RANGE     -  370 MILES (600 KM)
LENGTH    -  30 FEET (9.1 METERS)
WEIGHT    -  13,700 POUNDS (6,200 KG)

DONG FENG means "East Wind" in Chinese and is a Maoist slogan. The DF-15 is a short range, mobile, tactical missile, normallly deployed on a eight wheeled mobile launcher/erector. The launcher is a specially adapted version of a German made commercial truck and offers good cross-country capability.


The DF-15 warhead separates after main engine burnout and uses onboard thrusters to correct its course to target. Recent reports show that DF-15 units may be equipped with ROCKWELL GPS navigation systems and a follow on version will have active SAR radar targeting.

DF-15 warheads shot at Taiwan during the February 1996 PLA exercises also displayed MARV or MAneuverable Re-entry Vehicle tactics by changing course and speed in an effort to avoid defensive missiles.


China - Other Factors.

Military Leadership. The PLA does not approach leadership in the same way as Western military forces, placing greater emphasis on technical skills than on leadership development. The PLA's leadership culture is also risk averse, favoring the status quo over change. Historical experiences and decades of Communist propaganda have made the majority of Chinese military leaders suspicious of the outside world and its attitudes toward China's increasing power and influence. Relatively few senior officers have travelled abroad, although the military has undertaken a significant military diplomatic effort since the early 1990s that is overcoming this deficiency. The result of this physical and intellectual isolation has been the development of a strongly nationalistic outlook among the officer corps that could color negatively the leadership's approach to international developments seen impacting China's sovereignty or security.

China's military leadership is united on its desire to acquire or improve selected military capabilities in the near term. In the longer term, military leaders want to overhaul significantly the entire armed forces to create a smaller, technically more advanced instrument to fight in the immediate vicinity of China's borders. There also is a corresponding emphasis on military professionalism in China. While the political commissar system still exists and political officers share joint command with their operational brethren, the military now emphasizes operational training over political indoctrination. This trend will create a less politicized officer corps, especially among junior and mid-grade officers. It also will move the military leadership toward forming a more corporate military identity.

Senior Chinese officers are studying modern technological advances and how these can best be incorporated into the current and projected military doctrine and structure. These officers are still generally more familiar and comfortable with an operational level of conflict that relies primarily on ground forces to achieve objectives. Below the most senior level, an increasing number of officers in command positions are conversant in, and somewhat experienced with, modern technological and operational concepts like joint operations. Nevertheless, the military has recently renewed its emphasis on upgrading scientific and technical education in order to overcome perceived deficiencies in the officer corps in this respect.

Training. In recent years, China has shown a growing willingness to experiment with new aspects of training. Training has become more realistic and challenging, with an increased participation by opposition force units and greater emphasis on combined arms. Although intraservice training at the tactical level is improving, joint exercises are still tightly controlled and indicative of the difficulty the PLA likely would have in executing operational-level battle plans. While this past year's summer floods disrupted training for a large percentage of the PLA, certain exercises were not cancelled, particularly those emphasizing Beijing's commitment to improve joint training.

Professional Military Education. Professional military education for both officers and NCOs in the PLA is a high priority for Beijing. Institutional structures designed to instill a high degree of professionalism throughout the force were conspicuously absent in China until 1978, when the PLA began to address educational shortfalls. Since that time, Beijing has established a number of educational institutions throughout the military, although the emphasis remains on the officer corps.

The key organization shaping the professional development of the senior PLA officer corps is the National Defense University (NDU). It instructs senior officers in areas such as strategic studies, operational art, organizational command and management, combined arms and joint service operations, foreign military studies, and logistics. The NDU also provides information and advice on military modernization and broad strategic issues to national-level organizations; it also performs research on various strategic and operational military issues. The second tier in the PLA's officer education system consists of military colleges and academies which prepare field grade officers for regimental-level command and address the fundamentals of joint and combined arms operations. The curriculum concentrates on company, battalion, and regimental tactics. In addition, the schools teach basic joint operations. A small number of schools also trains students in specialty staff duties, such as engineering and communications. The lowest tier of officer education is provided by military colleges and academies for junior officers and mid-rank officers; they provide multiple avenues for undergraduate and general military education. The curriculum consists of three and four year undergraduate programs and a two year vocational program. The majority of the cadets are upper middle school graduates.

The PLA's NCO Corps is in its infancy, having been established only in the late 1980s. Chinese NCOs--former conscripts who are allowed to remain on active duty following their initial enlistment --are classified as either "master sergeants" or "technical sergeants." Newly selected NCOs attend a six month training program at the MR academies. Training is limited to tactics for the master sergeants and technical subjects for the technical sergeants. Beijing has not yet established formal education programs for NCOs beyond their initial training.

Joint/Integrated Operations. The PLA conducts interservice exercises at the tactical level, but the services are not fully integrated into a cohesive combat force. Disparate elements train simultaneously and in proximity, but do not appear to be controlled at the operational level by a joint commander and staff. Ground and air components exercise together with regularity and are improving their interoperability. Integration of ground and naval forces, however, is rarely exercised, particularly at the operational level, where synchronization and command and control are of greatest importance in the conduct of complex operations. The navy is beginning to conduct more combined operations between ships and naval aircraft. The PLA also is looking into the possibility of instituting a "joint command" structure at the operational or theater level, similar to that of the U.S. military. Accordingly, a commander would exercise operational control over all military forces assigned to and deployed in a particular area. These "joint commands" likely would be given specifically assigned missions in response to particular threats or security requirements.

Morale. Morale within the PLA, particularly among enlisted personnel, is assessed as generally low. Problems of desertion, declining relations between officers and troops, reluctance to train with obsolete equipment, high consumption spending by officers, anti-corruption audits which restrict outside earnings, and food shortages have been reported in the Chinese press. Low pay in comparison to other segments of Chinese society is a key factor. The PLA's involvement in business--at least until just recently when it was directed to divest itself of its commercial interests--also distracted many of its more competent officers from their military duties. Some Chinese military leaders believe that many of the morale problems can be solved by increased pay and allowances, further professionalization of the force, and improved quality of life.

Logistics and Sustainability. The PLA's logistics structure and doctrine still reflect, for the most part, the decades-long focus on fighting a large-scale ground conflict, wherein a MR commander would conduct autonomous combat operations over an extended period. The logistics infrastructure developed to support such regional operations is highly decentralized, based on interior lines of communication, and optimized to depend on local depots and stockpiles for resupply. MR commanders apparently were given broad leeway to develop region-specific logistics management procedures. These practices have inhibited the implementation of PLA-wide standards, since the separate management systems made interregional operations virtually impossible. In recent years, the PLA has devoted attention to improving its logistics support to military operations in a Taiwan scenario--operations which would include a higher tempo of operations and use of high technology weapons and equipment. It reportedly has automated many inventory control processes, streamlined procurement, and improved mechanisms for getting supplies to deployed troops. While these developments appear to offer a modest capability to support some types of military operations in the region, the PLA has made only incremental improvements in its ability to support a large-scale, long-term, high optempo engagement.

Taiwan - Other Factors

Military Leadership. Overall, Taiwan's military leadership is competent and capable. Taiwan officers of all services and ranks exhibit a relatively high degree of professionalism. They generally are well educated, operationally proficient, and technically sophisticated--especially when contrasted with their PLA counterparts--and pro-U.S. in their outlook. Balanced against these attributes, the officer corps functions within a culture that values caution over innovation and initiative. Junior officers are familiar with technological improvements but recent modernization efforts will challenge their management skills and may require adjustments to unit training and operational tempos. The Taiwan military will face an ongoing challenge in retaining qualified junior officers as employment opportunities in the civilian sector remain enticing. The increased importance of technology in modern warfare has led to an increased emphasis in Taiwan on modernizing the technology-intensive services, namely the Air Force and Navy. While Army officers continue to dominate the senior leadership positions within the defense hierarchy--the Army comprises more than 50 percent of the armed forces-- the emphasis on the Air Force and Navy may lead to a corresponding rise in the influence of air and naval officers over matters such as defense procurement priorities and employment doctrine. Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui strongly supports the promotion of native Taiwanese officers to senior military positions. Currently, the Chief of General Staff and commanders of the air force and marines are ethnic Taiwanese. This trend will continue and probably will have a positive effect on the morale and cohesion of the lower ranks of the armed forces, who themselves are overwhelmingly native Taiwanese.

Training. Taiwan's large-scale training normally takes place quarterly with the major training centers hosting limited maneuver and live-fire exercises. HAN KUANG 14, conducted in mid-May 1998, was one of Taipei's more typical joint exercises to date. Primarily a C4I exercise, the training was of very short duration and the scenario allowed for only limited exercise play. Taipei scheduled another "joint exercise" on 12 October 1998, but then cancelled it as a "goodwill gesture" toward Beijing in the run-up to the resumption of high level cross-Strait talks on 14 October. A dress rehearsal on 7 October also was cancelled, although a "preliminary dress rehearsal" was held on 2 October. It consisted of a series of live-fire demonstrations showcasing some of Taiwan's most modern military equipment.

Professional Military Education. Professional military education of Taiwan's officer corps is conducted along two developmental lines: the universal track for regular career officers and the professional track for officers in specialized fields like political affairs, medicine, and engineering. The universal track is the general military education for officers provided at the three service academies. Graduates receive a bachelor's degree after completing 130 university-level credit hours. The Naval Academy concentrates on science and engineering, while the Air Force Academy curriculum focuses on aerospace-related courses and includes supervised flight training beginning in the second year. Newly commissioned Army officers go on to branch schools, i.e., infantry, army, and artillery. Education in the professional track is conducted at such specialized schools like the Fu Hsing Kang College, the Defense Medical College, the Defense Management College, and the Chung Cheng Institute of Technology. Mid-career and senior career professional military education is conducted at the Armed Forces University (AFU). Tracing its roots back to 1906, AFU is the highest level institution in the Taiwan military education system. It is responsible for training strategic-level command and staff officers, as well as specialists in defense administration and military intelligence. It also conducts research into the development of war strategies and political warfare. AFU includes four colleges: the War College for senior field grade and general officers and the Command and Staff Colleges of the Army, Navy, and Air Force for junior field grade officers.

Morale. Morale, especially among the enlisted ranks, is generally assessed as poor, amidst efforts to retain competent, educated service members in the face of stiff private sector competition. The military competes poorly with the civilian economy in attracting Taiwan's youth, especially those who are technically-oriented. Continued personnel shortages stemming from low retention rates-- especially among NCOs--will remain a serious problem affecting morale. The military also is hampered by systemic problems of poor, antiquated management and a traditional military culture with very rigid command structures which discourages lower-level risk-taking, decisionmaking, and innovation. The Taiwan Army especially is facing morale problems stemming from the ongoing restructuring and downsizing. While the operational outlook and overall morale of TAF pilots is significantly better than that of PLAAF pilots-- largely due to better training opportunities and exposure to and hands on experience with more modern Western equipment--there exists a disparity between the military and civil aviators in pay and benefits, which inevitably affects morale.

Logistics and Sustainability. Taiwan's logistics capability will support some defensive operations on Taiwan, but its probability of success is highly dependent on the tempo of operations. The military reportedly is trying to make the logistics system more efficient to better support combined or joint force operations. In the interim, logistics support will remain cumbersome--but effective--for localized engagements. Taiwan's defenses rely heavily on air and naval forces, both requiring an extensive maintenance and repair infrastructure to support weapons systems and equipment. The critical requirements are major equipment end items like engines and transmissions, ammunition, fuel and especially obsolete spare parts which no longer are being manufactured.


Currently, China's more than 2.5-million-man PLA dwarfs Taiwan's defense force of about 400,000. In most cases, equipment totals also are lopsided. Only a portion of this overall strength, however, could be brought to bear against Taiwan at one time. China has nearly 4,500 combat aircraft, as compared with some 400 on Taiwan. The Chinese Navy has about 65 attack submarines--five of which are nuclear powered--as compared with four diesel attack submarines for Taiwan. China has over 60 major surface combatants while Taiwan has no more than 40. China has nuclear weapons and a ballistic missile force that can deliver nuclear or conventionally-armed warheads against Taiwan. In terms of the quality of their military equipment, however, Taipei possesses an edge over Beijing, as new weapons systems--particularly fighter aircraft and naval frigates--are entering the inventory.

Should China decide to use military force against Taiwan, there are several options or courses of action available to Beijing, including--but not limited to--an interdiction of Taiwan's SLOCs and a blockade of Taiwan's ports, a large-scale missile attack, and an all-out invasion.

Blockade. The primary intent behind a blockade of the island would be to cripple Taiwan economically and isolate it internationally. China's leaders apparently believe that this option would be less likely to provoke outside intervention than others. Beijing probably would choose successively more stringent quarantine-blockade actions, beginning with declaring maritime exercise closure areas and stopping Taiwan-flagged merchant vessels operating in the Taiwan Strait. Operations likely would include mine laying and deploying submarines and surface ships to enforce the blockade. Barring third party intervention, the PLAN's quantitative advantage over Taiwan's Navy in surface and sub-surface assets would probably prove overwhelming over time. Taiwan's military forces probably would not be able keep the island's key ports and SLOCs open in the face of concerted Chinese military action. Taiwan's small surface fleet and four submarines are numerically insufficient to counter China's major surface combatant force and its ASW assets likely would have difficulty defeating a blockade supported by China's large submarine force. The PLANAF's B-6D bombers armed with C-601 ASCMs would place Taipei's merchant ships and combatants at serious risk.

Missile Strikes. Within the next several years, the size of China's SRBM force is expected to grow substantially. An expanded arsenal of conventional SRBMs and LACMs targeted against critical facilities, such as key airfields and C4I nodes, will complicate Taiwan's ability to conduct military operations. By 2005, China will have deployed both the CSS-6 and CSS-7 SRBM. In addition, the PLA could have a first generation, air-launched LACM in its inventory. Should Beijing choose escalation, a rapid transition from relatively low-intensity blockade operations to massive missile strikes would be a likely step, particularly as a pretext to an invasion. These missile attacks most likely would be high-volume, precision strikes against priority military and political targets, including air defense facilities, airfields, Taiwan's C2 infrastructure, and naval facilities. China, however, could encounter problems coordinating missile firings with other concurrent military operations, such as air and maritime engagements. Exclusive Taiwan reliance on active missile defenses and associated BM/C3I, however, will not sufficiently offset the overwhelming advantage in offensive missiles which Beijing is projected to possess in 2005.

Air Superiority. Maintaining air superiority over the Taiwan Strait would be an essential part of any Chinese effort to mount a military operation against Taiwan. China currently has an overwhelming quantitative advantage over Taiwan in military aircraft and will retain that advantage beyond 2005. On the other hand, Taiwan's more modern aircraft will provide it with a qualitative advantage that should be retained at least through that period. PLA electronic warfare operations against air defense radars, disruption of command and control networks, and/or large scale conventional SRBM and LACM strikes against airfields and SAM sites would reduce the effectiveness of Taiwan's air defenses.

The future effectiveness of the TAF will depend on the implementation of sound pilot training, sufficient logistic and maintenance support, and the ability of the TAF to integrate satisfactorily several disparate airframes into a cohesive, operational fighting force.

For its part, Beijing is faced with similar training, maintenance, and logistics challenges, complicated further by a still questionable capability on the part of its aerospace industry to keep pace with rapidly evolving technologies. Nevertheless, while the majority of the mainland's air fleet will still be composed of second and third generation aircraft, the sheer numerical advantage of older platforms augmented by some fourth generation aircraft could attrit Taiwan's air defenses sufficiently over time to achieve air superiority.

Amphibious Invasion. An amphibious invasion of Taiwan by China would be a highly risky and most unlikely option for the PLA, chosen only as a last resort to force the total surrender of the island. It most likely would be preceded by a variety of preparatory operations to include a blockade, conventional missile strikes, and special operations on Taiwan. These operations would play a critical role in determining how China would pursue the coup de grace, with an amphibious assault only one facet of a multi-pronged invasion plan. Beijing's amphibious lift capability is extremely limited at present and there are no indications that China is devoting resources to improve significantly its amphibious assault capability. As a result, success only would be achieved with a massive commitment of military and civilian assets over a long period of time and without third party intervention; furthermore, an invasion would bring almost certain damage to China's economy and its diplomatic interests, especially in the Asia-Pacific region.

The first move in an invasion plan likely would be a SLOC/blockade interdiction operation. The PLAAF and PLANAF would try to establish an air defense umbrella over the Taiwan Strait in preparation for local air superiority operations. Ground-based air defense assets would deploy forward and be integrated into the umbrella. Naval surface actions groups would begin operations near Taiwan's major ports. Announced missile closure areas and port mining by submarines would be designed to canalize traffic and force Taiwan naval vessels into engagement areas. Ground force mobilization likely would begin and PLA combat air patrols over the Taiwan Strait would intensify. Invasion operations would follow sufficiently close on the heels of conventional missile attacks to prevent Taipei from repairing and reconstituting damaged facilities. As the PLA's amphibious lift capacity in 2005 would still be limited, an amphibious over-the-beach assault would be extremely problematic. Rather, airborne, airmobile, and special operations forces likely would conduct simultaneous attacks to the rear of Taiwan's coastal defenses to seize a port, preferably in close proximity to an airfield. Seizing a beach-head likely would constitute a supporting attack. An airborne envelopment would facilitate amphibious operations by cutting off Taiwan's coastal defenders from supply lines and forcing them to fight in two directions.

Beijing's suppression of Taiwan's air defenses would be followed rapidly by a "second-wave" air attack which would attempt to establish air superiority over an invasion corridor in the Taiwan Strait. Priority for air defense protection and fighter escort operations would shift from bombers carrying ASCMs to fixed- and rotary-wing transports ferrying additional airborne and airmobile assault forces. Both China's amphibious fleet and a large portion of its huge merchant fleet would complete rapid reaction unit upload operations and depart from ports along the central coast. China also likely would saturate the Taiwan Strait with a huge number of noncombatant merchant and fishing vessels, with the aim of confusing and overwhelming Taipei's surveillance and target acquisition systems. The PLA's success in establishing and maintaining a foothold on the island would rest on a variety of intangibles to include personnel and equipment attrition rates on both sides of the Strait; the interoperability of PLA forces; and the ability of China's logistic system to support adequately optempo operations.

In order for an invasion to succeed, in other words, Beijing would have to possess the capability to conduct a multi-faceted campaign, involving air assault, airborne insertion, special operations raids, amphibious landings, maritime area denial operations, air superiority operations and conventional missile strikes. The PLA likely would encounter great difficulty conducting such a sophisticated campaign by 2005. Nevertheless, the campaign likely would succeed--barring third party intervention--if Beijing were willing to accept the almost certain political, economic, diplomatic, and military costs that such a course of action would produce.

Information Dominance. The Chinese currently are focusing on eliminating specific deficiencies they have in both areas of IO/IW technology and training. The PLA is engaged in efforts to improve the staff planning process by applying joint forces concepts learned from studying foreign IO/IW doctrine. Recent IO/IW military exercises claim to have included computer network attack and defend exercises. Public disclosure of these IO/IW exercises serves as an informational tool for the PLA to the future importance of IO/IW in Chinese military doctrine and reaffirms China's intent to continue developing and improving its IO/IW capability. In spite of these activities, the Chinese have many challenges to overcome and Beijing's ability to paralyze Taiwan's command and control appears limited at best.

On the other side of Taiwan Strait, IO may be an attractive--but untested tool--in multiplying the effectiveness of Taiwan's military forces. As one of the world's largest producers of computer components, Taiwan has all of the basic capabilities needed to carry out offensive IO-related activities, particularly computer network attacks and the introduction of malicious code. Formal doctrine development to guide future employment of these capabilities already may be in progress. As Taiwan increases its role in the manufacture of new computer warfighting systems, Taipei's capability to exploit its position for IO activities can be expected to increase substantially.


During the twenty-year period from 1979 to 1999, the security situation in the Taiwan Strait has exhibited simultaneously both significant change in some respects and remarkable constancy in others. The greatest change has occurred in the political and diplomatic arenas, a reflection of the political changes which have taken place in both Beijing and Taipei, and between Beijing and Taipei. On the other hand, despite the modest qualitative improvement in the military forces of both China and Taiwan, the dynamic equilibrium of those forces in the Taiwan Strait has not changed dramatically over the last two decades, except in a few niche areas like China's deployment of SRBMs.

Despite anticipated improvements to Taiwan's missile and air defense systems, by 2005, the PLA will possess the capability to attack Taiwan with air and missile strikes which would degrade key military facilities and damage the island's economic infrastructure. China will continue to give priority to long-range precision-strike programs. Similarly, despite improvements in Taiwan's ability to conduct ASW operations, China will retain the capability to interdict Taiwan's SLOCs and blockade the island's principal maritime ports. Should China invade Taiwan, such an operation would require a major commitment of civilian air and maritime transport assets, would be prolonged in duration, and would not be automatically guaranteed to succeed. In the end, any of these options would prove to be costly to Beijing--politically, economically, diplomatically, and militarily.

Beyond 2005, development of a modern military force capable of exerting military influence within the region, achieving deterrence against potential enemies, preserving independence of action in domestic and foreign affairs, protecting the nation's economic resources and maritime areas, and defending the sovereignty of the nation's territory will remain one of China's national priorities. Beijing will strive to create a smaller, more modern, better trained, more professional, and better logistically supported force, with an emphasis on air, naval and missile forces. China will continue to improve its regional force projection capabilities, but will not possess the conventional military capabilities to exert global influence.

The PLA will field large numbers of increasingly accurate SRBMs and introduce LACMs into its inventory. China's naval forces will continue their transition from a large coastal defense force to a smaller, more modern force able to conduct limited sea control operations against regional opponents in the East and South China Seas. China's air force will continue to assimilate greater numbers of fourth generation aircraft into its inventory, upgrade its regional IADS, and expand its airborne refueling and AEW capabilities. China will retain a numerical advantage over Taiwan in terms of both personnel and weapons.

On the other side of the Taiwan Strait, by 2005, Taipei will possess a qualitative edge over Beijing in terms of significant weapons and equipment. The TAF will have over 300 fourth generation fighters. Six French- built Lafayette-class frigates, eight U.S. Knox-class frigates, and eight Perry-class frigates will form the nucleus of Taiwan's naval force. Taiwan will possess an advanced air defense network, comprising an AEW capability, an automated C2 system, and several modern SAM systems, which will provide Taiwan with an enhanced defensive capability against both aircraft and missiles. The mobility and firepower of Taiwan's ground forces will have been improved with the acquisition of additional tanks, armored personnel carriers, self-propelled artillery and attack helicopters.

Taiwan's primary security goal beyond 2005 will be to maintain the status quo, while retaining its long-term objective of eventual peaceful reunification with China on terms favorable to Taipei. Taiwan will seek to advance its international status, maintain a strong economy, modernize its military forces, and further democratize the island's political system. At the same time, Taipei will endeavor to expand political, cultural, and economic ties with Beijing, thereby reducing tensions with China and lessening the prospects of military conflict in the Taiwan Strait. Taiwan's military strategy will remain defensive. Its success in deterring potential Chinese aggression will be dependent on its continued acquisition of modern arms, technology and equipment and its ability to deal with a number of systemic problems -- primarily the recruitment and retention of technically-qualified personnel and the maintenance of an effective logistics system--lest Taipei once again risk losing its qualitative edge.

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