Key point: China's military has been significantly upgraded.
China has improved its capabilities to invade Taiwan, according to U.S. intelligence.
And while Taiwan is also boosting its military capacity, it’s not enough to compensate for growing Chinese strength, according to the Defense Intelligence Agency’s (DIA) 2019 report to Congress on Chinese military power.
“The PLA continues to prepare for contingencies in the Taiwan Strait to deter, and if necessary, compel Taiwan to abandon moves toward independence,” DIA warned. “The PLA also is likely preparing for a contingency to unify Taiwan with the mainland by force, while simultaneously deterring, delaying, or denying any third-party intervention on Taiwan’s behalf.”
The Chinese army is reorganizing into more powerful and flexible combined arms brigades, as well as creating air assault brigades and expanded helicopter forces. The Chinese air force’s airborne troops have practiced long-range assaults and raids.
The Chinese navy’s marine corps has expanded from two to six brigades. And the Chinese fleet, which would be vital for a successful amphibious invasion, has boosted its abilities to blockade or strike Taiwan, and to battle any U.S. military intervention in support of Taipei.
Meanwhile, extensive organizational reforms of the Chinese military, or People’s Liberation Army (PLA), are enhancing China’s invasion capacity. The PLA’s military regions have abolished in favor of military theaters, which are joint commands that can integrate the air, land and sea forces needed for a successful invasion.
China has also added two new military commands: the Strategic Support Force (SSF), created in 2016 to centralize space, cyber, electronic warfare and psychological warfare operations, and the Joint Logistics Support Force (JLSF), which streamlines logistical services.