Pentagon Soft-Pedals Report On China

The Pentagon's 2012 annual report on China's military is geared more toward diplomacy than intelligence or threat assessment. The report is half the expected size and omits key elements required for an accurate assessment of Beijing's alarming military buildup.

Included is an entire chapter on military exchanges but leaves out a previous reference to "China’s development of a new, road-mobile long-range missile that is likely to be equipped with multiple nuclear warheads. Earlier references to secret underground nuclear facilities contained in some 3,000 miles of tunnels also were left out of the latest report".

The report addresses many of China's developing military capabilities but also "plays down the potential impact of the Chinese military in Asia by highlighting the possible role for the new aircraft carrier in conducting humanitarian operations, instead of being used for military coercion in the disputed South China Sea and in other parts of Asia".

China's efforts to expand their space activities are also noted but there is no mention of China’s secret space arms programs. Those would include a comprehensive effort limit similar efforts by potential adversaries. The Free Beacon has much more on the report:

“In addition to the direct-ascent anti-satellite weapon tested in 2007, these counter-space capabilities also include jamming, laser, microwave, and cyber weapons,” the report said, noting that “proximity” maneuvers by satellites in space are a prerequisite for space warfare attacks.

In the cyber warfare and cyber espionage arena, China-based hackers continued to conduct attacks around the world against computer networks and systems, the report said.

“Intrusions in 2011 occurred in key sectors, including companies that directly support U.S. defense programs,” the report said, without mentioning the Chinese military’s role in cyber attacks.

The Pentagon had no comment. Chinese military affairs specialist with the International Assessment and Strategy Center, Richard Fisher, felt the report didn't live up to previous versions. Meanwhile, "Frank Gaffney, president of the Center for Security Policy, said the report appears to be part of an effort by the Obama administration to redefine the threat from China".


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