China’s People’s Liberation Army has undergone a broad restructuring and modernization effort for years now, and according to a new report released by the Defense Intelligence Agency, the nation’s military is finally approaching a level of capability that could enable it to dominate the hotly contested South China Sea.

Although China’s military development has not yet reached a level that would permit sufficient force projection to legitimately threaten the United States with a conventional war, China has rapidly become a dominant Pacific power. Its “green water” Navy may not be able to traverse the globe like America’s does, but it will soon have enough firepower to dominate much of the Pacific.

One particular waterway, the South China Sea, is the site of numerous overlapping claims of sovereignty, but none more aggressive or with less merit than China’s “historical” claim to the entire body of water, stretching thousands of miles from Chinese shores. This issue has been a focal point for the U.S. Defense Department for years, who regularly sail Freedom of Navigation Operations, or FONOPS, through China’s claimed waters, which most in the international community still deem to be “international.”

“China is rapidly building a robust, lethal force, with capabilities spanning ground, air, maritime, space and information domains, designed to enable China to impose its will in the region, and beyond,” explained Dan Taylor, a senior defense intelligence analyst with the DIA.