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130501-N-LE393-023 (May 1, 2013)  NEWPORT, R.I.  Kristen Gunness, an adjunct fellow for China affairs at the RAND Corporation, talks about China's major surface combatant ships during the China's Evolving Surface Fleet Conference at U.S. Naval War College in Newport, R.I. The conference focused on the chief of naval operations directed topics of China's surface capabilities and their strategic implications. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Eric Dietrich/Released)

By Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Ohl, U.S. Naval War College Public Affairs
May 6, 2013
NEWPORT, R.I. -- The China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI) hosted a two-day conference at the U.S. Naval War College (NWC) focusing on “China’s Evolving Surface Fleet,” May 1-2.
Over a half dozen panel discussions and conference addresses featured speakers from both U.S. and international navies, government officials and organizations, academics, and private sector professionals who shared their insights and expertise with the attendees.
CMSI chose the conference’s topic because of rapid advances in naval ship quality for the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), explained professor Peter Dutton, CMSI director.
“It is important for the U.S. Navy to understand these advancements in order to understand better how to emphasize the cooperative aspects of the US-China relationship and to reduce the competitive aspects of our relationship where possible,” said Dutton. 
The panels considered a diverse area of topics, such as past, current and future PLAN operations, logistical challenges and naval capabilities.  Dutton went on to elaborate on the panels and discussion that took place.
“This year's conference featured panels on China's evolving naval surface capacity, organizing and controlling China's surface fleet, developments in China's surface fleet support, and the aircraft carrier as a new surface element for China,” said Dutton.  “We also heard speakers discuss roles and missions of China's surface fleet, what surface fleet developments suggest about China's maritime strategy, international perspectives on China's evolving surface fleet, and implication of China's naval development for the U.S. Navy.”
CMSI was established in 2006 at NWC to support the Navy’s research needs and increases knowledge and understanding of the dimensions of China’s maritime rise.  Dutton commented on the history and purpose of the conference.
“This is the CMSI’s ninth annual conference,” said Dutton.  “They began in 2005 and have considered such issues as how to develop cooperation between the U.S. and Chinese navies, various aspects of the Chinese navy's force structure developments, and China's near seas and far seas maritime strategies.”

Edited by Cdr. Carla McCarthy