Background: PLA History, Organization, and Important Definitions

在文檔中 人民解放軍的非戰爭軍事行動: 評估解放軍擴大任務行動及其對中美軍事關係的意函 - 政大學術集成 (頁 15-29)

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Chapter 1. Background: PLA History, Organization, and Important Definitions PLA History

The PLA was officially founded in 1927 under the Communist Party of China and largely resembled an insurgency. It had little access to advanced weapons and often relied on guerilla tactics to engage enemies. After the conclusion of World War II, the PLA fought Chiang Kai-Shek’s badly bruised National Army, finally forcing it out of the mainland in 1949 when it retreated to Taiwan. Shortly after in 1950, the PLA entered the Korean War, winning the support of the Soviet Union. Consequently, the Soviet Union provided the PLA with significant assistance in acquiring conventional weapons.

By 1960, Sino-Soviet tensions developed and the PLA failed to effectively manufacture indigenous weapons when the USSR terminated its aid. During this time, Chinese leader Mao Zedong adopted the “People’s War” doctrine, which promoted the utilization of irregular tactics to repel foreign invaders. Mao envisioned maximizing the utility of China’s large territory by initially avoiding confrontation with the invader, drawing them deep into the country. Afterwards, the PLA would harass supply lines and logistics hubs with small-scale yet frequent attacks. The level and intensity of the attacks would gradually grow until supply lines were cut off forcing the enemy to retreat and ultimately leave (Cliff, 2015, Ch 1).

Under Deng Xiaoping’s leadership, the PLA remained poorly equipped with outdated 1950’s Soviet assets. During the era of economic reform beginning in 1978, the PLA was so underfunded that it regularly needed to supplement its budget by creating side companies.

This situation led to a disorganized and unfocused army that was crudely trained and composed of uneducated conscripts from mostly rural locations. Consequences of this neglect were apparent when China suffered 20,000 casualties in a one month-long campaign during its invasion of Vietnam in 1979 (Cliff, 2015, Ch 1).

Three major events in the 1990’s motivated the PLA’s current modernization. First, the 1991 Gulf War between Iraq and the U.S. served as the initial catalyst for reform because Chinese observers were shocked by the decisive employment of military technology that swiftly devastated Saddam Hussain’s army (Nathan & Scobell, 2012, Chapter 4). PLA capabilities remained relatively rudimentary until the second event in 1996, known as the Third Taiwan Strait Crisis, when the Republic of China (ROC) on Taiwan held its first democratic presidential elections and the PRC feared ROC-U.S. ties were becoming too close. As a result, the PLA conducted a missile test firing three ground-to-ground M-9 missiles that landed in the waters outside of Taiwan’s two main sea ports (CNN, 1996). In

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response, the U.S. deployed two aircraft carriers to the Taiwan Strait, signaling that the Americans would defend Taiwan against a Chinese attack. The final event occurred in 1999 when the U.S. bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, killing 3 and injuring 27 Chinese nationals (Dumbaugh, 2002). Although American officials insist the bombing was

accidental, the incident sparked widespread outrage in China. Because the PLA had been neglected for so long, it lacked the capability to counter U.S. actions and military

modernization became a central goal of the PRC.

Modernization included revising doctrine, upgrading weapons, and improving the quality of personnel. In order to fund these improvements, significant increases in the

defense budget were necessary. From 1978 to 1996, the PLA’s budget had only increased by 25%; however, from 1996 to 2014 the defense budget grew on average 11% per year (Cliff, 2015, Ch 1). In 1993, President Jiang Zemin signaled a change in military strategy by stating that the PLA must prepare for “local wars under conditions of modern technology, especially high technology” (Cliff, 2015, Ch 2); however, no significant doctrine was produced prior to 1996. In 1999, the Central Military Commission (CMC), the highest level of the PLA, published six campaign guidance documents: one for each service branch, one for joint operations, and one for logistics. Following this release, the subordinate General Staff Department (GSD) published eighty separate combat regulations that directed how units would implement doctrine across a variety of services and operations (Cliff, 2015, Ch 2).

These publications marked a commitment to force-wide standardization and improvements in professionalization.

The PLA’s 1950’s Soviet-era technology was also quickly phased out and replaced with modern combat equipment. Today, the PLA’s main battle tank is the 98A, which is comparable to the U.S.’s M1A1 that enjoyed great success in the First Gulf War. This is a drastic improvement from the 1950’s style Type 85 tank that dominated the PLA inventory in 1996. It also has Shang class submarines, similar to early models of the U.S. Los Angeles class submarines. The PLAAF upgraded most of its J-8 fighter aircraft, derivatives of the 1950’s MiG-21, to the indigenously produced J-10 and J-11B fourth generation fighters (Cliff, 2015, Ch 1).

Besides upgrading existing combat capabilities, the PLA has also developed other advanced intelligence and strike options that bring it closer to parity with the world’s leading militaries. China has developed one of the world’s best space programs, which include three facilities that launch 17-25 satellites per year since 2010. Each year, approximately half of these satellites have direct military applications such as navigation and remote sensing (U.S.

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Office of the Secretary of Defense, 2015, pp. 69-70). Additionally, the PLA currently maintains a large arsenal of ballistic, cruise, air-to-air, and surface-to-air missiles,

demonstrating a formidable conventional strike capability. Estimates indicate it has more than 1,200 short-range ballistic missiles, which are difficult to intercept because of their trajectories (U.S. Office of the Secretary of Defense, 2015, p. 51). Furthermore, China now possesses 50-60 nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), some of which have global reach with ranges exceeding 11,200 km. Its latest ICBMs can strike multiple targets from a single missile through their multiple reentry vehicle (MIRV) technology and it is even developing a mobile launching platform (U.S. Office of the Secretary of Defense, 2015, p. 8).

As the PLA modernizes its technology, it must also recruit high quality, educated soldiers to employ these advanced systems. Consequently, the PLA has raised the minimum enlistment requirements across the board. Previously, the PLA recruited most of its soldiers from rural areas, most of who had little to no education. Today, troops who enlist from rural areas require at least a middle school education and those from urban locations must possess a high school or three-year technical college degree. In 2000, the PLA established the non-commissioned officer (NCO) ranks, creating professional opportunities for enlisted members.

NCOs are experts in their field and must obtain a high school or vocational degree, while the most senior ranked NCOs are required to have a three-year technical college degree.

Similarly, all of the PLA’s officers must enter service with a college degree (Cliff, 2015, Ch 1).

In addition to higher quality recruits, the PLA now invests heavily in training its forces for realistic and complex combat contingencies. Recently, the PLA has begun joint service training, which often occurs in adverse environmental conditions such as at night or in poor weather conditions. It also has “blue force units,” which are specific units whose missions are to study and simulate the tactics of potential adversaries, allowing normal units an opportunity to practice against them. Units are required to meet specified performance standards, and those that fail are required to retrain (Cliff, 2015, Ch 1).

Although the PLA has made an incredible transformation over the past 20 years, it lacks recent combat experience. In total, the PLA has only participated in three wars: the Korean War in 1950, the Sino-Indian War in 1962, and the Sino-Vietnam War in 1979.

Both the Sino-Indian and Sino-Vietnam wars were short in duration, lasting less than one month. In 1969, China and the Soviet Union engaged in a seven-month border clash that never resulted in a large-scale war. As a result, even the most senior general officers in the PLA have little combat experience, and none of its troops have actual combat experience

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under high-technology, informatized conditions. However, assuming that a lack of the PLA’s wartime experience correlates to combat inability would severely underestimate its actual capabilities. In fact, because of the PLA’s expanded mission set into MOOTW, it is gaining a significant amount of experience, learning several lessons, and developing notable

proficiency from its recent operations. Understanding how the PLA’s proficiency in conducting MOOTW can translate into aptitude on the battlefield will be a constant theme throughout this report.

PLA Organization

When discussing the PLA’s MOOTW, it is important that readers understand China’s military structure so that decision-making and command relationships can be better

comprehended. The most important concept to understand about the PLA is that it is

controlled by the CCP, not the state. Mao’s statement that “power comes from the barrel of a gun and the Communist Party must always control this instrument of coercion,” (Cheung, 2015) defines the special relationship between the party and the military. Consequently, the main objective of the PLA is to ensure that the CCP remains in power. The PLA began implementing significant structural changes beginning on December 31, 2015. Although some details of the new command structure are still unclear as of this writing, Figure 2 provides a graphical summary of the reforms.

The top decision making body in the PLA is the Central Military Commission (CMC). The CMC takes its strategic direction from the Politburo Standing Committee (PBSC, not shown), which includes the top civilian leaders in China. Although the CMC technically has dual chains of command, one for the party, and one for the state, in reality the positions are filled by the same people. For example, currently Xi Jinping holds four titles: he is the chairman of the CMC, the Commander in Chief of the military, the CCP’s Secretary-General, and also the sitting President of the PRC. Although the membership of the CMC is flexible, it typically has two vice-chairmen, one of which is a general officer in the PLA.

Usually the remaining vice-chairman position is filled by another PLA general officer or the the Vice President of China, who will assume the Presidency the next term. Given the structural overhaul, it is still unclear what other military members will hold CMC membership, but previously the minister of defense, the four Directors of the General Departments, the service chiefs, and 2nd Artillery Force Commander (which previously fell under the Army) all held CMC membership (Cliff, 2015, Ch 1). Given the restructuring’s

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Figure 2. The PLA organizational chart. Top figure from (Cliff, 2015, Ch. 1).

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emphasis on “jointness,” it is likely that the Director of the CMC Joint General Staff will also hold CMC membership.

The purpose of the restructuring is to “optimize the size and structure of the army, adjust and improve the balance between the services and branches, and reduce non-combat institutions and personnel” (CNTV, 2015). China’s 2015 Defense White Paper emphasizes the need for China to “give full play to the overall effectiveness of joint operations… and make integrated use of all operational means and methods” (Ministry of National Defense, The People's Republic of China, 2015), acknowledging the growing significance of the China’s Air Force and Navy. Traditionally, the PLA has been dominated by the Army which currently accounts for 73 percent of the entire military’s troops (including the Second

Artillery Force), while the Air Force and Navy only account for 17 percent and 10 percent, respectively (Allen, Blasko, & Corbett Jr., 2016, p. 2).

The reorganization eliminates the four PLA General Staff Departments, and replaces them with fifteen functional departments. These departments do not directly control combat troops, but rather determine policy, strategy, and regulations for their section of responsibility (Cliff, 2015, Ch 1). Furthermore, the reforms also created a separate headquarters for the Army, which used to be comprised of the four General Departments under the old scheme.

Additionally, it renamed the Second Artillery Force as the “Rocket Force” and removed its previous position as a branch under the Army, upgrading it to its own independent service.

The services are responsible for organizing, training, and equipping their forces. The seven Military Region (MR) Commands under the old system have been consolidated to five

“theater commands.” The new theater commands will be labeled Northern, Southern, Eastern, Western, and Central. The function of the new theater commands and old military region commands are essentially the same, in that they have combat troops assigned to them, much like the U.S.’s geographical combatant commands. Commanders of these units are responsible for employing their troops and assets to accomplish the military tasks issued by the CMC and CMC Military Defense Mobilization Department (Allen, Blasko, & Corbett Jr., 2016, pp. 3-4). Figure 3 illustrates the territories associated with the former military regions and possible configuration of the new theater commands.

These reforms are a clear signal that the PLA is posturing to achieve its goal of

“winning informationized local wars” by employing “integrated combat forces… in system-vs-system operations featuring information dominance, precision strikes, and joint operations” (Ministry of National Defense, The People's Republic of China, 2015). In some respects, the CCP hopes to implement organizational changes similar to those made

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by the U.S.’s Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986 that reduced inter-service rivalries and required joint integration. It is also simultaneously implementing widespread consolidation

demonstrated by the reduction of geographical commands and planned personnel cuts.

Although the PLA has traditionally been dominated by the Army, China’s expanding global interests and active defense strategy have led many to advocate for larger roles for its Air Force and Navy. Because the Army’s headquarters is no longer integrated with the General Staff and it now shares equal status with the other service branches, it would be no surprise if the Army’s dominance over PLA decisions and leadership erodes over the next 20-30 years.

Additionally, by upgrading the Second Artillery Force to its own service, now called the Rocket Force, the CCP is emphasizing the importance of China’s A2AD strategy.

Nevertheless, according to a photograph of the new CMC staff analyzed by the Jamestown Foundation, 84 percent of the CMC staff are still Army members, suggesting that force rebalancing will be a challenging and gradual process for the PLA (Allen, Blasko, & Corbett Jr., 2016, p. 3).

While little is known about the functions of each department within the CMC Staff, it seems that the Joint Staff Department, Office for Strategic Planning, and Office for Reform and Organizational Structure will all have major roles in improving the PLA’s force

integration capability. Besides the four major services previously discussed, China has created the Strategic Support Force (PLASSF) that will ensure its capability to operate effectively in an informationized environment. The PLASSF will conduct information

Figure 3. Comparison of old “Military Regions” (left) and new “Theater Commands”

(right). Image credit: left, U.S. Department of Defense; right, STRATFOR.

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warfare through utilizing three types of forces: cyber-troops, space-troops, and electronic warfare forces. Cyber-troops will conduct both offensive and defensive cyber-warfare, while space-troops will manage China’s ISR and navigation satellites. The electronic warfare troops will attempt to degrade or disrupt enemy radar and communication systems through electronic jamming (Costello, 2016). Despite these potentials, the PLASSF must be able to effectively coordinate with the other services for its capabilities to achieve the desired

synergistic effects. Because the current reforms posture the PLA to more effectively execute joint operations, the PLASSF should theoretically integrate effectively with the other

services. Consequently, the current ease with which the U.S. transits the peripheries of China may be challenged in the near future. Additionally, organizational improvements combined with force modernization measures have the potential to increase the PLA’s global force projection and overall MOOTW capabilities.

Important Definitions in Military Operations Other Than War

Military operations other than war cover a wide range of military activities, some of which include combat roles. The difference between war and MOOTW is that war utilizes large-scale combat operations to protect national security interests and achieve overall national objectives through the use of violent force, whereas MOOTW’s main objective is to utilize the military to achieve political interests by “deterring war, resolving conflict, [and]

promoting peace.” Consequently, the main objective of any MOOTW mission is always political in nature and thus “all military operations are driven by political considerations”

(Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joint Publication JP-07, 1995, pp. I-1). Although Chinese applications of MOOTW emphasize the importance of using the military to achieve goals related to domestic and external security issues, the PLA still values the political benefits resulting from peace and stability. It is critical that personnel involved in a MOOTW mission are culturally savvy and understand the potential detrimental political impact of actions that may be considered offensive. Furthermore, commanders must track and quickly react to changes in the political landscape that may affect overall objectives or military operations. Although the term “MOOTW” has recently been eliminated from U.S.

doctrine, it is a large part of China’s expanded mission set, thus the term will be used throughout the report. The DoD last published its Joint Doctrine for Military Operations Other Than War in 1995; however, many of the missions discussed below now have their own publications, suggesting that MOOTW operations are becoming increasingly important

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for both China and the U.S. Military doctrine in China is considered a state secret, so this paper will rely on U.S. doctrine to provide general definitions of each type of operation.

This report will focus on three areas of the the PLA’s recent MOOTW. The first set of missions includes humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. These missions are least likely to encounter hostilities and are characterized as non-combat operations. The second group of missions are Noncombatant Evacuation Operations, which is when the PLA is tasked to remove Chinese nationals from a foreign country who are endangered by violence from local political instability. The third class of missions includes counterpiracy and protection of shipping operations. These operations are typically conducted by the PLAN and may involve limited use of force to achieve objectives.

Each group is organized according to their likeliness to encounter combat according to the range of military operations concept presented in the introductory chapter. The first group of operations is least likely to encounter combat situations, but each group thereafter faces progressively more risk. Although counterpiracy missions in the third group often include small arms fire and Chinese noncombatant evacuations have always been conducted under permissive conditions, non-permissive NEOs have the potential to require significant combat activities, including heavy fire exchanges.

Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief

HA/DR missions occur when the military is tasked to deploy to a foreign country in response to a humanitarian crisis or natural disaster. The overall tactical objectives of these missions are to reduce human suffering and restore basic services so that governance can resume. Accomplishment of these tasks paves the way for achievement of the strategic political objectives of HA/DR missions. By promoting an image of benevolence and compassion, nations are able to generate goodwill and increase their soft power in both the

HA/DR missions occur when the military is tasked to deploy to a foreign country in response to a humanitarian crisis or natural disaster. The overall tactical objectives of these missions are to reduce human suffering and restore basic services so that governance can resume. Accomplishment of these tasks paves the way for achievement of the strategic political objectives of HA/DR missions. By promoting an image of benevolence and compassion, nations are able to generate goodwill and increase their soft power in both the

在文檔中 人民解放軍的非戰爭軍事行動: 評估解放軍擴大任務行動及其對中美軍事關係的意函 - 政大學術集成 (頁 15-29)