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The Role of Informatization in the People’s Liberation Army under Hu Jintao

By April 22, 2014April 29th, 2023No Comments

In a chapter of the compilation book Assessing the People’s Liberation Army in the Hu Jintao Era, CIRA China analysts Joe McReynolds and James Mulvenon examine Chinese military informatization under Hu Jintao, with an emphasis on the integration of military and civilian informatization efforts as well as the evolution of Hu’s informatization strategy from that of his predecessor, Jiang Zemin. During Hu’s term, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) fully embraced informatization as a central guiding principle of military theory and doctrine, an underlying firmament uniting PLA concepts such as the revolution in military affairs (RMA) with Chinese characteristics, integrated joint operations, civil-military integration, and system-of-systems warfare, and tying them to China’s broader civilian informatization effort. However, this theoretical sophistication masks significant operational deficits, and the PLA’s recent technological advances will not generate world-class combat abilities if they are not matched by modernized personnel and organizational structures. This will be the next major hurdle for the PLA’s informatization effort, and Hu’s primary informatization legacy is his laying the policy groundwork that, in time, may enable the PLA to overcome these structural challenges.

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