U.S. Naval War College faculty members publish their learned opinions on diverse topics and time periods in various media outlets including academic journals, online publications, scholarly texts, and popular editions.
China's maritime "gray zone" operations represent a new challenge for the U.S. Navy and the sea services of our allies, partners, and friends in maritime East Asia. There, Beijing is waging what some Chinese sources term a "war without gunsmoke." Already winning in important areas, China could gain far more if left unchecked.
Escort operations by unarmed or lightly armed law-enforcement ships are an integral, but under-studied, part of China’s strategy to advance the country’s position in its maritime disputes.
What are the drivers behind China’s vigorous pursuit of sea power? What are the interests Beijing seeks to advance by building a powerful blue- water navy and the world’s largest coast guard? What are the principles that guide its use of sea power in pursuit of its national interest? How are China’s state objectives, and approaches to pursuing them, evolving over time?
The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is in the midst of a major, much-publicized augmentation of its maritime law-enforcement forces. The familiar lamentations among Chinese navalists—our law-enforcement ships are small and few; we can’t compare with other great powers—have been replaced by quiet recognition that China now possesses the world’s largest blue-water coast guard fleet.
The capstone U.S. Defense Department study on the future operational environment declares, "China's rise represents the most significant single event on the international horizon since the collapse of the Cold War.