While the day-to-day focus of US military planning remains Iraq and Afghanistan, American strategists are increasingly looking beyond these two conflicts to envision the global combat environment of the emerging period--and the world they see is one where the struggle over vital resources, rather than ideology or balance-of-power politics, dominates the martial landscape. Believing that the United States must reconfigure its doctrines and forces in order to prevail in such an environment, senior officials have taken steps to enhance strategic planning and combat capabilities. Although little of this has reached the public domain, there have been a number of key indicators.
Since 2006 the Defense Department, in its annual report Military Power of the People's Republic of China, has equated competition over resources with conflict over Taiwan as a potential spark for a US war with China. Preparation for a clash over Taiwan remains "an important driver" of China's military modernization, the 2008 edition noted, but "analysis of China's military acquisitions and strategic thinking suggests Beijing is also developing capabilities for use in other contingencies, such as conflict over resources." The report went on to suggest that the Chinese are planning to enhance their capacity for "power projection" in areas that provide them with critical raw materials, especially fossil fuels, and that such efforts would pose a significant th... >>>