Western and Soviet military policies, defense budgets, and national priorities are shaped, in part, by theoretical constructs on the use of force, the requirements and consequences of modern warfare, and the role of specific weapons systems. These theories, or military doctrines, 1 are subject to continuing change and debate, especially in the United States. For historical reasons, doctrines may be more explicit in respect to, say, strategic nuclear weapons than to tactical nuclear or conventional weapons, and bureaucratic or other biases may affect the formulation or the impact of specific doctrines. Although authorities everywhere differ on precisely what doctrines are or should be, most agree that such doctrines do exist, sometimes implicitly, in all military establishments and have great importance. In addition to shaping the procurement and deployment of forces, the development of new weapons, and the guidelines issued to military commanders, doctrines influence agendas and help structure debates on the full range of defense issues. China is no exception. Yet, despite a preoccupation with military doctrines in Peking and their use in decision making, we have had only the most superficial and somewhat dated understanding about the doctrinal underpinnings of Chinese military policy.