The Logic Behind China's Military Reforms
By Mu Chunshan
China announced plans for sweeping military reformsthis week. Though details are scarce right now, as the reforms are implemented, clearer policies will be introduced. Like continuing economic reform, military reform will also become a revolutionary event in Chinese development during the Xi Jinping era.
Chinese military reform is not only about surface changes, but about changing the inner workings of the military. China wants to catch up with the changes occurring in other militaries worldwide. Xi Jinping mentioned during the military reform working conference that China’s military organization structure must be modernized by placing the Central Military in direct control and creating new battle zone commands. These changes all have a subtext – reform of the military region system.
Outsiders often make analogies to the military organizational systems of the United States and Russia. In fact, although the military systems of the United States and Russia are different, their division of battle zones under joint strategic commands is similar. These “battle zones” (as China’s will be called), are set up to execute strategic missions and maintain readiness. They are designed to allow all branches of the military within the zone effectively perform their role to ensure the strategic interests of their country.
Even the United States and Russia, which have advanced military weapons, have reformed their military divisions in the past decade – Russia by establish the Arctic Joint Strategic Command in 2014 and the United States by setting up Africa Command in 2007. Chinese military reform is also necessary, and long overdue. The last division of military regions in China was made in the 1950s, there have been no strategic adjustments for more than 60 years. China’s military has not adapted to the modern era.
Chinese military reform is not using the United States or Russia as a model, but is following the mainstream development of world militaries, with the purpose of enhancing battle effectiveness and defense capability.
Read more: thediplomat.com