President Xi Jinping urged breakthroughs in reform of the country’s armed forces by 2020 at a meeting on military structural reform in Beijing on Thursday. China’s Ministry of National Defense reaffirmed the call, saying that it aims to reorganize the current military administration structure and its command system.
The new structure would have China’s Central Military Commission in charge of both administration and command of the People’s Liberation Army. It will create battle command centers to focus on the PLA’s combat needs, and different service commanders will work on the development of their respective services.
China currently has seven military area commands, each with separate command structures. This has made coordination between the military regions difficult.
To solve the problem, the regional commands will be regrouped and a general command center will be set up.
The Army’s personnel cut of 300,000 that President Xi announced in September is part of the overhaul, meaning 170,000 military officials could lose their jobs.
However, the reforms have taken these concerns into consideration.
“Veterans have been through strict military education and training as well as difficult missions. They are very important to the country and Communist Party of China,” National Defense Ministry spokesperson Yang Yujun said.
“For years, the Party and the country has paid high attention to a series of measures on resettling the veterans, which have already been carried out. The military reforms will strengthen the organization of managing veterans at the state level, so as to improve the service and guarantee system for them.”
China has been rapidly upgrading its military hardware. But there remains the challenge in integrating the complex systems across different military regions and services. No detailed information about the reform has been released, but experts say it’s clear that China has hit the launch button for a massive shake-up to create a modern force of international standard.
For context and analysis, CCTV America’s Mike Walter spoke with Senior Captain Zhang Junshe, vice president of the China Naval Research Institute.