The People’s Liberation Army Navy has no recent combat experience and no hope of challenging the U.S. Navy on a global scale. The U.S. Navy outnumbers and outclasses China’s sailing branch in practically every category — not just technologically.
America’s sailors are better trained and have far more practical experience, giving an edge in the event of a future conflict.
But that’s not the whole story. Beijing is slowly and steadily improving how it trains its sailors and how it conducts naval exercises — even putting its people at greater risk than the U.S. Navy— and reforming a stodgy, top-down method structure that inhibits captains’ initiative.
In other words, China is pushing hard to get better at preparing for war. This is worrying for the United States, which already faces the possibility of defeat or stalemate in a limited, regional conflict with China.
That thesis is central to a recent article by U.S. Navy Capt. Dale Rielage in Proceedings, the influential journal of the U.S. Naval Institute. As the U.S. Pacific Fleet’s director of intelligence, Rielage knows a thing or two about the Chinese military.