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Choosing the “Least Bad Option”: Organizational Interests and Change in the PLA Ground Forces

By March 3, 2019April 29th, 2023No Comments

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is currently undergoing a series of organizational reforms unprecedented in its 90-year history. Beginning in September 2015, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) General Secretary and Central Military Commission (CMC) Chairman Xi Jinping announced a force reduction of 300,000 PLA personnel, kicking off a rapid-fire sequence of organizational and structural reforms. The PLA has undergone significant revisions to multiple levels of its command structure, constituent branches and services, and force structure that broadly conform to a dictum that the CMC will handle general management, newly formed theater commands (TCs) will focus on operations, and the services will handle force building [junwei guanzong, zhanqu zhuzhan, junzhong zhujian, 军委管总, 战区主战, 军种主建]. These are major changes, and their complete impact may not be fully understood and appreciated for some time to come.

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