Asien — China’s National Defense in 2008

IX. Nation­al Defense Reserve Buildup

Chi­na firm­ly relies on the peo­ple for nation­al defense, and seeks to strength­en the buildup of the nation­al defense reserve in com­pli­ance with the require­ment of being able to deal with both emer­gen­cies and wars. 

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 

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