the act of making something attractive to the general public. This contest served the opposite goal. Look at the pictures and make conclusions.

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Fatah-1: A New Security and Technological Development About Pakistan’s Indigenous GMLRS

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Islamabad: It seems like 2021 has been a good start for Pakistan specifically with regard to stepping up its missile testing. On the 7th of January, the Pakistan military has successfully conducted a purely indigenously developed missile test flight known to be Fatah-1. As stated by various reports, Fatah-1 is an extended-range Guided Multi-Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) which itself is a developed variant of the guided MLRS family.

According to the recent statement given by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) about the newly developed rocket, it was stated: “The weapon system will give Pakistan Army capability of a precision target deep in the enemy territory.” Director-General of Pakistan Army, Media Wing, major general Babar Iftikhar on 7th January tweeted: “Pakistan today conducted a successful; test flight of indigenously developed Fatah-1, Guided Multi Launch Rocket System, capable of delivering a conventional Warhead up to a range of 140 km.”

Defense analyst Mr. Syed Muhammad Ali also stated in his capacity: “the new system was very fast, accurate, survivable, and difficult to intercept”. A video was also shared by ISPR on their official website, in which the missile launch can be seen while being fired from the launcher however, the details on when and where the test flight has taken place, along with the specification of the rocket system are yet to be announced.

Currently, Pakistan Army owns a wide range of Short-Range Ballistic Missiles (SRBM), Medium-Range Ballistic Missiles (MRBM), Battlefield Ballistic Missiles (BBM), Rocket Artillery, and Surface to Surface Cruise Missile (SSCM). In the previous year, Pakistan had also maintained prime success in conducting the Ra’ad-II cruise missile and Ghaznavi surface-to-surface ballistic missile (SSBM). Besides, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) on 30thDecember made apt progress when it comes to the national air defense arsenal as it was announced that PAF is beginning the production of the State-of-the-art JF-17 Thunder Block 3 fighter jets, at the same time acquiring the 14 dual-seat Jf-17 aircraft.

According to various reports, the JF-17 Thunder Block 3 will be said to have a new radar operational capability which will be far better in the practical domain as compared to the Raphael aircraft acquired by India. Whereas, the exchange of 14 dual-seat aircraft, manufactured with Pak-China cooperation were also given to the PAF which will be used for extensive training.

The recent successful testing of Fatah-1 has been considered to be another milestone for Pakistan as it tends to be a fitting response to the recent developments in the conventional capabilities carried out by India and also to India’s Cold Start Doctrine.

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