A Low-Visibility Force Multiplier: Assessing China's Cruise Missile Ambitions

By Meiter, John S. | Air & Space Power Journal, November 1, 2015 | Go to article overview

A Low-Visibility Force Multiplier: Assessing China's Cruise Missile Ambitions


Meiter, John S., Air & Space Power Journal


A Low-Visibility Force Multiplier: Assessing China's Cruise Missile Ambitions by Dennis M. Gormley, Andrew S. Erickson, and Jingdong Yuan. National Defense University Press (http://ndupress.ndu.edu), 260 Fifth Avenue, Building 64, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, DC 20319-5066, April 2014, 165 pages. Available free from http://ndupress .ndu.edu/Portals/68/Documents/Books/force-multiplier.pdf.

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the US military has searched for a military near-peer competitor that will justify its continued purchase of high-end military equipment and training for large force-on-force conventional warfare. For many people, that competitor is China, which possesses the fastest growing economy in the world, makes increasingly large expenditures on military equipment, and seeks to assert itself as a regional hegemon. Unsurprisingly, then, the US military is keeping a close eye on development of the Chinese military and its selection of investments in conventional force capability and foreign imports. A LowVisibility Force Multiplier is a thorough, albeit unclassified, review and assessment of one key portion of the Chinese military's advancement-specifically, its investment in cruise missiles.

This book is not for the amateur or casual reader. Despite its brevity, the study contains monotonous lists and descriptions of Chinese production companies, antiship and land-attack cruise missiles, and launch platforms. Furthermore, it contains a detailed examination of the confusion that exists about these missiles and companies, based on the secrecy that surrounds them and the muddle over their names and capabilities. For military professionals who want to expand their knowledge of the Chinese military threat or learn the complete lexicon of military cruise missiles and platforms developed or imported by China, A LowVisibility Force Multiplier satisfies that requirement.

The book builds the case that China is investing in its cruise missile program as a key component of an antiaccess/area denial capability against the United States. The Chinese military sees cruise missiles as a cheap and capable asymmetric military capability that gives it a significant military advantage in regional wars, especially a military campaign against Taiwan that would include US military intervention. …

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