JOURNAL OF DEFENCE STUDIES

The Chinese Maritime Militia: A Perfect Swarm?

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  • July 2016
    Volume: 
    10
    Issue: 
    3
    Focus

    The South China Sea is a zone of contention between China and other nations in the region. The US Navy has decreased the number of ships available to counter Chinese encroachments here and this power vacuum may be exploited by the Chinese Maritime Militia (CMM). The militia is comprised of fishing vessels that are used to augment the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), and possesses sophisticated communication and GPS technology. CMM units, using swarm warfare tactics and Network Centric Warfare (NCW), have the potential to become a significant combat multiplier in China’s endeavours to take control of the area. Therefore, it is important to understand the tactics and capabilities of this organisation. Similarly, if Beijing decides to close or interdict the South China Sea trade routes or expand naval influence into the Indian Ocean, other actors, such as India, Australia or Japan may be drawn into direct confrontation with the militia.

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