rumour of PLA force modernization

Discussion in 'China' started by ice berg, Dec 26, 2011.

  1. ice berg

    ice berg Senior Member Senior Member

    Nov 18, 2011
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    There is a rumour going on that PLA is gonna reduce the number of military regions from 7 to 5.
    Among them Chengdu and Jinan. Still a rumour so far, but will be interesting if they really carry it through.

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    It also means PLA is finally starting with the war zone doctrine that they have talked about since 90s....

    Since the 1985 “strategic transition” of the PLA from preparing for “early, total, and
    nuclear” war to local and limited war, there have been debates on what type of local
    war the PLA should be prepared to fight.

    The 1991 Gulf War and the 1996 Taiwan
    Straits crisis have apparently convinced the PLA planners that a likely war scenario
    for which the PLA should be prepared to deter or fight is a medium-sized local war
    comparable to a PLA WZC. “In terms of scale and nature, possible future local wars
    that involve large-scale sea-crossing and amphibious landing operations, counter-
    offensive operations in the border regions, and repelling local foreign invasion all
    belong to this category.”

    If WZC is a primary mode of operations that may shape
    PLA war planning, the central issues that need to be addressed become: What are the
    defining characteristics of WZC? How can such campaigns increase the chances to
    turn PLA absolute inferiority to local and temporary superiority?

    Defining Characteristics
    Several major features have been advanced to define WZCs. First, the WZC is an
    intermediate campaign mode between combined arms group army (CAGA)
    campaign, CAGA group (jituanjun qun) campaign, and war zone front (zhanqu
    fangxiang) campaign on the one hand, and a major or total war involving more than
    one war zone, and partial or total national mobilization on the other. Unlike the
    former three types of campaign where the ground forces dominate and other service
    branches play only a supportive role, a WZC is a joint service campaign where each
    service conducts relatively independent subcampaigns (zhi zhanyi). Since a war zone
    usually has one strategic direction, several campaign fronts, and multidimensional
    space, subcampaigns may include electronic warfare operations, conventional
    strategic and campaign missile operations, air operations, sea operations, and front
    army or CAGA operations. Therefore, unlike CAGA-level campaigns that emphasize
    ground forces, the WZC gives equal weight to all four services (ground, navy, air, and
    conventional strategic missile forces) in the war zone, which may be reinforced
    through the national supreme command by forces outside the war zone. They “have
    a system of unity between military region [MR, which encompasses several adjacent
    provinces] and war zone. [This means that] the peacetime MR becomes a WZ during
    the war time . . . and has jurisdiction over the ground, navy, and air forces within it.”
    Generally speaking, a WZC “is the total sum of several service-based subcampaigns,
    while a CAGA-level campaign is the total sum of ground battles.”

    Furthermore, a WZC may last from several weeks to several months and involve
    several phases. Even though “the trend is toward shorter duration, it is still longer
    than CAGA, CAGA group and war zone front campaigns.” On the other hand, unlike a
    major war where a single campaign may affect but not directly decide the strategic
    outcome, a WZC is limited and local in the sense that its outcome directly determines
    whether national strategic objective is realized. Since WZC itself constitutes local war

    Finally, a WZC is conducted by the unified, joint service command at the war zone
    level under the guidance of the national supreme command. Also, some such
    campaigns may be carried out under the threat and deterrence of nuclear, chemical
    and biological warfare. Moreover, since the political stake of such campaign is high,
    both sides may utilize their best forces, high-tech arms and advanced C4I, leading to
    fierce battlespace competition that fuses defense with offense.

    Advantages of WZC
    How then can WZC help to transform the absolute PLA inferiority into local and
    temporary superiority? First, a CAGA-level campaign is too short in time, too limited
    in scope, and too dominated by regular ground forces to give full play to the PLA’s
    newly developed “pockets of excellence,” particularly in naval, air, conventional
    strategic missile, rapid reaction, and special operations capabilities. On the other
    hand, total war may overwhelm and diminish the relevance of these “pockets of
    excellence,” since the technologically superior superpower(s) is likely to employ its
    most advanced weapons simultaneously on all fronts and throughout the war
    process, thus dwarfing PLA’s “pockets of excellence.” Compared to a CAGA-level
    campaign, however, a WZC is sufficiently big and long for the PLA to concentrate its
    “pockets of excellence” to a local and temporary situation to reverse its absolute
    inferiority. On the other hand, a WZC is more limited and shorter than a total war,
    because the PLA is more likely to deal with an adversary that is much less powerful
    than a superpower in such a campaign, as long as the powerful adversary (qiangdi,
    referring to the superpower) is denied sufficient reasons to intervene, or is deterred
    from doing so. In this way, the WZC may work to the advantage of the PLA.
    Moreover, unlike CAGA-level campaigns that have limited space, the joint service
    campaign associated with the multidimensional space and deeper depth of a war
    zone “allows sufficient leeway for asymmetrical strikes (buduideng daji) through
    flexible assembling of diverse means and innovative combination of versatile styles.”
    The joint service campaign may provide the conditions for the PLA to “use its
    strength against enemy’s weakness (yiqiang jiruo),” and avoid matching PLA’s
    weakness with the enemy’s strength. It, for instance, may lead to situations where
    “we can use our air power to strike enemy ground and naval targets, use our ground
    forces to deal with enemy air and naval operations, use our navy to fight enemy
    ground forces, and use our combat forces to strike enemy non-combat aspects such
    as C4I and logistics.” If “it is inevitable that we fight a service-matching war of
    symmetry with the enemy, it is still necessary that in comparative capabilities we

    This articulation of
    the WZC illustrates conditions that may increase the chances for the PLA to achieve
    a measure of local and temporary superiority. But for the probability of such chances
    to be enhanced, more concrete strategies have to be systematically articulated.

    One new PLA campaign strategy is “elite forces and sharp arms (EFSA).” Several
    major reasons have been advanced to justify EFSA. First, unlike total war, the limited
    nature of local war makes it possible to achieve local and temporary superiority
    through the concentrated use of EFSA. According to one PLA author, “after many
    years of army building, we have acquired a certain number of high-tech elite forces
    and sharp arms, and they are capable of competing with a powerful enemy.” Finally,
    operations in areas close to the homeland provide the favorable base, logistics, and
    battlefield conditions for utilizing EFSA.
    If the PLA is endowed with the necessary
    “material conditions” (the PLA expression for “pockets of excellence”), the key
    question to be addressed is: how does the PLA optimize the use of such forces and
    arms to achieve local and temporary superiority? The answer to the question lies in
    the PLA articulation of several major concepts associated with deployment,
    coordination and command.

    The rest of the article here:
  3. sesha_maruthi27

    sesha_maruthi27 Senior Member Senior Member

    Aug 15, 2010
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    Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh(INDIA)
    So, this stand of internal and external war practice shows the intention of the Chinese to attack any of the neighboring countries...........
  4. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

    May 26, 2010
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    This is been going on since late 90s..

    What is new..
  5. ice berg

    ice berg Senior Member Senior Member

    Nov 18, 2011
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    Are you kidding?
    It has never been implemented..until now. If it turns out to be true, then it is one of the largest military reform in recent time.
    Going from 7 to 5 military regions is nothing new?
  6. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Apr 17, 2009
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    Excellent stuff!

    On the right lines!
  7. tony4562

    tony4562 Tihar Jail Banned

    Oct 2, 2009
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    China used to have 11 military regions. That was inline witht the fact that PLA was an army with very limited mobility paired with the task of defending a huge territory against a multitude of potential enermies. As part of the effort in the 80's to have a leaner military the 11 regions were consolidated into just 7. Now I think with land-based threats further diminishing, in particular regarding threats from the north, coupled at same time with increasing mobility of the PLA and vastly improved infrastructure even in remote corners of the country, it is now time to reduce the number of military regions further. I think 3 would suffice:

    Merge Beijing, Shenyang, Jinan and Lanzhou military regions into 1 giant military region and transfer some of the excess assets to the remaining military regions in the south.
    Abolish the Guangzhou military region and split its assets between the Chengdu and Nanjing military regions.

    Also as part of the effort I would also like to see the number of Corps (Group Armies) to be reduced from the present 21 to 18, and realiged between the remaining military regions: 8 with Beijing, 6 with Nanjing and 4 with Chengdu.

    The same kind of reform should also happen to the Navy. Right now PLAN is organized into 3 fleets, a reflection of PLAN's past as a mainly coastal defence force. Now I think the northern sea fleet is completely unnecessary and should be merged with the east sea fleet.
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2011
  8. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Apr 17, 2009
    Likes Received:
    All these things are for administrative and operational needs.

    It keeps on keeping with the times.

    It is not cast in stone!

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