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NEWS | Feb. 14, 2024

New China Focused Course creates Joint Experts across the Indo-Pacific

By Spc. Taylor Gray

FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii – U.S. Army Pacific hosted the first official China Way of War course at the Joint Multinational Simulation Center on Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, Feb. 5 - 9, 2024.


The course exposed 23 joint uniformed service members and civilians to Chinese strategic thinking. Through primary source documents, interactive exercises, and a capstone wargame, students built a nuanced understanding of the Chinese Communist Party and the People’s Liberation’s Army’s actions. 


The 2022 National Defense Strategy identified the People’s Republic of China as the primary pacing challenge for the United States. USARPAC recognized the benefit of service members and Department of Defense civilians in the region developing an accurate and holistic understanding of the PRC, CCP and PLA. 


“USARPAC leadership directed us to develop a course that would enhance general knowledge of China and their military capabilities,” said Capt. Carlo Orciga, U.S. Army Pacific Operations and Training and a coordinator for the China Way of War course. Adding that the initial concept originated from a similar course in Europe focused on Russia.


The pilot course, launched in October 2023, garnered interest from numerous Pacific-based units, resulting in multiple course offerings throughout the year, with plans to expand across the region and enable more participation across commands. 


Senior U.S. Defense Official and Defense Attaché to China, Brig. Gen. Patrick Teague, spoke to the class at the end of the week, offering students a unique opportunity to have their questions answered by someone on the ground interacting with the PLA each day. 


When asked why service members and civilians working in the Indo-Pacific should be taking courses such as the China Way of War, Teague referenced the need for foundational knowledge about the PLA across the force. 


“We have to build that foundational knowledge and that starts right now,” said Teague. 


Emphasizing the significance of the pacing threat, Teague referenced the Soviet Union after World War II, noting it took 30 years for the U.S. military to become experts on the threat at the time. 


Lt. Cmdr. Ros Lary, from U.S. Pacific Fleet and course graduate spoke on the importance of knowing history.


“I think something that we can overlook sometimes is the People’s Republic of China point of view, they’re not just looking at it with fresh eyes. They feel the weight of their history and look at it through that lens,” said Lary. 


The course’s culminating tabletop exercise had students representing the PRC, utilizing the knowledge they learned throughout the week to wargame a strategy to sabotage landing strips of the opposing team and cut off port access. 


Maj. Louis Crist, 10th Support Group, U.S. Army Japan noted how understanding the PLA’s way of military thinking is a valuable decision-making tool.


“As an intelligence officer, it’s incredibly important to know what the enemy thinks; so that you can try and predict what the enemy will do and why they make the decisions that they do,” said Crist.  


The China Way of War is part of the Regional Leader Development Program under the USARPAC G3 Training Directorate. The course is open to military, civilians, allies, and partners and is one of the requirements for receiving the Personnel Development Skill Identifier (PDSI) P2E. 


The P2E PDSI exemplifies the expertise developed when stationed in the Indo-Pacific Region.


“With every differing experience one has in this theater, it in turn helps shape the level of understanding at all echelons with what the common picture is in the region,” said Orciga, who was also the first Soldier from USARPAC to be awarded the P2E PDSI. “I hope this course further elevates the talent USARPAC has in the Indo-Pacific and increases understanding at all other theaters, and between our joint-partners and allies.”


At the end of the course, Teague left the students with a call to action saying, “All of you leave here with a knowledge set you did not have coming in, and it is your responsibility to teach, train and inform those you work with, those who work for you, and those you work for.”


For more information on the CWOW or the PDSI please email the USARPAC Training Directorate at