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by Richard Fisher, Jr.
Published on June 26th, 2013

At 83 pages, the United States Department of Defense Annual Report To Congress on Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2013 is almost twice the length of the 2012 version, and the same length as the 2011 report.  Credit for restoring this report to a useful length goes to the U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, led by Chairman Buck McKeon.  The Obama Administration had justified the 2012 report cutback as expense-related, but in a letter to then Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Chairman McKeon and his colleagues stated, "It would not appear the justification is cost-savings, but rather an internal decision to limit the amount of information provided to Congress.”  Despite its many flaws, since 1999 these annual reports mandated by the Congress have proven to be the most valid assessment of People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) modernization offered by any government, including that of China. Because China refuses to directly challenge this report by offering more credible explanations of its military developments and intentions, these reports stand as the best open record of China’s military transformation over the last decade.  As such, they have helped to guide debates over defense priorities and expenditures in the U.S. Congress and for other governments, so its 2012 truncation was both widely noticed and rightly rejected.  

Read the Download file whole report here.

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