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The PLA At Home and Abroad: Assessing the Operational Capabilities of China's Military

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Colloquium brief

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More than 70 leading experts on the Peoples Liberation Army PLA gathered at Carlisle Barracks, PA, on September 25-27, 2009, for a discussion on The PLA at Home and Abroad Assessing the Operational Capabilities of Chinas Military. Participants sought to understand the PLAs evolving view of its roles and responsibilities amid a changing global security landscape. They first considered the PLAs relationship with the Chinese Communist Party trends in the PLAs ongoing reforms to informationalize, mechanize, and otherwise adapt to Chinas evolving defense needs and the PLAs role in tackling internal security challenges. From there, participants discussed PLA operations abroad, assessing trends in the pace, scope, goals, and success of logistics reform and the impact of these reforms on PLA capabilities. To analyze PLA capabilities, conference participants were tasked to address how the PLA is determining what types of missions it will undertake, and in doing so, analyze the process by which these missions are created and assigned. Signs are emerging that the PLA is becoming more confident about its position vis-a-vis Taiwan. At the same time, China believes that a changing international environment requires the Chinese armed forces to have more diversified capabilities. It is therefore placing relatively more emphasis on developing operational capabilities for missions other than against Taiwan e.g., humanitarian assistance, peacekeeping operations, disaster relief, antipiracy, etc.. The implementation of Hu Jintaos New Historic Missions also affords the PLA the opportunity to make gains in some of its traditionally weaker areas, including logistics improvement, defense industry reform, and the implementation of joint operations. Through its 2009 Gulf of Aden antipiracy mission, the PLA Navy has shown that it is capable of undertaking certain types of operations abroad.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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