In early 2020, the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) conducted the fifth iteration of its “ZHANLAN” far seas training series (Ministry of National
Defense, February 2, 2019).  The PLAN established ZHANLAN in 2016 as an annual far seas training event, with each iteration growing in complexity
(Ministry of National Defense, May 27, 2016). Live fire and combat training often draws the most attention during such PLA training events, but the
critical highlight of ZHANLAN-2020A was the training focus on combat support, rather than kinetic operations. The key takeaway from this training
event is that the PLAN is developing the proficiencies to sustain limited offensive strikes against U.S. forces—perhaps as far out as Hawaii.
This article argues that the PLAN is close to being able to execute offensive naval operations outside of the first island chain (and perhaps
beyond the second island chain) in a wartime environment. The PLA has long discussed the concept of conducting offensive naval operations beyond the
first island chain, and by comparing observables from the ZHANLAN-2020A training event with the list of proficiencies necessary to conduct deep
strike, the PLAN is likely close to operationalizing this concept.