The progressive neutering of the annual Pentagon China military power reports is unfortunate, as the report has been among the most authoritative sources of information on specific Chinese military capabilities in recent years. Given the People’s Liberation Army’s unwillingness to reveal this information itself, the report has been one of the few reliable sources of transparency to inform foreign analysts, scholars, and citizens about important Chinese military developments that often have global repercussions. China has experienced important military and security changes over the past year, yet aside from its reformatted font and graphics, the 2012 report proves thin on new content.
I vividly recall reading the annual report on the Soviets from the 1980s. Each year, it was a concise, well written explanation of the Soviet military, from their strategic aims, to the basics of their organization and equipment. For the lay reader, it was the go to source for understanding the potential threat we faced.
That the government cannot seem to produce a similar guide to the Chinese is disturbing. I’ve seen past editions, and they were a poor substitute for the old Soviet books.
One wonders, just who is neutering the publishing process?