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The PLA Navy: New Capabilities and Missions for the 21st Century

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Since our last publication in 2009, the People s Liberation Army Navy PLAN has made significant strides in operationalizing as well as modernizing its force. Although the PLAN s primary focus remains in the East Asia region, where China faces multiple disputes over the sovereignty of various maritime features and associated maritime rights, in recent years, the PLAN has increased its focus on developing blue-water naval capabilities. Over the long term, Beijing aspires to sustain naval missions far from China s shores. When we wrote the 2009 publication, China had just embarked on its first counterpiracy missions in the Gulf of Aden, but most PLAN operations remained close to home. Nearly six years later, these missions have continued without pause, and China s greater fleet has begun to stretch its legs. The PLAN has begun regular combat training in the Philippine Sea, participated in multinational exercises including Rim of the Pacific RIMPAC 2014, operated in the Mediterranean, increased intelligence collection deployments in the western Pacific, and for the first time deployed a submarine to the Indian Ocean. The People s Republic of China PRC has continued to modernize its military, providing the PLAN with increasingly modern multipurpose platforms such as the LUYANG III-class destroyers and the JIANGDAOclass corvettes. The Chinese military also continues to evolve its doctrine, organization, and training to ensure its personnel are able to effectively fight modern wars with modern equipment. Sustained leadership emphasis on realistic and complex training has influenced training patterns and improved operational proficiency during the past five years. In late 2012, Xi Jinping extolled the continued importance of cultivating real combat awareness throughout the military. Today, the PLAN conducts complex multidiscipline warfare training throughout the year.

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  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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