People’s Liberation Army
Publication: China Brief Volume: 15 Issue: 4
Between May 31 and July 28, 2014, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) began the annual large-scale exercise codenamed “Stride 2014.” The Stride exercises have been a regular occurrence, focusing largely on the rapid deployment of large field formations into unfamiliar territory and conducting confrontation drills. The 2014 version, however, was different in its scale, unit composition, intensity and the nature of the opponent the units faced. No fewer than seven of the PLA’s top brigades from seven different group armies (GA) were deployed to the Zhurihe Training Base in Inner Mongolia, under the Beijing Military Region. During the six confrontation exercises that followed, only one resulted in a victory for the visiting “Red Forces” (REDFOR), and at heavy cost. The drubbing received by the REDFOR actually reflects a new age in PLA training that is closely linked with the unit that taught them the lesson, China’s first dedicated opposing forces brigade (OPFOR).  Read the rest of this entry »
As the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) continues to emphasize the need to raise the quality of its personnel, analyzing the recruitment, education and training of the officer corps becomes all the more important for assessing Chinese military modernization, especially for the technology-dependent PLA Air Force (PLAAF). Based on the available information, it is unclear whether the PLAAF has succeeded in reforming officer recruitment, education and training to build a more highly-educated officer corps capable of commanding, operating and supporting a growing high-tech force in a combined-arms and joint environment. It is clear however that a number of challenges remain, including limited opportunities for joint training in the academy and a lack of centralized management.
PLAAF officers come from military academic institutions, a Defense Student (Reserve Officer) Program and direct recruitment of civilian graduates. The PLAAF, which has multiple officer academic institutions, separates its education and training system at each level (cadet, basic, intermediate and advanced) based on the five officer career tracks: military/command, political, logistics, equipment and special technical. Whereas all PLAAF academic institution graduates receive their specialty training as a cadet, Defense Students and directly recruited graduates must receive their specialty training after graduation. In addition, almost all new officers serve a one-year probationary period and must serve at least eight years before leaving the military. Read the rest of this entry »