Monday, March 29, 2010

Decision on Marine Okinawa Base Imminent

Defense News


Decision on Marine Okinawa Base Imminent

July Elections Could Allow Ruling Party To Act Unilaterally


TAIPEI — Japanese and U.S. offi­cials met March 26 to discuss possibly moving U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Okinawa, but legislative elections scheduled for July could change the political dynamic of the controversial issue.

Following the meeting between U.S. Ambassador John Roos and Japan Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada, the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo issued a news release: “Today, the Government of Japan shared its current thinking with regard to the Futenma issue, which we will carefully consider. The United States and Japan will continue to work together as allies in a spirit of partnership as we move forward to resolve this issue.” Tokyo has previously promised a decision by the end of the month.

Military-to-military relations have soured between Japan and the United States since the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) ousted the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) from power in 2009 elections. The DPJ’s victory rocked relations with the Pentagon, when party members openly threatened to expel U.S. forces from the is­land and rewrite the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA).

The DPJ and other parties railed against a previous agreement to relocate Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to a new airfield to be constructed along the coastline at Camp Schwab in Nago, also in Okinawa. Critics complained the new runway would damage the island’s reef.

Two principal plans now being debated in Tokyo involve the construction of a runway in the inland area of Camp Schwab and the construction of an artificial island runway just off White Beach in Uruma District.

Christopher Hughes, a Japan military specialist and the author of the book “Japan’s Remilitarisation,” said the inland runway at Camp Schwab is getting a lot of attention. “This might be the plan that goes forward, but I do not see it actually flying because the Okinawans don’t like it, and I imagine the Pentagon is not going to like it unless it is told to like it by someone higher up.” Ultimately, after long and difficult negotiations, “I think Futenma could end up staying in Futenma,” he said.

One of the most controversial statements was the proposal by a DPJ ally, the far-left Social Democratic Party of Japan (SDPJ), that the base be moved to Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands, almost 1,400 miles from Okinawa.

The SDPJ has “taken interest in Tinian and Saipan as possible sites for Marines,” said Masashi Nishihara, president of the Research Institute for Peace and Security, Tokyo. They are “keen to find an alternative site outside of Okinawa and out of Japan.” However, if they are successful, “it will surely weaken the U.S. position in the western Pacific.”

A U.S. defense analyst based in Tokyo said there is some irony in the current predicament. The United States had complained for years that the LDP overlooked responsibility for Japan’s defense needs and relied too much on the U.S. military. Now, with the DPJ in control, there is no coherent policy to deal with the Pentagon. When the administration makes an announcement, “I’m not sure anyone believes them or understands them.”

One reason is that there has been “no serious debate” within the DPJ “regarding the future shape of the security posture due to fear of exposing an ideological confrontation within the party,” said retired Adm. Sumihiko Kawamura, deputy director of The Okazaki Institute in Tokyo.

“While Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama says the Japan-U.S. alliance remains the cornerstone of Japan’s diplomacy, his actions do not always follow this principle,” he said. “Hatoyama and his Cabinet members neither fully understand the significance of the alliance, nor share the view on keeping U.S. forces stationed in Japan — a core component of the alliance.”

Upcoming legislative elections in Japan could help ease tensions between Tokyo and Washington over basing issues in Okinawa and calls to rewrite SOFA. Both parties are gearing up for legislative elections to the House of Councillors (upper house) scheduled for July 11.

In the 242-seat House of Councillors, the DPJ has 115 seats and “has a majority with the support of its two minor coalition partners, the SDPJ and the People’s New Party,” Kawamura said.

If the DPJ can secure only seven more seats in the upcoming election, it could pursue “its policies without reserve,” allowing the party to develop a more coherent policy without catering to the SDPJ.

However, DPJ plans could be derailed. The LDP will be attempting to make a comeback by securing enough seats to disrupt DPJ’s power base in the legislature.

“A large-scale political realignment is likely to take place if the DPJ loses in the July election,” Kawamura said.

The return of the LDP to power might be the only way to save defense relations between Japan and the United States, but “only when the LDP can find a powerful leader or transform into a new conservative party which is capable of garnering the support from the majority of the public,” he said.

“Although the Japanese electorate has become increasingly disenchanted with the DPJ, there is little likelihood of the LDP regaining major influence, let alone control of Japanese policymaking,” said Bruce Klingner, an Asia specialist at the Heritage Foundation in Washington.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Japan's Fighter Contest Heats Up

Defense News


Japan's Fighter Contest Heats Up


TAIPEI and LONDON - After years of delay, Japan is moving forward on the F-X multirole fighter competition, and a request for proposals (RfP) could be issued as early as next month.

The F-X fills a requirement for 40 to 50 fighters to replace aging F-4EJ Kai Phantoms; first deliveries could begin in 2015 if a decision is made this year.

Contenders include the Eurofighter Typhoon, Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).

The competition has been delayed since 2007 due to budgetary constraints, political bickering and procurement scandals. The Japan Air Force also delayed the decision, hoping the U.S. would release exports of the F-22 Raptor, but production was canceled last year.

Sources indicate the RfP includes dual-engines for extended operations over water, a local role in the integration of the active electronically scanned array radar, an indigenous weapon system and licensed production by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which is facing a drop in work once production of the F-2 fighter ends.

One defense industry source in Tokyo expressed doubts that licensed production of only 40 to 50 fighters would be economically viable.

"The real challenge for the Japanese is to find work for the local industry without breaking the bank," he said. "Starting from scratch on an aircraft program like that is going to be astronomical in costs for the tooling and everything else. So who is going to start an entire assembly line for 40 to 50 aircraft? That doesn't mean they won't try to do something on the assembly of the aircraft, but licensed production is going to be expensive."

Tokyo may have to wait until the F-XX competition, the follow-on fighter competition after the F-X, for 200 to 250 fighters, which would be more cost-effective from a licensed production perspective, the source said. The F-XX competition is at least a decade away.

Despite cost challenges, all three competitors are offering local industrial participation.

"We understand that industrial base is a key element of Japan's national security posture," said John Giese, senior manager for international communications, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. "We feel F-35 offers significant opportunities for Japanese industrial participation, both in production and sustainment."

The U.S. government and Lockheed responded to Japan's formal request for F-35 data in 2007.

Giese said the selection of a fifth-generation fighter like the F-35 would be an "inflection point" that would give the Japan Air Force a "transformational capability" for the future.

Boeing is offering Japan licensed production of the Block II Super Hornet.

"We will work with Japanese industries to ensure that we provide for the licensed production of these aircraft," said Joseph Song, vice president for international business development, Boeing - Asia Pacific.

Song, along with a team from Raytheon, was in Tokyo last week to promote the Hornet.

The push to sell the Typhoon to Japan is led by Alenia, BAE Systems and EADS, which also sent a delegation to Tokyo this month to meet with industry and government officials.

The Europeans see an opportunity in Japan as the new Tokyo government grapples with Washington over the U.S. military base on Okinawa and other political issues. In 2009, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) unseated the long-standing Liberal Democratic Party and has since threatened to reduce the U.S. military presence.

"For Eurofighter, it wouldn't be easy as U.S. links there are strong and deep, but there is a feeling that the offer will be evaluated in a more neutral environment," a Eurofighter industry source said. "The Eurofighter position has also been helped by the good political support for the sale from the four Eurofighter nations."

On Eurofighter's chances, Song said Boeing had to take them seriously, "especially with the change in government, and the relationship between the DPJ and the Europeans is improving."

However, Japan has never bought European fighters, and some say interest in the Eurofighter is nothing more than a ploy.

Though the Rafale fighter will not be competing, Charles Edelstenne, Dassault Aviation's chairman and chief executive, dismissed chances Japan would buy a European fighter: "The Japanese will buy American. They say they might buy European, but that's just a way of putting pressure on the Americans."

The Japanese are looking to have the first aircraft by about 2015, and recent delays and cost overruns on the rival F-35 could make it difficult for Lockheed to make deliveries until 2020.

"The other problem for JSF is that there will be a very small, if any, role for Japanese industry in a program where supporting the local aerospace industry is a key requirement along with capability," the Eurofighter source said.

Lockheed's Giese denies the F-35 is hobbled by recent program troubles.

"The F-35 program fully meets Japan's F-X acquisition timeline and delivery requirements," he said. "The adjustments in the F-35 program have, in fact, strengthened the program for Japan."

Giese said production was on track and resources have been added to development. "The more conservative development schedule reduces concerns of programmatic risk," he said. "F-35 is on track to deliver fifth-generation fighter capability to meet Japan's requirements."

Pierre Tran in Paris contributed to this report.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Taiwan’s BMD Coming Online


Defense News

Taiwan’s BMD Coming Online


TAIPEI — New Taiwanese ballistic missile defense (BMD) capabilities are slowly coming online as China continues to build up its ballistic and cruise missile threat against the island.

Systems and equipment either entering service or in the pipeline include new early warning radar, an air defense command, Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) anti­missile systems and an upgrade of older PAC-2 Plus systems to PAC-3 standards.

Taiwan redoubled its BMD efforts after the 1995-96 Taiwan Strait missile crisis, in which China launched 10 Dong Feng-15 (M-9) short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) into the waters around the island. At that time, China had about 350 SRBMs deployed against Taiwan. That number has grown to 1,300, along with an unknown number of cruise missiles.

“China continues to field very large numbers of conventionally armed SRBMs opposite Taiwan and is developing a number of new mobile conventionally armed medium­range systems,” says the Pentagon’s February “Ballistic Missile Defense Review Report.”

Citing China’s development of ballistic missiles, including anti-ship missiles, the report notes a growing imbalance of power across the Taiwan Strait. This “concerns the United States,” the report says.

Taiwan first took an interest in the Raytheon Patriot anti-missile interceptor after the first Gulf War, ordering four PAC-2 fire units and 200 missiles in 1992. These are currently deployed around Taipei.

Despite expectations that Taiwan would procure more PAC-2s, debate in political circles in Taipei held up further procurements until 2007 when the U.S. released a $939 million upgrade of the PAC-2 systems to PAC-3 configuration.

Since 2008, the U.S. government has released $5.91 billion in two deals for 444 PAC-3 missiles, seven AN/MPQ-65 radar sets, 282 Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio Systems and 50 Multifunctional Information Distribution Systems.

Taiwan has also developed the Tien Kung (Sky Bow) series of anti­missile defense systems. Similar to the Patriot system, Tien Kungs are deployed throughout Taiwan and outer islands of Penghu and Tungyin. 

In 2004, the U.S. released an $800 million long-range ultra-high-frequency early warning radar (EWR) program to Taiwan. The Surveillance Radar Program was scheduled to go online in 2009, but mudslides have delayed construction efforts. The site is at Leshan Mountain (Happy Mountain) in west central Taiwan and will be able to see deep into China.

A former U.S. defense official said the facility would go online by the end of 2011.

“It is the best radar in the world in terms of range and capabilities,” he said. “It’s powerful due to size and aperture. But what really makes it powerful is the software that can handle a huge amount of tracks. It can handle not only air breathing and ballistic missile targets, but can also conduct surveillance on sea tracks and satellites.” However, the system is not expected to survive long in a war.

“In a conflict situation, especially a full-scale conflict, the radar has one mission — early warning of initial missile and air strikes,” he said. “Once it does its job, it’s not realistic to assume the radar would survive past initial missile strikes.”

Once the initial warning is sounded by the EWR, the new Anyu-4 air defense system would kick into action. Anyu-4 replaced four older air defense control and reporting centers with new Regional Operations Control Centers (ROCC).

In 2001, the U.S. released the sale of ROCCs and mobile and fixed radar systems for an undisclosed amount. Additional items, including the Program Automated Air Defense System, were released in 2005. The ROCCs will select whether PAC-3, Tien Kung or I-Hawk missiles should intercept the threat. 

No START for China 

Since 2008, there has been debate in Beijing over the possibility of reducing the number of SRBMs aimed at the island to improve political relations and hobble continued U.S. arms sales to Taiwan. Though there have been murmurings of a missile reduction, there has been no movement on the issue from China.

“Withdraw of some short-range missiles is not meaningful militarily,” said Joseph Wu, a former director of Taiwan’s de facto embassy in Washington. “They are mobile and can be redeployed quickly.”

Even if China reduced the number of missiles, it would have to renounce the use of force and allow Taiwan to supervise the dismantling of the missiles, Wu said. There would also be some opposition in Taiwan to the dismantling of missiles. Taiwan, said Wu, is “not prepared” to lose the “justification to buy arms from the United States.”

Beijing Shows Growing Ambitions in Warming Arctic


Defense News

Beijing Shows Growing Ambitions in Warming Arctic


TAIPEI — The People’s Liberation Army Navy is looking closely at the gradual opening of Arctic sea passages and the overall Arctic region. On March 5, a Chinese rear admiral subtly challenged the territorial claims of the five Arctic littoral states: Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia and the United States.

“The Arctic belongs to all the people around the world, as no nation has sovereignty over it,” Yin Zhuo told the state-controlled Xinhua News Agency.

The statement was a reference to provisions in the U.N. Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) that the Arctic is the “shared heritage of all mankind.” Yin’s voice joins others in Chinese policy circles who believe the Arctic has “significant military value,” according to “China Prepares for an Ice-Free Arctic,” a paper released March 1 by Linda Jakobson, a Beijing-based senior researcher for the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s China and Global Security Program.

In 2008, Senior Col. Han Xudong of the People’s Liberation Army wrote that the “possibility of use of force cannot be ruled out in the Arctic due to complex sovereignty disputes.” Li Zhenfu at China’s Dalian Maritime University advocates more aggressive claims. In 2009, Li criticized a pure scientific approach to the Arctic: China’s research “fails to provide fundamental information and scientific references for China to map out its Arctic strategy” and limits China’s efforts to protect its rights.

Yin, a senior researcher at the Navy’s equipment research center, has become a popular mouthpiece on sensitive topics. In December, Yin suggested China establish a naval base in the Gulf of Aden area to support the Navy’s anti-piracy efforts.

Dean Cheng, a Heritage Foundation analyst, believes Yin is part of China’s “‘legal warfare’ wherein the law is used, not to clarify, but to obfuscate.” China has a history of “idiosyncratic readings of UNCLOS” to justify particular territorial claims not recognized by the United States, he said, and used “similar claims to justify their interference with the USNS Impeccable and Victorious in 2009.”

UNCLOS is not necessarily the best tool to resolve Arctic claims, said Bernard “Bud” Cole, author of the book “The Great Wall at Sea.” “The treaty is far from clear on how to settle disputes, as we see in the East and South China Seas, and the Gulf of Thailand, among other places,” Cole said.

Jakobson said China has one of the world’s strongest polar scientific research programs. It has mounted 26 Antarctic expeditions and opened three research stations since 1984. In 2004, it established its first Arctic scientific research station, Huanghe (Yellow River) at Ny-Alesund in Norway’s Svalbard archipelago.

Energy is driving China’s interest in the Arctic, said Sam Bateman, senior fellow at the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Singapore.

“A large percentage of the world’s untapped reserves of oil and natural gas are believed to lie under the Arctic Ocean,” Bateman said.

China is likely to stake a claim to Arctic energy resources, but the matter will ultimately have to be settled by international agreement, he said. As a sea lane, Bateman said, the Arctic passageways at best “would only be usable during the summer season, and even then, ships may have to contend with floating ice.”

China’s Demographics May Mean Trouble, JOE Warns


Defense News

China’s Demographics May Mean Trouble, JOE Warns


TAIPEI — China’s demographic shift toward an older, male-heavy population is just one of the potentially destabilizing aspects of one of the greatest strategic question marks of the next 25 years, according to the Joint Operating Environment 2010 (JOE) report issued March 15 by U.S. Joint Forces Command.

Chinese academic and military writings indicate that Beijing believes the “window of opportunity” will last to the 2020s, “during which China can focus on domestic economic growth and expanded trade with the world to make it a truly great power,” the report said.

Yet China faces several potentially destabilizing demographic problems, primarily due to aging: “China may grow old before it grows rich,” the report said.

The one-child-per-family policy means that China will have a surplus male population of about 30 million by 2020.

“With birthrate replacement levels of 2.1 children per mother, China faces a ‘4-2-1 problem’ with four grandparents having two children and one grandchild, a demographic profile that makes intergenerational pension programs impossible to finance,” the report said.

Susan Shirk, former U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state responsible for China, downplayed the significance of demographic issues on security.

"The aging of China’s population will inevitably slow down economic growth and increase the government’s burden of caring for the elderly,” while the uneven sex ratio is likely to increase crime rates, Shirk said.

“But it is much harder to predict whether these problems will produce protests and organized challenges to the government,” she said. The report said the Chinese diaspora might lead to instability, especially in Siberia, “as ethnic Russians leave (perhaps as many as a half million in the 2000-2010 time frame, or 8 percent of the total population) and ethnic Chinese immigrate to the region.”

Currently, there are between 480,000 and 1 million ethnic Chinese in the region, roughly 6 percent to 12 percent of the population, the report said.

“Russia must carefully manage this demographic transition to avoid ethnic tensions that could erupt into a cross-border conflict with China,” according to the report. “Demographic and natural resource pressures across the Siberia/Manchuria border have significant implications for Moscow’s control of its far east.”

But Vassily Kashin, a researcher with the Moscow-based Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, said the Chinese migration issue is “overblown” and that current Russian “estimates put the number of Chinese migrants to Russia at about half a million for the whole country” — not just the region.

The report noted U.S. concern about China’s naval buildup, which it said reflected Beijing’s desire to secure the sea lanes that carry 80 percent of its oil.

“The U.S. Navy possesses the ability to shut down China’s energy imports of oil,” said the report, noting an unnamed Chinese naval strategist said that “the straits of Malacca are akin to breathing — to life itself.” The report also noted with concern Chinese anti-satellite warfare efforts, including Beijing’s attempt to blind a U.S. satellite in September 2006 and its shattering of an inactive weather satellite with a missile a few months later.

The report said China looks to two historical case studies for strategic guidance: the collapse of the Soviet Union, which taught Beijing not to build its military at the expense of economic growth, and the rise and fall of Germany in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

China has also paid a great deal of attention to U.S. military thinking, the report said: “In the year 2000, the PLA [People’s Liberation Army] had more students in America’s graduate schools than the U.S. military, giving the Chinese a growing understanding of America and its military.” JOE 2010 said little about the Taiwan issue beyond calling it a “wild card” and an “unclear” picture. The report suggests reunification might bring with it the “spread of democratic ideals to the mainland and a weakening of the [Chinese Communist] Party’s grip on an increasingly educated and sophisticated population.”

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

No Chinese Naval Base in N. Korea, Experts Say

Defense News


No Chinese Naval Base in N. Korea, Experts Say


TAIPEI - Fears that China will establish a naval presence at a port facility at North Korea's Rajin Port appear unfounded.

An agreement with a Chinese company to lease a pier at Rajin for 10 years was reported by the Chinese state-controlled Global Times on March 10.

The Chuangli Group, based at Dalian in China's Liaoning province, invested $3.6 million in 2009 to rebuild Pier No. 1 and is constructing a 40,000-square-meter warehouse at the port. The leasing agreement has given way to suggestions China could be attempting to establish its first naval base with access to the Sea of Japan.

The North Korean Navy does use Rajin as a base for smaller vessels, such as mine warfare and patrol vessels, but for the time being, it appears economics are the primary motivation for the Chinese company's presence there, said Bruce Bechtol, author of the book "Red Rogue: The Persistent Challenge of North Korea."

"Chinese investment has increased a great deal in North Korea in the past five years," he said. "It would not be a military port for the Chinese - as the North Koreans would be unlikely to ever allow such a thing." He noted there are no Chinese military installations in North Korea.

The Rajin facility will give Chinese importers and exporters direct access to the Sea of Japan for the first time. "It is the country's first access to the maritime space in its northeast since it was blocked over a century ago," the Global Times reported.

China lost access to the Sea of Japan during the Qing Dynasty in the 19th century after signing treaties under duress from Japan and Russia.

Various media in Japan and South Korea have suggested the lease might give China an opportunity to place a naval base at Rajin, but Bruce Klingner of the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., also downplayed the notion, saying North Korea's negative attitudes toward China and a fear of excessive Chinese influence would negate any chance Beijing could establish a naval presence there.

Klingner also said he doubts North Korea would make a success out of the agreement. "Pyongyang's aversion to implementing necessary economic reform and its ham-fisted treatment of investors suggests the new effort to turn Rajin into an investment hub will be as much a failure as the first attempt in the 1990s."

Monday, March 8, 2010

China’s Central Nuke Storage ID’d


Defense News

China’s Central Nuke Storage ID’d

By Wendell Minnick

TAIPEI — A Washington think tank says it knows where Beijing keeps its nukes, long a matter of speculation by China watchers.

Called Base 22 (96401 Unit) or the Taibai Complex, the central nuclear weapons storage facility is deep in side the Qinling Mountains of Shaanxi province, according to “China’s Nuclear Warhead Storage and Handling System,” a paper by Mark Stokes, executive director of the Project 2049 Institute.

Stokes, a U.S. defense attaché in Beijing from 1992-1995, said he discovered the location while canvassing Chinese-language literature from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and other government institutions.

As a defense attaché, Stokes helped to identify the locations of missile bases, command-and-control facilities, and radar and signal intelligence bases. In 1994, his efforts earned him the CIA’s Exceptional Collector National HUMINT Award, an honor sometimes dubbed “Spook of the Year.” Defense News was given an early draft of Stokes’ paper, which the institute plans to release soon.

Operated by the PLA’s Second Artillery Corps, Base 22 consists of two zones known as Hongchuan and the Hongling Command Center, both in Taibai County south of the city of Baoji, the paper says.

The underground complex is protected from blasts by granite, and from intrusion by infrared and video cameras, fingerprint access control and more, the paper says.

“Taibai may be one of the most secure warhead stockpile facilities in the world,” Stokes said.

He said China kept its location a secret in part to help improve deterrence. “Under a declaratory no-first use policy, the nuclear deterrent of the People’s Republic of China has relied upon quantitative and geographic ambiguity,” he said.

Stokes also said there had been confusion in the U.S. arms control community over whether the PLA or the civilian government controlled China’s nuclear weapons.

“One problem may be that the arms control community has been assuming that the guys they deal with in China, the civilians, are in control of the nuclear stockpile,” Stokes said. “It may be difficult to accept that the PLA is in charge, much less that storage is centralized.” The paper identifies a variety of other facilities. The Second Artillery Corps has a separate facility for missile storage, 96176 Unit, in Shangrao County, Jiangxi province, known as a “missile component depot.” Base 22 is supported by a civil engineering regiment under the 308 Engineering Command, based south of Taibai in the city of Hanzhong, and an installation engineering group in Luoyang, the paper says.

Within a few hundred miles are the warhead-making Factory 903 at Pingtongzhen, Sichuan province, roughly 345 kilometers away, and the Base 067, a new ballistic missile engine and component research and development complex belonging to China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp.

Central Control

“The concept of a central storage location is a reflection of Chinese nuclear policy and the Central Military Commission’s interest in maintaining control of China’s nuclear weapons,” said Hans Kristensen, who directs the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists in Washington.

As part of a deterrence strategy, nuclear warheads are moved back and forth from Taibai to missile bases by railroads, roads and by air, Stokes said.

These other bases “compensate somewhat for that vulnerability; their numbers are limited, too,” Kris tensen said. “Chinese nuclear planners have not been preoccupied with planning for protracted nuclear war fighting but with maintaining a basic nuclear deterrent.” “China has been developing its missile-carrying railroads in Jiangxi and Fujian provinces with impressive sophistication so that missiles can be launched between tunnels on the rail,” said Chong-Pin Lin, a former Taiwan deputy defense minister and author of the book “China’s Nuclear Weapons Strategy: Tradition within Evolution.”

Under Chinese nuclear doctrine, warheads are stored separately from their delivery systems, said Li Bin, director of the Arms Control Program and deputy director of the Institute of International Studies at Tsinghua University, Beijing.

“The simple reason is that the so called Chinese ‘nuclear missiles’ are not nuclear in peacetime. The U.S. and Russian nuclear missiles are on hair-trigger alert and have danger of accidental launch,” Li said.

Friday, March 5, 2010

China's Defense Spending Growth Slows

Defense News


China's Defense Spending Growth Slows

By Wendell Minnick

TAIPEI - China's defense spending will rise 7.5 percent to $76.3 billion in 2010, according to a draft budget report released March 4.

That's quite a bit slower than the 12.9 percent average growth from 1996 through 2008, a period in which the country's GDP grew by an annual average of 9.6 percent. Chinese defense spending has more than tripled since 2000, when the official budget was $23.7 billion.

"At the end of the day, their defense budget grew 7.5 percent this year," said Scott Harold, a Rand researcher living in Hong Kong. "Who else's budget grew by that much? And why did they grow their budget that much, especially at a time when they enjoy a dramatically better relationship with Taiwan and have tremendous civilian-side fiscal needs?"

Among world militaries, China's $76.3 billion budget trails only the Pentagon, which plans to spend almost $710 billion in 2010.

"China overtook Japan a few years ago, and more recently, France, Britain and Russia," said Richard Bitzinger, a former CIA analyst at the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies at Singapore's S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.

Bitzinger also suggested there might be internal politics at work.

"It may be that some in Beijing feel that the military had done pretty well over the past 15 years and that it's time to rein things in a little bit," he said. With natural disasters like the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, the "leadership could be shifting priorities."


Growth may be slowing as the government prepares to move from the final year of its 11th Five-Year Plan, which ends in 2010, into the 12th, said Tai Ming Cheung, author of the book, "Fortifying China: The Struggle to Build a Modern Defense Economy."

"It could suggest that defense spending for the 12th Five-Year Plan may be pegged to a lower rate of increase," Cheung said. "Past precedents suggest that the level of defense budget increases in the first year of a five-year plan provides a rule of thumb of the level of increases for the following four years, subject to annual economic conditions."

The lower growth also might indicate that the military has reached many of its medium-term goals.

"If the above information is correct, the military has achieved much of what they wanted in the previous four years, and a smaller increase in 2010 can meet their five-year increase target settled in 2005," said Arthur Ding, a Taiwan-based China military specialist at National Chengchi University.

Cheung also said the low inflation - "near zero compared to much higher inflation rates in past years" - might have reduced expenses. In recent years, Chinese government officials have often attributed the speed of budget growth to inflation.

Cheung said the Chinese military has spent heavily to raise salaries and living standards, a drive that may have reached its goal.

"This has allowed military personnel to catch up with their civilian counterparts," he said. "The military may now be able to slow down spending in this area."

Yet another reason might be a crackdown on corruption: bribery for advancement and promotion, unauthorized contracts and projects, and procurement programs. In 2008, Beijing launched a five-year anti-corruption campaign that has resulted in hundreds of arrests of government and military officials.

According to the Pentagon's annual 2009 report on China's military modernization, China's National Audit Agency uncovered $170 billion in misappropriated and misspent public funds between 1996 and 2005. In 2003 alone, corruption cost the Chinese government as much as $86 billion, "an amount that was more than double China's announced defense budget for that year," said the Pentagon report.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

L-3 Wins Award for Taiwan F-16s at Luke

Defense News


L-3 Wins Award for Taiwan F-16s at Luke

By Wendell Minnick

L-3 Communications Vertex Aerospace was awarded a $7.8 million contract Tuesday to provide aircraft flight-line maintenance for F-16 aircraft and add sharpshooter targeting pod maintenance in support of Taiwan's F-16 program at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz.

The contract was awarded by the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency. The contracting activity was Randolph Air Force Base, Texas.

Taiwan's 21st Tactical Fighter Squadron, "The Gamblers," has been based at Luke since the 1990s for training. The squadron is made up of 12 F-16A/B Block 20 fighter aircraft.

Taiwan has been unsuccessfully attempting to procure 66 new F-16C/D Block 50/52 since 2006 to replace aging F-5 Tigers. If the sale goes forward, a second squadron of F-16s is expected to be based at Luke.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Paper: Taiwan’s C4ISR Still Needs Improvement

Defense News


Paper: Taiwan’s C4ISR Still Needs Improvement


TAIPEI — Taiwan must continue improving its C4ISR capabilities if it is to survive a war with China, a new paper warns.

The island must build on the foundation laid by the nine-year­old Po Sheng (Broad Victory) C4I program, which has created a tactical network based on the U.S. Link-16 and the Joint Tactical Information Distribution System (JTIDS), according to “Revolutionizing Taiwan’s Security: Leveraging C4ISR for Traditional and Non-Traditional Challenges,” issued Feb. 19 by the Project 2049 Institute in Washington.

The paper’s recommendations include improvements in anti-submarine warfare; maritime domain awareness; voice communication; and dual-use space systems, including electro-optical, synthetic aperture radar and broadband communication satellites.

Budget pressures forced Taiwan to cut one-third of the original $3.5 billion Po Sheng plan. As it stands, only 60 of Taiwan’s 146 F-16A/Bs have Link-16 Multifunctional Information Distribution System­Low Volume Terminals and none of the Mirage fighters have them, thanks to an “inability to obtain French cooperation in the integration effort,” said Fu Mei, director of the Taiwan Security Analysis Center.

Fu said the Navy has installed the Link-16 terminals on two of its eight PFG-2 Perry-class frigates and three of six La Fayette-class frigates.

The U.S. arms package proposed in January includes 34 terminals for the Air Force and 24 for the Navy.

“These should steadily and significantly improve the situational awareness and jointness of Taiwan’s air and naval forces,” Fu said.

Moreover, Link-16 terminals, displays and command interfaces have already been installed in the Combined Operations Center and the services’ major command centers.

“Po Sheng basically followed a building block strategy so that more platforms can easily be added to the infrastructure,” Fu said.

But other vital C4ISR gear was never part of the effort, wrote Mark Stokes, the author of the Project 2049 report.

“The Po Sheng program has not included intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities,” such as UAVs, radar systems, signals intelligence systems and space-based sensors, wrote Stokes, a former senior country director for Taiwan in the U.S. Department of Defense.

Taiwan’s military has no opera­tional UAVs; the military-run Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology is expected to ready one for service next year.

Taiwan has spent large chunks of money on survivable early warning, air surveillance, and command and control. For example, it is building an $800 million long-range phased­array UHF early warning radar in central Taiwan to track Chinese aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles, and satellites. But it would not long survive a full-scale Chinese attack, so Taiwan is also buying other surveillance assets, including new L­and S-band radars.

Along those lines, Stokes wrote, Taiwan should also buy passive ground-based sensors to augment conventional UHF, L-, S- and X­band radars that “may be vulnerable to jamming or physical destruction” by Chinese anti-radia­tion missiles and jammers.

Taiwan should also consider “wide area surveillance that is capable of cooperative and non-cooperative tracking and detection in all domains,” especially “over-the­horizon radar systems, an undersea surveillance system, and mobile undersea sensors [that] offer significant capabilities for all-hazards defense.” Stokes said the undersea system could include small sensor-carrying submarines that could discreetly monitor line-of-sight transmissions.

“Their stealth and ability to maintain on station for long periods of time can often foil an adversary’s attempt to deny or deceive intelligence collection efforts,” Stokes said.

Gary Schmitt, an intelligence specialist at the American Enter­prise Institute in Washington, said, “modern warfare requires a sophisticated ‘central nervous system’ to operate effectively, but Taiwan’s C4ISR is not nearly as so­phisticated or redundant as it needs to be, especially in the face of known [People’s Liberation Army] plans to attack it.”

Stokes said that in a war, China might use electronic warfare to target leadership and operational­level communications. China wants to be able to disrupt advanced tactical data links, Chinese technical writings show.

“In addition, false communications networks would be launched to imitate real ones in an attempt to deceive Taiwan and U.S. intelligence assets,” Stokes wrote.

“China’s most respected advocates of information warfare” are pushing to develop “more exotic forms of electronic warfare,” such as microwave devices and other electromagnetic pulse weapons that could disrupt not just Taiwanese but U.S. military communications and sensors, Stokes said.

Old Docs, New Images Reveal China Spy Base

Defense News


Old Docs, New Images Reveal China Spy Base


TAIPEI — New imagery updated on Google Earth has unveiled the location of a Chinese signals intelligence (SIGINT) base on the Chinese coast directly across from northern Taiwan.

Declassified U.S. CIA reports obtained by Defense News confirm the identity and purpose of the facility, located 140 kilometers from Taiwan at 25 degrees, 24 minutes, 55.48 seconds north by 119 degrees, 37 minutes, 53.81 seconds east.

Its primary mission is to collect electronic intelligence (ELINT) and communications intelligence (COMINT) on Taiwan and military vessels transiting the Taiwan Strait, said Desmond Ball, a SIGINT specialist at Australian National University’s Strategic and Defence Studies Centre.

Though the two CIA documents are dated 1965 and 1969, the new imagery confirms the base is still in operation. Described as a “coastal hill” in the documents, the facility is 415 meters above sea level.

“This site location is unique in that it is the closest high point on the mainland of China to Taiwan,” the 1965 CIA report states.

The documents call it “Tachiu” and “Tung-Ching-Shan,” but a “better, more modern Pinyin alternative would be ‘Daqiu,’ which is actually the name of the village just west of the site,” said Ian Easton, a China military specialist at the Project 2049 Institute in Washington. “The facility actually sits on Dongjing Shan, which means ‘East Capital Mountain.’”

According to the 1965 report, the site covers 2 acres with about 50 antennas of different configurations. Photos in the documents indicate excavations for what could be two underground entrances, but openings are not visible in the new imagery on Google Earth, Ball said.

The 1965 CIA report states the facility performs “passive ELINT intercept to be directed against northwestern Taiwan with primary emphasis in the area of Taichung and Hsinchu ... a probable Chicom [Chinese Communist] attempt at intercept of Chinat [Chinese Nation­alist or KMT] air-to-ground communications.” Today, Taiwan’s 499th Tactical Fighter Wing operates Mirage 2000-5 fighters from Hsinchu Air Force Base, and its 427th Tactical Fighter Wing flies Indigenous Defense Fighters from Taichung Air Force Base.

Based on new imagery available from Google Earth, the Chinese facility has grown and been upgraded. “Overall, it is a very large facility in terms of numbers of antennas, quite comprehensive in its coverage from high frequency up to super high frequency and doing both ELINT and, COMINT,” Ball said.

Comparisons between the CIA reports and new imagery of the site indicate there is a “new tower to the north with the dome on top, slightly smaller than the central one,” which “would be UHF and [super high-frequency] ELINT,” Ball said.

A number of radomes at the site were not there in the 1960s. The primary radome is 38 meters wide.

“The new radomes would be cov­ering the upper UHF and the [super high-frequency] bands. So, basically, the new systems have extended the coverage of the facility into these higher bands, matching the evolution of communications and radar technology also into these bands,” he said.

“Note that the 39 antennas identi­fied in the 1969 report were primarily VHF, though some of the parabolic antennas probably extended up into the UHF band,” Ball said.

“I am assuming that some and probably many of the 23 masts of unidentified function were for [high-frequency] reception, supporting wires that simply don’t show up in this photography. The central large, tall tower was and still is probably doing VHF ELINT, with a variety of antennas on its top.” A comparison of the Google Earth imagery with photos in the 1969 CIA report shows that many of the same antennas remain.

“I think that the new radomes are supplementations, not replace­ments, for the older antennas,” said Ball.

“In addition, the Google Earth imagery shows another tall tower at the end of the curly road to the northwest, and maybe six to eight radomes and dishes — four white ones in the complex north of the central tower, three shadows evincing radomes or dishes in a line in that same complex, perhaps one on the east side of the central tower, and perhaps a couple in the farm on the west side,” Ball said.

A Taiwan defense official confirmed the existence of the facility and said countermeasures have been taken. Taiwan’s military has upgraded security of its communications over the past 10 years under the Po Sheng C4ISR modernization program.