Beijing: China’s President Xi Jinping has asked the PLA’s newly-formed 84 large military units to prepare themselves for combat and give priority to building “new-type” fighting capabilities in electronic, information and space warfare.
The President asked the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to improve their joint operation capabilities and technology level. Xi asked the units of the PLA to keep themselves ready for combat and study wars.
In PLA terminology, “new-type” fighting capabilities generally refer to capabilities of engaging in electronic, information and space operations.
Xi has asked the PLA to conduct more combat exercises and give priority to building “new-type” fighting capabilities, according to state-run China Daily.
The President, also the Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), spoke to the commanders of the new units on Tuesday.
This development comes in the background of Beijing preparing to counter the US deployment of Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) interceptor missiles in South Korea, whose powerful radars could see through most of the part of China, including its missile development programme.
As it expanded strategic influence, China is also flexing its military might, especially in the neighbourhood over the territorial disputes with India, Japan and countries in the South China Sea.
All 84 of the new units are at combined corps level, which means their commanders have or soon will be promoted to a rank of either major general in the Ground Force, Air Force and Rocket Force or rear admiral in the Navy.
Though the PLA has not disclosed how these units were set up, it is likely that they were created through the regrouping of existing forces rather than recruiting new personnel, because the 2.3 million-strong Chinese military is still engaged in cutting its troops by three lakhs.
At a CMC conference in December, Xi ordered the military’s structure to be adjusted and optimised, calling for a smaller but capable and flexible military, the Daily reported. The establishment of the units is the latest move in a massive reform the PLA is undergoing.
The unprecedented reform began in November 2015, when the Central Military Commission unveiled a blueprint for the PLA’s development.
The commission pledged to establish a leaner and more efficient command chain to reduce the number of non-combatant personnel and departments and to build the PLA into a mightier force capable of winning modern wars.
Since then, the PLA has set up a headquarters for its Ground Force, founded a Strategic Support Force dedicated to electronic, information and space operations, and established a Rocket Force to replace the former Second Artillery Corps.
The previous four top PLA departments-staff, politics, logistics and armaments-were dismantled, the report said.