Research Report

THE PLA AT HOME AND ABROAD:: ASSESSING THE OPERATIONAL CAPABILITIES OF CHINA’S MILITARY

Roy Kamphausen
David Lai
Andrew Scobell
Copyright Date: Jun. 1, 2010
Pages: 654
OPEN ACCESS
https://www.jstor.org/stable/resrep11945
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. v-viii)
    GEORGE H. W. BUSH

    It is a distinct honor to write the foreword to this volume dedicated to Ambassador James R. Lilley. I am proud that the George H. W. Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University—along with the National Bureau of Asian Research and the U.S. Army War College—was one of the sponsoring institutions of the September 2009 Conference on the People’s Liberation Army. For the 11th consecutive year, the event has been held at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania.

    It is entirely appropriate that this book of papers presented at the 2009 conference be dedicated to Jim’s memory....

  2. (pp. 1-44)
    David Lai

    The final years of the 2000s turned out to be quite eventful for the People’s Republic of China (PRC and China interchangeably) and its armed forces, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). While there were exciting events for them to celebrate, there were disturbing ones for them to worry about as well.

    China’s economic reform and phenomenal economic development had sailed on uncharted waters for 30 years. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leaders could not have wished for a better occasion than the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing to celebrate their accomplishments. The Beijing Olympics ceremonies were probably the most expensive...

  3. (pp. 45-98)
    Paul H. B. Godwin

    This chapter assesses People’s Liberation Army (PLA) views on the roles and responsibilities of the armed forces in China’s changing global security landscape. It does so by focusing primarily on the years since December 2004, when at an expanded meeting of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Central Military Commission (CMC) Chairman Hu Jintao revised the armed forces’ “historic missions.” It was at this meeting that Hu Jintao stressed the “diversified military tasks” required by the PLA to respond effectively to the changes in China’s security environment and provide more extensive support for Beijing’s foreign policy.

    Hu Jintao’s revisions broadened and...

  4. (pp. 99-134)
    Andrew Scobell

    The release of the 2008 Defense White Paper provides an opportunity to assess current thinking in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and its future trajectory. Of course, the white paper is a consensus document issued by the State Council, not the Central Military Commission (CMC) or any other military entity. Nevertheless, we know the PLA has substantial input.¹ This chapter considers PLA discourse on evolving doctrine circa 2009 in light of the 2008 White Paper. As important as the white paper is—providing valuable insights and useful nuggets of information—it is not the bible of Chinese defense policy and...

  5. (pp. 135-192)
    You Ji and Daniel Alderman

    The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) celebrated its 82nd birthday in August 2009. Compared with earlier milestones in 1927 and 1949, the PLA today is very different. Among the many changes that the PLA has undergone, its dramatic change vis-à-vis the PRC’s civilian leadership has been most visible.¹ This can be concretely tested by Hu Jintao’s way of commanding the military, which represents a sharp contrast with all his predecessors. Simply put, he is the first Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader whose power consolidation is not through first controlling the gun. He is the first post-Mao leader whose control of the...

  6. (pp. 193-236)
    Kevin Pollpeter

    The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) views information superiority—the use of information and its denial to adversaries—as the main determiner of success on a high technology battlefield. While much attention has been paid to the PLA’s development of modern weaponry, less attention has been paid to its development of a comprehensive command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) system. While the PLA follows Chinese leaders’ guidance, namely Chairman Hu Jintao’s addresses and the recent Defense White Papers, to develop overall information capability, it also sees the development of a networked C4ISR system capable of locating and tracking...

  7. (pp. 237-294)
    Harold M. Tanner

    The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has not seen combat since its brief “punitive war” against Vietnam in 1979.¹ In the 30 years since, and particularly since the mid-1990s, the PLA has undergone substantial modernization, reorganization, and training. But while they have been trained and equipped for war, China’s soldiers have been deployed time and again not to fight external enemies, but to respond to internal security issues such as natural disasters, violent mass demonstrations, or “mass incidents,” and episodes of ethnic unrest.

    In prosecuting these “military operations other than war” (MOOTW), the PLA works in cooperation with the People’s Armed...

  8. (pp. 295-376)
    Andrew S. Erickson

    The dramatic rise of piracy in the waters off of Somalia in 2008, combined with United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions designed to empower other nations to fight that piracy, presented the Chinese with an historic opportunity to deploy a naval force to the Gulf of Aden. This chapter offers an assessment of the PLA Navy’s (PLAN) mission and its implications. Emphasis is placed on the motivations and preparations for the mission; relevant operational details, including rules of engagement, equipment, personnel, and logistic support; degree of coordination with other militaries; domestic and international responses to the mission; and indications of...

  9. (pp. 377-428)
    Dennis J. Blasko

    Since October 2002, Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) ground forces (i.e., Army units) and People’s Armed Police (PAP) units have conducted approximately 24 combined exercises with foreign military, law enforcement, or emergency rescue organizations.¹ The general trend lines observed include an increasing number of relatively small-scale, short-duration exercises, conducted mostly with forces from China’s immediate neighbors, in nontraditional security missions that support Beijing’s larger foreign policy objectives.

    PLA and PAP units from all over the country, with the exception of Nanjing Military Region (MR), have participated in these exercises.² The official scenarios for all combined exercises have been described as...

  10. (pp. 429-480)
    Heidi Holz and Kenneth Allen

    In the last 2 decades, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has interacted with the international community in more ways, more often, and more effectively. The increased frequency and sophistication of China’s employment of military diplomacy as a tool of statecraft mirrors trends in overall Chinese diplomacy as the People’s Republic of China (PRC) becomes increasingly engaged in the international community.

    This chapter discusses the role of PLA military diplomacy in China’s foreign relations.¹ It examines the various activities encompassed by PLA military diplomacy and the ways in which these activities help to fulfill China’s larger foreign policy objectives. It begins...

  11. (pp. 481-552)
    Eric Hagt

    China has embarked on yet another round of transformative change to its defense industrial complex. The Chinese leadership’s strategic sights are set on civil-military integration (CMI [军民一体化]) as the centerpiece of future defense reform.¹ The decision to pursue CMI is the result of a decade of intensive study of international trends and a comprehensive self-assessment that past efforts to retool the industry have not met the needs of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in preparing for future warfare.²

    The government’s long-term commitment to CMI appears firm. Since the 3rd Plenum of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s 16th Party Congress...

  12. (pp. 553-636)
    Susan M. Puska

    Throughout much of the history of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), since the closing days of the Civil War and the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in late 1949, military logistics served as disarticulated systems of independent and redundant support provided by the services³ and individualized by units, commanders, and locations. China’s military logistics system reached into local, nontraditional roles and functions in civil production and resource exploitation. These connections were strengthened during the 1960-70s, when the PLA was directly embedded into the civilian logistics infrastructure to secure and manage distribution networks, commodities, and key resources.

    PLA...