Military modernization efforts are a key variable when assessing the Korean Peninsula, and one where the shifting strategies and military efforts of the United States and China play an increasingly important role. The modernization trends of all the countries involved in the region have great significance in determining the types of engagement that could be fought. Modernization affects deterrence and assessments of the potential course of any engagement, as well as estimate of types of forces the United States needs to commit to the region, both in times of peace and in times of tension.
There are serious limits to the unclassified data available for comparisons of Northeast Asian military modernization—especially for China and the DPRK. Unclassified sources do not include many smart munitions, they only cover a limited amount of other weaponry, and they do not reflect investments in logistics and transport. They also often do not include battle management, ISR, or Command, Control, Communications, and Computer (C4) assets. These are becoming steadily more critical aspects of military modernization.
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