IX. National Defense Reserve Buildup
Reserve Force Buildup
With active servicemen as its backbone and reserve officers and men as its foundation, the reserve force is an armed force formed in line with the unified structure and organization of the PLA. It is under the dual leadership of the PLA and local Party committees and governments.
The reserve force was founded in 1983. In August 1986 it formally became a part of the PLA. In May 1995 the NPC Standing Committee adopted the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Reserve Officers. In April 1996 the CMC began to confer military ranks on reserve officers. The Law of the People’s Republic of China on National Defense promulgated in March 1997 explicitly stipulates that China’s armed forces consist of the active-duty force and the reserve force of the PLA, the People’s Armed Police Force and the militia.
After 25 years of buildup and development, the reserve force has become an important component of the national defense reserve. It is made up of the Army Reserve, Navy Reserve, Air Force Reserve and the Second Artillery Force Reserve. The Army Reserve breaks down into infantry, artillery, antiaircraft artillery, antitank artillery, tank, engineering, chemical defense, signals, coastal defense and other specialized forces. The Navy Reserve is mainly composed of reconnaissance, mine-sweeping and mine-laying, radar observation and communications and other specialized forces. The Air Force Reserve mainly comprises ground-to-air missile, radar and other specialized forces. The Second Artillery Force Reserve mainly consists of the specialized missile support force and special equipment maintenance force.
In line with the unified structure and organization of the PLA, the reserve force has reserve divisions, brigades and regiments, and corresponding leading organs. Reserve units are organized mainly on a regional basis. Divisions are set up in provinces and brigades (regiments) in prefectures (autonomous prefectures or prefecture-level cities). A division (brigade) can be set up in a region covering more than one prefecture (autonomous prefecture or prefecture-level city), and a regiment in a region covering more than one county (county-level city or district).
In recent years, the reserve force has made new strides in organization building and military training. It has gradually enlarged the pool of reservists, improved its organizational methods, and actively explored new organizational models, such as industrial, trans-regional and community-based organizations. It conducts and manages training according to the training program and law, so as to regularize training. As stipulated in the Outline for the Military Training and Evaluation of the Reserve Force, one third of the authorized strength of a unit must undergo 30 days of training annually. Training tasks are based on possible wartime assignments and the caliber of the reservists. The reserve force is in the process of shifting its focus from quantity and scale to quality and efficiency, and from a combat role to a support role. The goal is to enable the reserve and active forces to cooperate closely with each other, to complement each other, and to develop in a coordinated way.
Militia Force Building
Militia work is under the unified leadership of the State Council and the CMC, and the leadership of local Party committees, local governments as well as the local military commands. The General Staff Headquarters supervises militia work nationwide. The military area commands are responsible for militia work in their respective jurisdictions. Provincial military commands, prefectural military commands and people’s armed forces departments of counties (county-level cities or districts) are the organs of military leadership and command, and responsible for the militia work in their respective jurisdictions. The grass-roots people’s armed forces departments established in townships (towns), urban sub-districts, enterprises and public institutions are responsible for organizing and carrying out militia work. Local Party committees and governments at all levels make overall plans and arrangements for militia work.
In recent years China has persisted in reform and innovation in militia force buildup, adjusted its size and structure, and upgraded its weaponry and equipment. The organizational structure has optimized to increase the capabilities of the militia to support combat and emergency response forces, and to gradually shift the center of its responsibilities from rural areas to cities, areas along communication lines and other key areas. Importance has been attached to establishing militia organizations in emerging enterprises and high-tech industries to increase the technology content of the militia force. Investment in weaponry and equipment has been increased to systematically and organically provide a series of new types of militia air defense equipment such as air defense artillery and portable air defense missiles in key areas. Equipment for emergency response and stability-maintenance operations has been improved. Some types of weapons have been upgraded. During the Eleventh Five-Year Plan period (2006–2010) the number of militia personnel is scheduled to be reduced from 10 million to eight million.
In May 2007 the General Staff Headquarters released a new edition of the Outline for the Training and Evaluation of the Militia. The new outline adds over a hundred training tasks in dozens of categories covering specialties of the Navy, Air Force and Second Artillery Force, marking a shift from traditional single-service to multi-service/arm specialized militia training. Based on the principles of integrating resources, pooling strengths, organizing training level by level and conducting trans-regional training, the military training of the militia has a four-level organizational system: The provincial military commands are the backbone; the prefectural military commands are the main body; the people’s armed forces departments are the basis; and the grass-roots people’s armed forces departments are the supplement. The militia is improving its technology-based training, and promoting on-base, simulated and web-based training step by step. Prominence is given to such tasks as rapid mobilization of specialized detachments, coordination with active units and operations in complex electromagnetic environments. In addition, efforts are being made to enhance training in emergency response and rescue. The aim is to raise the militia’s capabilities in combat operations, emergency rescue, disaster relief, crisis response and social stability maintenance.
Information Office of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China