College students can be flunked for cut-and-paste reports, think tankers can be embarrassed, Defense News staff writers can be fired, but not, apparently, members of the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC).
Most of its so-called “updated” report, 2013 Ballistic and Cruise Missile Threat, which contains contributions from the Defense Intelligence Agency Missile and Space Intelligence Center and the Office of Naval Intelligence, was largely a cut-and-paste job from its 2009 report. Some of the material is identical to the 2006 and 1998 report.
Though it was reformatted and photographs rearranged with some being enlarged or decreased, the 2013 report appears verbatim from the 2009 report. This clever reordering and reformatting with new color schemes for boxes and graphs is embarrassing since there is more impressive data on Chinese missiles on Wikipedia.
The best illustration is the sections on Chinese missiles. Media reports have exclaimed that the new report indicated that China’s ballistic missile development program is the “most active and diverse” in the world.
“China has the most active and diverse ballistic missile development program in the world. It is developing and testing offensive missiles, forming additional missile units, qualitatively upgrading missile systems, and developing methods to counter ballistic missile defenses. The Chinese ballistic missile force is expanding in both size and types of missiles,” the 2013 report stated.
Actually, it is the exact same paragraph in the 2009 report and a paraphrase from the 2006 report.
There is a slight emphasis this year in anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) missile systems such as the DF-21D (CSS-5) anti-ship ballistic missile, which is “specifically designed to prevent adversary military forces’ access to regional conflicts.” This is hardly new information and one wonders why it was left out in the 2009 report.
The next paragraph from the 2013 report, “China is adding the CSS-10 Mod 2 (DF-31A) to the ICBM force and future ICBMs could utilize multiple independently-targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs),” is a slight improvement from the 2009 report, but the statement that “the number of Chinese ICBM nuclear warheads capable of reaching the United States could expand to well over 100 within the next 15 years,” indicates that the writers do not have a sense of time and space because this line is reused from the 2009 report and a paraphrase of the 2006 report. So, since 2006, has there been any substantial change in China’s capability of firing ICBM nuclear warheads at the US? There is no evidence, according to the 2013 report, there have been any advancements at all.
Short-Range Ballistic Missiles (SRBM)
With SRBMs on China the report does inform the reader that a new DF-16 (CSS-11) missile is being deployed “in the vicinity of Taiwan.” The information is not based on US intelligence, but “according to Taiwanese government officials.” The 2009 report only said that, “China has deployed a very large force of modern solid-propellant SRBMs in the vicinity of Taiwan.”
Medium-Range and Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missiles (MRBM/IRBM)
Cut-and-paste resumes once again in this section on China. The statement that “new MRBM and/or IRBM systems are in development in China, North Korea, Iran, India, and Pakistan,” and “these are strategic systems, and many will be armed with nonconventional warheads. All of these countries except Iran have tested nuclear weapons,” are identical to the 2009 report and a paraphrase of the 2006 report.
The 2013 report finally adds something new, using the terms used for the A2/AD concept: “China continues to maintain regional nuclear deterrence, and its long-term, comprehensive military modernization is improving the capability of its ballistic missile force to conduct high-intensity, regional military operations, including ‘anti-access and area denial’ (A2/AD) operations. The term A2/AD refers to capabilities designed to deter or counter adversary forces from deploying to or operating within a defined space,” the 2013 report stated. The problem with this statement is that China’s A2/AD doctrine is not new and could have been mentioned as early as NASIC’s 2009 report.
Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM)
Once again, in the ICBM section the report cuts-and-pastes from the 2009 report and paraphrases from the 2006 report in this lengthy paragraph that has been reduced for this article: “China is strengthening its strategic nuclear deterrent force with the development and deployment of new ICBMs. China retains a relatively small number…Chinese ICBMs capable of threatening the United States is expected to grow to well over 100 in the next 15 years.”
Submarine-launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBM)
A quick lesson on how the government keeps its readership and policymakers informed of nuclear threats to America can be compared and contrasted by these paragraphs on SLBM:
2013: “China currently has a single XIA Class SSBN that is intended to carry 12 CSS-NX-3/JL-1 missiles. In addition, China will deploy the new CSS-NX-14/JL-2 SLBM on new 12-tube JIN Class SSBNs. This missile will, for the first time, allow Chinese SSBNs to target portions of the United States from operating areas located near the Chinese coast.”
2009: “China currently has a single XIA Class SSBN that is intended to carry 12 CSS-NX-3/JL-1 missiles. In addition, the Chinese will deploy the new CSS-NX-14/JL-2 SLBM on new 12-tube JIN Class SSBNs. This missile will, for the first time, allow Chinese SSBNs to target portions of the United States from operating areas located near the Chinese coast.”
2006 is virtually identical to 2009 and 2013.
1998: “China currently has a single XIA-Class SSBN which is intended to carry 12 CSS-NX-3 missiles. In addition, the Chinese are designing a new SSBN that will carry the new JL-2 ballistic missile. When deployed in the next decade, this missile will, for the first time, allow Chinese SSBNs to target portions of the United States from operating areas located near the Chinese coast.”
Land-Attack Cruise Missile (LACM)
In the LACM section the 2013 report finally offers something fresh, but hardly unknown to outside analysts: “The CJ-10 (DH-10) is the first of the Chinese Changjian series of long-range missiles and LACMs. It made its public debut during a military parade in 2009 and is currently deployed with the Second Artillery Corps.” These missiles are the conventional armed YJ-63 air-launched and the conventional or nuclear armed DH-10. However, the report states it does not know its range or initial operational capability, which is widely available on Wikipedia and numerous reports by US analysts in the think tank community, not to forget Chinese-language military websites in China. Another problem with the report is that China has wide variety of LACMs and these are not included in the report.
In the summary the report is about the same as previous sections. The paragraph: “China is producing technologically advanced ballistic missiles and has sold ballistic missile technology to other countries. China has an extensive theater missile program and has deployed a large force of ballistic missiles near Taiwan. China is expanding the reach of this force to attempt to prevent foreign powers from becoming involved in any future regional conflict.”
This is identical to the 2009 report, slightly identical to the 2006 report, and slightly expanded from its 1998 report: “China has an active missile development program ranging from SRBMs to ICBMs, and its newest generation of missiles will be considerably more effective than earlier systems,” the 1998 report stated.
A NASIC public affairs official told Defense News the report is an update from the 2009 version. “A team of analysts (mostly government civilians, military members and some govt contractors) complete this report. These updates are done periodically as threats evolve.” He said this “product will serve as an educational communications tool as well as a method to discuss global ballistic and cruise missile threats.”
In defense, NASIC provided the following as significant developments in the ballistic missiles and cruise missiles arena for India, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, and Russia:
o North Korea: North Korea has unveiled the new road-mobile Hwasong-13 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) while continuing to develop the Taepo Dong-2 (TD-2), which placed a satellite in orbit for the first time in December 2012.
o Iran: Since 2008,Iran has conducted multiple successful launches of the two-stage Safir space launch vehicle (SLV) and has also revealed the larger two-stage Simorgh SLV, which could serve as a test bed for developing ICBM technologies. Since 2010, Iran has revealed the Qiam-1 SRBM, the fourth generationFateh-110 SRBM, and claims to be mass-producing antiship ballistic missiles (ASBMs). Iran has modified its Shahab 3 medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) to extend its range and effectiveness and also claims to have deployed the two-stage, solid-propellant Sejjil MRBM.
o India: The Indian Agni IV IRBM has been flight tested twice since 2010, and India conducted the first flight test of the Agni V ICBM in April 2012. An even longer ranged Agni VI is reportedly in the design phase.
o Russia: Russia still has more than 1,400 nuclear warheads deployed on ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States. Russia tested a new type of ICBM in 2012 and is nearing deployment of the new Bulava SLBM. Russian officials have stated a new liquid-propellant ICBM is also under development.
• The cruise missile threat to US forces will continue to increase. At least nine foreign countries will be involved in Land Attack Cruise Missiles (LACM) production during the next decade, and several of the LACM producers will make their missiles available for export.
• The following are significant developments in the cruise missiles arena:
o Iran: Iran recently announced the development of the 2,000-km range Meshkat cruise missile, with plans to deploy the system on air-, land-, and sea-based platforms.
o Russia: The Club-K cruise missile “container launcher” weapons system, produced and marketed by a Russian firm, looks like a standard shipping container. The company claims the system can launch cruise missiles from cargo ships, trains, or commercial trucks.
o India: India plans to install Brahmos on a number of platforms, including destroyers, frigates, submarines, maritime patrol aircraft, and fighters. Russia and India are also working on a follow-up missile, the Brahmos 2, which was flight-tested in 2012.
o Pakistan: Pakistan continues to develop the Babur (Hatf-VII) and the air-launched Ra’ad (Hatf-VIII). Each missile was flight tested in 2012.