Local Wars and Integrated Joint Warfare Doctrine

Discussion in 'Professional Discussions' started by Norfolk, Apr 5, 2012.

  1. Norfolk
    Offline

    Norfolk Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    Messages:
    627
    Likes Received:
    0
    Haven't given this much thought until now, but an Asia Times article has sparked some thought on my part.

    Small wars loom large on China's horizon, by Jens Kastner, Asia Times, 6 April, 2012:

    and:

    also:

    Last month, Agence France-Presse reported on Premier Wen's remarks on the necessity of preparing for Local Wars;

    China must increase ability to win "local wars," PM says, AFP, Bangkok Post, 5 March, 2012:

    First, the bluntly obvious. In order to avoid, or at least mitigate the threat, of a potential loss of critical raw materials in the event of serious conflict with another great power or powers - and indeed in order to avoid a direct military clash with another Great Power in the first place - China finds itself strategically committed to securing access to raw materials in areas adjacent to China, not least the South China Sea. Many of these areas and their resources are in some dispute, not least by China itself. And if other means fail to secure these resources for China, China has been essentially warning that it will be prepared to secure them by force, relying upon surprise and speed in order to conclude issues in China's favour before any serious or effective outside intervention may occur.

    Consider these two pieces on Integrated Joint Warfare (IJW):

    Integrated Joint Operations by the PLA: An Assessment, by Mandip Singh, Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis, 11 December, 2011.

    PLA: Thrust on Integrated Joint Warfighting, by Lieutenant-General Gautam Banerjee, Indian Defence Review, 26 December, 2011.

    Now, the military doctrine that has apparently been designed for the purposes of securing China's strategic resources objectives is Integrated Joint Warfare. Over the last decade or so, the IJW concept has evolved from Joint Operations (JO), to Integrated Joint Operations (IJO), and now, Integrated Joint Warfare (IJW). At the highest level, IJW had involved the restructuring and integration of the Army, Navy, Air force, logistics, communications, reconnaissance, and information services and systems, defence industry, civil administration, all down the chain of command from the Central Military Commission (CMC), through the Military Regions. And all whilst engaging in broad-based modernization, particularly in the Navy and Air force. Within the Military Regions, some MR-level troops and equipment are being assigned as organic units or formations to individual Group Armies. This is the peacetime organization.

    In wartime, a "War Zone Campaign Command" (don't know if this anything close to a valid comparison, but it conjures memories of the old Soviet "Theatres of Strategic Direction" TVD's) directly subordinated to the Central Military Commission itself, would be established as the operational campaign headquarters in a given Military Region, with all of its forces and resources at it direct disposal. Mandip Singh:

    Lt. Gen. Banerjee describes Four Stages in the operational (but not tactical) conduct of IJW in order to achieve the strategic objectives of a "Local War Under Conditions of Informationization":

    General Banerjee assesses that China will not be fully capable of conducting IJW until around 2025. He also qualifies the use of the term "Local", saying that it sould not be taken to refer to merely "small" wars, but rather, wars of whatever size in areas adjacent to China itself. Mandip Singh considers that:

    This represents a very cursory (and admittedly somewhat sloppy) examination of the Local War and IJW doctrines on my part, and I'm curious to pick the brains of those who have been paying rather more attention to this than I. Is Gen. Banerjee more or less on target with his assessment that the PLA will achieve more or less full IJW capability around 2025? Does China possess a sufficent IJW capability now in order to guarantee its access to strategic external resources (such as in the South China Sea, Kyrgystan)? And is the whole Local Wars/IJW doctrine/concept even realistically capable of achieving its strategic objectives in the first place, namely that of securely strategic raw materials in areas adjacent to China without drawing another Great Power into a major war?
     
    #1
  2. SampanViking
    Offline

    SampanViking The Capitalist
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2005
    Messages:
    2,265
    Likes Received:
    236
    Location:
    Bristol UK
    Yes the ATOL article was a very interesting one and gave a bit of light on areas woefully neglected by the usual media.

    IS there any significance to Premier Wen's comments? It should eb remembered that these exhortations are issued fairly regularly by various senior government ministers and at the basic level are simply reminding the PLA of its core "Historic Mission" objectives, name to be able to acquire and master these abilities and use them to prosecute a "local war under conditions of informationalisation" successfully.

    In that light you have to reflect that the exhortations could be construed just as easily as a chastisement for slow progress as it could be for the prospect of imminent action and that neither are likely to be the true reason. There can be no doubt however that these capabilities are a true objective of the PLA and being pursued aggressively.

    You also have to be careful when you try and measure the progress as such will have distinctly Chinese Characteristics and organisations will be underpinned by basic Chinese cultural concepts which can lead for marked and suspected differences from corresponding non Chinese models, especially at the top of the tree which is where General Bannerjee aimed some of his remarks.

    He was certainly right however to highlight that "local" and "small" should not be considered interchangeable, as they most clearly are not.
    This underpins another significant difference between Chinese and other first tier military models; while the US for example has a "Anything, Anytime, Anywhere" strategic concept, the PLA is focused on a number of very specific scenarios along its periphery and within the periphery/collective territory of its strategic regional partners. This means that the PLA is able to configure its forces for very specific operational requirements and be able to concentrate them very quickly

    I am glad that the commentators did pick up that these strategies include land and not just maritime disputes as I am inclined to believe that excluding Taiwan, that the PRC regards land based threats as its top priority over even the loudest and most visible maritime ones.
     
    #2
  3. Norfolk
    Offline

    Norfolk Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    Messages:
    627
    Likes Received:
    0
    It's good to see an old China hand respond with his thoughts on this.

    While exhortations (and indeed, chastisements) for slow or inadequate progress or results is common to the point of being close to routine (though nothing like in Mao's days), I detect a increased sense of either urgency or assertiveness (one reason why is here, another is the recent renewal of Chinese territorial claims in parts of northern India, and of course various diplomatic maneouvres amongst many of China's neighbours, and the return of American troops on a temporary basis to the Philippines, as well as the permanent basing of U.S. troops in northern Australia). Or at least an increasing convergence of factors (the Indian assessments, the apparent progress in various joint exercises carried out, the Chinese carrier program and the incipient blue water navy). Taken singly, they may or may not represent anything; taken together as a trend, they signal something is approaching in the not-so-distant future. Or perhaps I am a little premature.

    However, if the PLA now possesses the ability to project division-level forces in each Military Region, fully integrated with naval (where applicable) and air elements at the operational level of war (such as in the West and North), and naval task forces fully integrated with air power and brigade- or division-level amphibious forces (such as in the East and South), the combined Local War/Integrated Joint Warfare Doctrines appear either to be more or less operative or on the verge of being so. Even if so far not put into practice.
     
    #3
  4. SampanViking
    Offline

    SampanViking The Capitalist
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2005
    Messages:
    2,265
    Likes Received:
    236
    Location:
    Bristol UK
    Urgency - well.........
    I know what you mean, but just take a look at what is happening across the more high tech spectra of Air Force and Navy. We are now starting to see the roll out of the next tier mass replacements for most of China's legacy platforms and this is itself forcing necessary changes throughout the services.

    As others have noted elsewhere, China has had a credibility problem in recruiting and retaining suitably hi calibre personnel for navy officers (and no doubt some specialist ratings). This is a legacy of much of the fleet being obsolete by design and of course unlikely to survive an encounter with another modern navy, which is hardly a career choice endorsement.

    As new platforms roll out China needs to get in place the personnel necessary to utilise the increased capability of the platform and this (given the scale and pace of the programme) is undoubtedly creating mismatches and delays/bottlenecks etc. I think then that a lot of exhortation is about raising the profile of the services and getting the necessary calibre personnel on board.

    Now, I must be the first to admit (before others line up to admit it on my behalf) that I am no expert whatsoever on the practicalities and technicalities of Battlefield Awareness and Fighting Networks. Even I however understand the basic concepts of Networks and Nodes and that if the Network is effective, it will work irrespective of the quality/sophistication of the individual nodes and that a good network with old nodes will be more effective than cutting edge nodes within a weak or none existent network.

    I also appreciate that in achieving the higher levels of operation (eg JWD) you do need nodes of sufficient sophistication to be able to operate in this environment and I suspect strongly that the time scale needed for China to be able to fully achieve these levels will be dictated by the time it takes to complete the role out of the new platforms and the time required to train and integrate the personnel rather than an inability to build and shape the network infrastructure.

    I will of course value correction and further detail from those who truly understand these systems.
     
    #4
  5. SampanViking
    Offline

    SampanViking The Capitalist
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2005
    Messages:
    2,265
    Likes Received:
    236
    Location:
    Bristol UK
    Lets try and move this on a little bit.

    The level of "Informationalisation" that China is able to achieve now and into the next decade is not going to be fixed or absolute and any particular level. Some units will indeed be able to operate at full JWD with maybe; as Norfolk suggests with at least one division sized organisation in every Military District achieving this level, with the remainder straggling at various levels down the sophistication ladder.

    In the last decade when we saw mass modernisation of Land Forces, the answer China applied to the lag problem was the Hi-Lo mix of which the T98/T96 MBT is the classic example. We all understood that the T98 was for the elite units and that the T96 was for the rest, but we were less sure of the ultimate objective. Originally I suspected that the mix was fixed and would represent a difference between professional and war time volunteer/conscript forces. It is now clear that Informationalisation was the point of differential and that while not all elements of hi-lo have been eradicated since, that as T96 units have been successfully "informationalised" that the tanks have been upgraded to specs not far off the T98/T99 level.

    The Hi-Lo route is fairly easy to implement in Land Forces but much more difficult in Sea and Air forces. There has been a lot of speculation of the PLAAF adopting something like the JF17 as a mass production Lo to replace much of the J7/J8 fleet, but this has not happened yet, which surely would have needed to have started by now if it were an option. Conversely at Sea, Hi-Lo seems a much more difficult option as what is the point in building a Lo Destroyer or Frigate. I suppose some may argue the 056 Corvette may be a Lo version Frigate, but I think that is very unfair as the 056 seems to be a fairly Hi design for a ship of its class and simply a reflection of technological advance over the platforms its seems likely to replace.

    The trouble though is that if Hi-Lo is not an option and that replacement will be a slower process of Hi Platforms, then you have legacy platforms remaining in service for another ten to twenty years and a much a slower rate of full service integration.

    Does anyone have any ideas or seen any evidence of who the PLA are intending to deal with this problem?
     
    #5

Share This Page