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National Security Lessons for China from the Russia-Ukraine Conflict


Huang Bin, a former defense industry executive, draws lessons for Beijing from the Russia-Ukraine war, which he sees as worth attention due to rising turbulence in China’s security environment. Huang argues China should increase its military spending as a share of GDP, invest in systems that enhance battlefield situational awareness, step up the production of equipment for special operations, improve its military logistics capabilities, and leverage patriotic education to expand its counterespionage network.

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Today, the Russia-Ukraine conflict has reached a stalemate. The conflict has caused extensive damage to both warring parties and has made a profound impact on Europe, if not the entire world. At a time when the Covid-19 pandemic has not yet been contained, when the global economy is gradually going into a recession, and when inflation increasingly tightens its grip on the world, with food and energy crises unfolding here and there, the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine conflict has compounded the manifold problems facing our world, casting a deep gloom over the future. This is something that no peace-loving countries or people want to see.


The course of events, however, pays no heed to people’s wishes, and our world has never been a stranger to the way of power and might, to tensions and struggles. The harsh reality of the Russia-Ukraine conflict also serves to remind us that the defense of our national security and the well-being of the people has to rely on the strength of our own country and on the will of the whole populace. As an integral part of national strength, the national defense science and technology industry shoulders an extremely arduous duty: in peacetime, it works to strengthen the army and serve the country, keep up with the times, and fully prepare for future wars; in times of war, it keeps a close eye on the battlefield and makes the utmost effort to help secure the ultimate victory by speeding up operations and ensuring supplies to the front line.

然而,“树欲静而风不止”, 这个世界本就存在强权和霸道,充满矛盾和斗争,俄乌冲突的残酷现实也告诉人们,对国家安全和人民幸福的捍卫,必须依靠自己国家的实力和全体人民的意志。那么,作为构成国家实力重要组成部分的国防科技工业承担着极其艰巨的历史使命,在和平时期,要强军报国, 紧跟时代,为未来战争做好充分准备;在战争时期,要开足马力,加速运转,紧盯战场,保障前线供给, 确保战争的最终胜利。

The Russia-Ukraine conflict has shocked the world and has also provoked a lot of thoughts among Chinese people from different circles. At present, the conflict has not yet ended, and the United States is already preparing for the next war. The White House submitted a budget request for fiscal year 2023 to Congress and asked for an increase of the defense budget to $813.3 billion. U.S. President Joseph Biden described it as “one of the largest investments in our national security in history.” A senior U.S. defense official commented that “China remains our most challenging strategic threat. That’s what the budget says.” Who is the one sharpening their sword? Who is the one glaring like a tiger eyeing its prey? It is as clear as day judging from the above! Furthermore, China has inviolable interests in the Taiwan Strait, the South China Sea, the East China Sea, the Himalayas, the Strait of Malacca, and outer space, but all those regions are fraught with risks as packs of wolves—so to speak—come to encircle us.

俄乌冲突震动了世界,也引发了国内各界的诸多思考。目前,俄乌冲突尚未结束,美国已经在准备下一场战争。美国白宫向国会提出报告,要求将 2023 年度军费预算提升至 8133 亿美元。拜登说:“这一预算是有史以来对我们国家安全的最大规模的的投资”。一位美高级防务官员认为,“中国仍是我们最具挑战性的战略威胁,这就是该项预算所表达的。”由此可见,谁在磨刀霍霍?谁在虎视眈眈?岂不昭然若揭!此外,在中国的台海方向、南海方向、东海方向、喜马拉雅方向、马六甲海峡方向以及地球外层空间上都存在着中国不容侵犯的利益,而在上述方向上面临群狼环伺险境。

As General Secretary Xi Jinping has emphasized, “The great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation is no easy task and will not be achieved simply by beating drums and gongs. We must have the courage to carry out a great struggle with many new contemporary characteristics and be prepared to make even greater and more arduous efforts.” In view of this, we must pay close attention to and think deeply about the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Keeping in mind the saying that “forethought leads to success, and lack of forethought leads to failure” and guided by the overall national security concept, we must make relevant advance preparations against major emergencies with great determination and effort. In the belief that “even those in lowly positions must never forget to concern themselves with the fate of the country,” after some deep thought, I would propose the following suggestions, which are highly relevant to China’s military security and military industry.

习近平总书记强调,“中华民族伟大复兴不是轻轻松松、敲锣打鼓就能实现的,必须勇于进行具有许多新的历史特点的伟大斗争,准备付出更为艰巨、更为艰苦的努力。”鉴于此,我们必须认真关注思考俄乌冲突,牢记“预则立,不预则废”,以总体国家安全观为指导,下大决心、花大气力提前做好相应准备以防大变。笔者以“位卑未敢忘忧国”的信念经深入思考后, 提出如下与我国军事安全和军工行业密切相关的建议。

It is necessary for China to moderately increase military spending as a percentage of GDP


With the latest developments in the United States and NATO after the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine conflict (apart from the United States, many NATO countries have increased their defense spending to 2 percent of their GDP), and considering China’s overall security environment, it is necessary for China to respond to the state of affairs by moderately increasing annual military spending—to be enacted through the country’s legislature following legal procedures—so that its share of GDP reaches a level commensurate with the task of protecting China’s overall security in a significantly changed situation. According to studies, U.S. military expenditure, which has remained at about 4 percent of GDP for years, ranks first in the world and surpasses the defense spending of the next nine countries combined. China’s military expenditure, in contrast, has hovered between 1.01 percent and 1.44 percent of GDP for three decades. In the context of the current international situation, it is necessary to moderately increase our annual defense spending as a share of GDP. This is not done to engage in an international arms race, but to defend our national security.

根据俄乌冲突爆发后美国和北约方面的最新动态(除美国外, 北约多国已将军费提高到占本国年度 GDP 2% 的比例),基于对我国总体安全环境的关切,我国也须因应此种态势,通过国家的立法机构和法律程序适度提高年度军费,使之适应重大变局以达到与捍卫我国家整体安全相匹配的比例。据考察,美国军费支出多年来占 GDP4% 左右,高居世界第一, 较其后九国总和还多。而中国军费30 年来始终在 1.01~1.44% 之间徘徊。在当前国际形势下,适度增加我年度军费比例是必要的。此事并非参与国际军备竞赛而是捍卫我国家安全的必要之举。

Step up the development and improvement of land combat equipment suited to different ways of fighting


While the People’s Liberation Army focuses on training, war preparations, and various battle drills, the military industry should step up the development of equipment suitable for sea crossing and landing, island seizure, street-to-street fighting, cyber and information warfare, and drone swarm offense and defense. In light of Russia’s serious losses of tanks, armored vehicles, and warships in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, we should prioritize devising a solution to attack tactics against our aircraft, tanks, and armored vehicles that use asymmetric weapons such as Western-made man-portable missiles—the Stinger, Javelin, and Starstreak, for example—and swarms of various unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) like the Switchblade. In addition, we must promptly make corresponding improvements to the protection of relevant equipment to minimize combat losses of personnel and equipment.

除了人民解放军抓紧练兵备战、做好各种战法的演练外,军工部门应抓紧研制适宜渡海、登陆、夺岛、巷战、网络信息战、无人机群攻防战的相关装备,针对这次俄乌冲突中俄方坦克、装甲车、军舰损毁严重的态势,我们应抓紧研究破解对西方研制的“ 毒刺”“ 标枪”“星光”“弹簧刀”等单兵导弹和各类无人机群等不对称武器对我飞机、坦克、装甲车辆的定点攻袭战术,并在我相关装备防护改良上尽快做出响应,以尽可能减少战时人员和装备的战损率。

Improve advanced information-based systems suitable for command and control in joint operations


It is necessary to closely cooperate with the military to develop and upgrade efficient battlefield situational awareness systems with Chinese characteristics and effectively deploy them in future multi-service joint operations, so that military units can remain well protected while conducting precision strikes on enemies. In the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Moskva, the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, was sunk by Ukrainian missiles, and more than 10 senior Russian commanders have been killed on the battlefield. It is rumored that the United States and United Kingdom used battlefield situational awareness systems to help Ukraine precisely locate those targets and carry out precision strikes.

要紧密配合军方研制并完善中国特色的堪用高效的“战场态势感知系统”并在未来的多军兵种联合作战中有效配置,在精准打击敌方的同时,有效保护自己。这次俄乌冲突中俄方黑海舰队旗舰“莫斯科号”被乌导弹击沉及 10 多名高级将领在战场上被击杀,据传与美英利用此类系统帮助乌方精准侦查定位后实施精确打击有关。

Step up the development and production of support equipment suitable for special combat scenarios


In order to prepare for a high-intensity mode of warfare in the future that takes place on a battlefield of great expanse and depth, the military industry should also step up the development, production, and improvement of logistics support systems for various branches of the military. The Russia-Ukraine conflict has exposed deficiencies in the logistics and supply of the Russian army that deserve our close attention. In particular, we must consider how to effectively meet the demand for special equipment used for tasks such as supply to the front line, force projection, casualty rescue, and replenishment at sea in complex and perilous combat missions, including sea crossings, island seizures, airdrops, infiltration and penetration, plateau and alpine operations, and ocean escorts.


Increase the reserves of war materials and munitions required for conventional warfare


Modern warfare consumes a staggering amount of materiel—especially in a protracted war of attrition, which is essentially about outlasting the opponent: the side that runs out of ammunition and provisions is bound to be the loser. It is therefore absolutely necessary to make advance preparations in this regard.

现代战争各类相关物资消耗惊人,特别是在进入消耗战、持久战的阶段,战斗双方几乎就是在比拼谁能坚持到最后,“弹尽粮绝” 的一方必然是失败的一方,因此在这方面的未雨绸缪绝对必要。

Weave a dense counterespionage network


The whole society should step up education on patriotism and the overall national security concept. We must weave a strong and dense counterespionage network that covers areas such as politics, economics, military, culture, public health, and the internet.


In summary, the Russia-Ukraine conflict serves as an important source of lessons for China, and we should pay the utmost attention to the experience of both sides in the war—just as the saying goes, “A stone from another mountain can be used to sharpen our own blades.” Stepping up preparations and getting ready for war is a natural task of the millions of workers in China’s national defense science and technology industry, whose first duty is to strengthen the army.


At the latest NATO Summit recently held in Madrid, Spain, the organization adopted a new version of its “Strategic Concept.” Russia was considered a “partner” 12 years ago, but today it has been labeled the “most significant threat.” Most worryingly, NATO repeatedly points its finger at China in this document. NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg has stated publicly: “China’s stated ambitions and assertive behavior present systemic challenges to the rules-based international order and to areas relevant to alliance security.”

就在最近西班牙马德里召开的最新一届“北约峰会”上,北约又形成了最新版本的“新战略概念”。在时隔 12 年后,俄罗斯从原来的“合作伙伴”变成今天的“最严重的威胁”。而最令人关切的是在这个文件中,北约多次从负面指责中国。北约秘书长斯托尔滕贝格公开言明 :“中国的雄心和自信行为,对以规则为基础的国际秩序和与联盟安全有关的领域,构成了长期全面的系统性挑战。”

The NATO summit has sent three dangerous signals to the world. First, NATO will expand its rapid response force from 40,000 to 300,000 troops, a more than sevenfold jump. Second, its strategic orientation openly targets China. Third, four Asia-Pacific countries—Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand—participated in a NATO summit for the first time, which represents a dangerous step towards a southward expansion of NATO to Eurasia. All these signs indicate that China’s overall national security is facing an increasingly complicated and dangerous situation. It is clear that little has changed between the “U.S. top secret” of the Clinton era and the latest version of NATO’s Strategic Concept. In response, the Chinese people must maintain the highest vigilance and make the fullest preparations.

这次北约峰会给世人带来三个危险信号:一是北约将把原40000 人的前沿快速反应部队扩展至30 万人,其规模急速提升7 倍多; 二是战略指向公开瞄准中国;三是亚太地区日、韩、澳、新四国首次参会,已迈出打造“北约南扩欧亚版”的危险一步。所有迹象表明, 中国的总体国家安全正面临日益复杂、危险的局势。由此可见,从克林顿时代的“美国最高机密”到如今北约最新版本的“新战略概念” 完全是一脉相承的。对此,中国人民不能不保持最高的警惕并做好最充分的准备。

In today’s crisis-ridden world, workers in China’s military industry—boasting a glorious 91-year tradition of self-reliance, hard work, a can-do attitude, and a pioneering spirit—will stand shoulder to shoulder with the mighty Chinese People’s Liberation Army and jointly build and defend a great wall of steel that safeguards national sovereignty, security, territorial integrity, the happiness of the people, and national rejuvenation.

在当今这个危机四伏的世界中,有着91 年自力更生、艰苦奋斗、排除万难、开拓创新光荣传统的中国军工人必将与强大的中国人民解放军携手并肩,共同打造捍卫国家主权、安全、领土完整、人民幸福、民族复兴的钢铁长城。

Workers in China’s military industry sharpen the swords that defend the country and forge the shields that protect the people! They are always at the ready!


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Cite This Page

黄斌 (Huang Bin). "National Security Lessons for China from the Russia-Ukraine Conflict [俄乌冲突对中国国家安全的启示]". CSIS Interpret: China, original work published in Defense Science & Technology Industry [国防科技工业], October 31, 2022

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