Big Asian Wargame Boom or Bust?

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Defense Tech and Military.com contributor Norman Polmar has posted a new article here on a recent large-scale military exercise involving Chinese and Russian troops.

Read his post below, but stick around for some perspective from a Defense Tech reader who goes by Ruger and follows this issue closely. Ruger sent us his analysis of the exercise a few days before Normans post, and we thought it appropriate to include it now for conversations sake.

Norman first

A historic military exercise with China and Russia as well as four other nations participating has come to an end. Known as Peace Mission 2007, the exercise was sponsored by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which consists of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Peace Mission 2007 began on August 9, and was conducted in Urumqi, the capital of China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, and subsequently in Chelyabinsk. The emphasis of the maneuvers was to defeat an international terrorist organization that was attempting to overturn a friendly government. Some 4,000 troops and 80 aircraft from the participating nations took part in the exercise.

The historic exercise, which involved forces from all six SCO nations, was considered an important step in exchanges between those nations as well as enhancing the capabilities of their armed forces to counter terrorists and to promote regional security and stability.

The exercise was particularly significant for Chinas Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) with the Chinese troops being transported to the operational area by rail and by air. It was the first time that PLA forces carried out a large-scale and long-distance movement. The rail distance, through Chinese and Russian territory, was some 6,400 miles wile the air distances was 1,700 miles.

China had 1,600 PLA troops participating in the exercise with fighter and bomber aviation units, airborne units, transport units, special purpose units, armored units, and Army aviation units taking part. The rail transportation effort for the PLA included more than 120 vehicles and 500 tons of munitions and equipment for the exercise.

Now Rugers follow

Dubbed as Peace Mission 2007 and is developing into a counter-balance to the US, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) has been responding to the geopolitical situation in Europe, Asia and the rest of the world. Former Soviet republic made repeated attempts to streamline integration by setting up different associations, but they were not destined to live for many reasons. Experts are unanimous that the SCO is a success. source: Moscow, Russia (RIA Novosti) Aug 16, 2007...

The Peace Mission 2007 is taking place in western Russia and is aimed at four key operations, according to PLA Senior Col. Lu Chuangang, chief of the command group of the Chinese exercise directorate.

These areas include long-distance mobility of forces by rail and aircraft, joint operations with six nations; precision engagement using high-technology attack capabilities; and long-distance integrated military support operations.

This is the first time that the PLA conducts a large scale and long-distance transnational force delivery involving different branches of the armed forces in a systematic way, Lu told Xinhua. The one-way distance of railway transportation is 10,300 kilometers and air flight distance is about 2,700 kilometers. source: Peoples Daily online July 31, 2007

So, success is measured by how long a train ride one takes (do the math)? It was reported that Azerbijan wouldn't allow the China troops to traverse its country.

The Chinese, Russians and the anti-US crowd are touting the SCO Peace Mission 2007 as a success. If you look at the measurement of success from the Chinese General (Col), it sounds (to me) like he is trying to polish a turd. They did not purposely try to exercise long distance logistics (Chinese troops were not permitted to travel through neighboring country, so they had to go around).

Secondly, the PLA Air force flew a third of the distance the PLA had to move its troops. Success in long distance logistics by western standards (which is really their standard now) would have been realized by moving the 5000+ PLA troops by air. Hence the phrase: putting lipstick on pig.

Alright folks, I honestly dont follow this that closely, so what do you think big deal, or no big deal?

-- Christian

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