BEIJING: The Central Military Commission (CMC) has released a guideline on deepening national defense and military reform, about a month after CMC Chairman Xi Jinping called on a military administration and command system overhaul at a key meeting.

According to the guideline, a new structure will be established in which the CMC takes charge of the overall administration of the People’s Liberation Army, the Chinese People’s Armed Police and the militia and reserve forces, battle zone commands focus on combat preparedness, and various military services pursue development.

The overall goal is to achieve progress and concrete results before 2020 in military administration and joint operational command, optimizing military structure, enhancing policy systems and civilian-military integration, and building a modern military with Chinese characteristics that can win information age wars.

While 2015 was mainly devoted to the implementation of leadership management and joint operational command reform, the guideline said 2016 will see military cuts, improved combatant personnel and reform of military academies and armed police forces.

The reform will include cutting troops from 2.3 million to 2 million, phasing out outdated armaments, developing new weapons systems and reducing the size of the militia.

The move to deepen defense and military reform is aimed at breaking down systematic, structural and policy barriers, modernizing the organization of the military, and unleashing the combat capacity of the military.

It is also aimed at building a firm defense and strong military commensurate with China’s international standing and interests in security and development.

The reform will maintain “a correct political direction,” the guideline said, adding that the “CPC’s absolute leadership of the armed forces” must be consolidated and perfected.

The “CMC chairman responsibility system” must be fully implemented to ensure the top leadership of the armed forces is centralized in the hands of the CPC Central Committee and the CMC.

The guideline also said that the only fundamental standard for military reform is whether the changes can improve fighting capacity.

Describing the defense and military reform as a systematic and revolutionary transformation, the guideline said the reform is unprecedented in its scope and for the interests it touches upon.

“Thus, [the reform] must be under the central leadership of the CPC Central Committee, the CMC and CMC Chairman Xi,” it said.

The guideline urged CMC organs established in the reform to fulfill their responsibilities as soon as possible, and transitional work must also be done well.

During the transitional period, measures must be taken to “make sure personnel do not lose control and assets do not lose value, while all matters are handed over seamlessly.”

The management of military land and housing should be strengthened, it said.

The guideline also asked the military to enforce strict disciplines during the reform process.

  • Jason Smith

    The Chinese military leadership doesn't stand a chance of successful reform. The problem is inherent to the multi-layered bureaucracy itself. Without accepting criticism, there can be no hope, for their survival, in a war. Wars are fought by the soldiers, not the bureaucrats. When you centralize, you weaken the ability of the soldier to do his duty. Chairman Xi, would do well, to re-learn the central tenet of the Sun Tzu ancient art of war; 'The sovereign must not interfere with the commander'. Foolish bureaucratic arrogance will be the undoing of the Chinese military, time and again. We will see proof of which in the future.