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    Xi's Thought Guides Armed Forces Reform

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    The President’s goal is to build a stronger, more integrated, and more flexible PLA Editor’s note: To mark the 95th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army, the China Daily publishes a series of articles elaborating on Xi Jinping’s thoughts on strengthening the military, outlining his main ideas under different angles. The People’s Liberation Army has been undergoing historic reform guided by President Xi Jinping since late 2012, when Xi became the supreme leader of the Communist Party of China and the Chinese army. Xi Jinping’s Thought on Strengthening the Military has also made it clear that pursuing reforms and encouraging innovation are key to the strength of the military. Reform has led to the largest and most significant overhaul of the PLA in decades. The top governing bodies of the world’s largest military have been revamped – right down to the Central Military Commission – to optimize the chain of command. Regional command systems have been reorganized to strengthen joint combat capabilities. Group armies and institutions have been merged to improve efficiency, and new high-tech units have been created to prepare for operations in non-traditional areas such as cyberspace.Experts have said the president’s goal is clear and clear: the PLA must become stronger, more integrated and more flexible so that it is always able to win modern wars. Shortly after Xi became general secretary of the CPC Central Committee in November 2012, he announced his determination to revolutionize the PLA and make it a powerful force capable of safeguarding the security and interests from China. Since then, the CPC Central Committee, with Xi as its central core, has made theoretical and practical efforts to identify what kind of army to build to meet the new realities of the new era and help realize the great dream. National Renewal Chinese. become a reality, and what steps should be taken to build such an army. The outcome of these talks is known as Xi Jinping Thought on Strengthening the Military. in the face of new security and development situations and challenges,” so the Chinese military should be aware of its responsibilities and problems and make comprehensive changes, the president said. As part of the reform, changes have taken place in the lives of almost all PLA personnel. Many officers, including hundreds of generals, were transferred to new posts, while some returned to civilian life. Soldiers now devote more time to combat training and live-fire exercises, and corrupt commanders have been expelled and punished. “Without a strong army and a strong national defense, we could not not achieve our goal of building a strong country,” said Major General Luo Yuan, a retired researcher at the PLA Academy of Military Sciences. “To safeguard national security and development interests, we must have a compatible military force.”In November 2013, a plenary session of the CPC Central Committee declared a formal decision to undertake a massive military reform. Four months later, the Central Military Commission set up a group under Xi’s leadership to develop a roadmap for reform and guide its implementation. It was the first time that the Party General Secretary personally led an authority responsible for reforming the national defense system and the military.To prepare for the reform, Xi chaired two plenary meetings of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee to listen to experts’ thoughts, research findings and suggestions. Xi also convened three meetings of the Military Commission Reform Leadership Group central to solicit and discuss ideas and advice from senior PLA authorities, service headquarters, regional commands and research organizations. In addition, the Commander-in-Chief personally organized the research and development of major reform policies. Under his instructions, the Army conducted over 800 workshops and requested over 2,900 officers senior officials, government officials and researchers to share their ideas, considerations and suggestions. The armed forces also encouraged the military to submit their opinions and ultimately received over 3,400 suggestions. After more than 150 rounds of revisions, in July 2015, a comprehensive reform plan was approved by the high authorities of the Party and the army. Four months later, the plan was unveiled. The decade-long overhaul quickly took effect. The last day of 2015 saw the establishment of the PLA Ground Force Headquarters, the PLA Rocket Force and the PLA Strategic Support Force, an unprecedented step that officially launched the historical military reform.In January 2016, the four main departments of the PLA – general staff, political, logistics and armament – were dissolved and their functions and duties entrusted to 15 new agencies under the control direct from the Central Military Commission. Shortly thereafter, the regional command systems, which administered front-line forces for more than 60 years, were redistributed into eastern theater commands , south, west, north and center. These replaced seven regional commands named after their headquarters cities: Beijing, Shenyang, Jinan, Lanzhou, Nanjing, Chengdu and Guangzhou. The commission also established the Joint Operations Command Center and the Joint Logistics Support Force.During the reform, the PLA reduced its troops by 300,000 and its ground force reduced the number of its group armies from 18 to 13. In addition, the number of universities and colleges in the PLA has been reduced from 74 to 43.However, the Navy and Rocket Force have been expanded, while the number of non-combatants was reduced. “Military reform has drastically reduced the size of the Land Force…and the Land Force staff has fallen below 50% of the entire PLA,” the Gen. Li Zuocheng, chief of staff of the Joint Staff Department of the Central Military Commission, who was commander of the PLA Ground Force during the troop reduction. He said the reform would transform China‘s traditional massive ground force into a strong and modern army. Key to StrengthXi has repeatedly stressed the role of science, technology and innovation in the Chinese military .At its request, the CPC Central Committee established a Central Commission for Integrated Military and Civilian Development to promote this work.The military has also reorganized its key military institutions. research – the PLA Academy of Military Sciences, the PLA National Defense University and the PLA National University of Defense Technology.Shao Dan, a researcher at the PLA Academy of Military Sciences, said the reform should make China‘s armed forces better suited for modern warfare and give them greater deterrent capabilities to safeguard the nation’s sovereignty and interests. “The old military system that relied heavily on ground forces has been abolished, while new capabilities for strategic early warning, defense long-range maritime nse, long-range strike, strategic power deployment and information support have been significantly enhanced,” she said. Senior Colonel Wu Qian, spokesperson for the Ministry of National Defense, said the reform aims to shape the future of the PLA and has become the deepest and most comprehensive overhaul of the army. The reform established a new command system, with the Central Military Commission at its head. Regional commands are responsible for interservice exercises and combat operations, while Land Force, Navy, and other service staffs support unit training and development. “The reform has restructured the armed forces, giving them new momentum and boosting their morale,” Wu said.

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