Asien — China’s National Defense in 2008

VII. The Sec­ond Artillery Force

The Sec­ond Artillery Force is a strate­gic force under the direct com­mand and con­trol of the CMC, and the core force of Chi­na for strate­gic deter­rence. It is main­ly respon­si­ble for deter­ring oth­er coun­tries from using nuclear weapons against Chi­na, and for con­duct­ing nuclear coun­ter­at­tacks and pre­ci­sion strikes with con­ven­tion­al missiles. 

The Sec­ond Artillery Force sticks to China’s pol­i­cy of no first use of nuclear weapons, imple­ments a self-defen­sive nuclear strat­e­gy, strict­ly fol­lows the orders of the CMC, and takes it as its fun­da­men­tal mis­sion the pro­tec­tion of Chi­na from any nuclear attack. In peace­time the nuclear mis­sile weapons of the Sec­ond Artillery Force are not aimed at any coun­try. But if Chi­na comes under a nuclear threat, the nuclear mis­sile force of the Sec­ond Artillery Force will go into a state of alert, and get ready for a nuclear coun­ter­at­tack to deter the ene­my from using nuclear weapons against Chi­na. If Chi­na comes under a nuclear attack, the nuclear mis­sile force of the Sec­ond Artillery Force will use nuclear mis­siles to launch a res­olute coun­ter­at­tack against the ene­my either inde­pen­dent­ly or togeth­er with the nuclear forces of oth­er ser­vices. The con­ven­tion­al mis­sile force of the Sec­ond Artillery Force is charged main­ly with the task of con­duct­ing medi­um- and long-range pre­ci­sion strikes against key strate­gic and oper­a­tional tar­gets of the enemy. 

His­to­ry of Devel­op­ment
The found­ing of the Sec­ond Artillery Force was a his­tor­i­cal choice the People’s Repub­lic of Chi­na was forced to make to deal with nuclear threats, break nuclear monop­oly and main­tain nation­al secu­ri­ty. Chi­na began to devel­op strate­gic mis­sile weapons in 1956, estab­lished research, train­ing and edu­ca­tion­al insti­tu­tions for strate­gic mis­siles in 1957, cre­at­ed its first ground-to-ground mis­sile unit in 1959 and for­mal­ly found­ed the Sec­ond Artillery Force on July 1, 1966. In the lat­ter half of the 1970s, the Sec­ond Artillery Force set itself the objec­tive of build­ing a lean and effec­tive strate­gic mis­sile force with Chi­nese char­ac­ter­is­tics. In the 1990s it estab­lished its con­ven­tion­al mis­sile force, enter­ing a new stage marked by the coor­di­nat­ed devel­op­ment of its nuclear and con­ven­tion­al mis­sile forces. With the advent of the 21st cen­tu­ry it began to pro­mote leapfrog­ging devel­op­ment of infor­ma­tion­iza­tion. Through more than 40 years of devel­op­ment, the Sec­ond Artillery Force has grown into a lean and effec­tive strate­gic force with both nuclear and con­ven­tion­al mis­siles, capa­ble of both land-based strate­gic nuclear coun­ter­at­tacks and pre­ci­sion strikes with con­ven­tion­al missiles. 

Struc­ture and Orga­ni­za­tion
The oper­a­tional com­mand author­i­ty of the Sec­ond Artillery Force is high­ly cen­tral­ized. The chain of com­mand runs from the CMC, the Sec­ond Artillery Force and mis­sile bases to mis­sile brigades. The oper­a­tions of the Sec­ond Artillery Force must fol­low the orders of the CMC in the strictest and most pre­cise manner. 

The Sec­ond Artillery Force is main­ly com­posed of the nuclear mis­sile force, the con­ven­tion­al mis­sile force, the sup­port force, edu­ca­tion­al insti­tu­tions, research insti­tutes and the head­quar­ter orga­ni­za­tions. The mis­sile force is orga­nized into mis­sile bases, mis­sile brigades and launch bat­tal­ions. The sup­port force is orga­nized into tech­ni­cal and spe­cial­ized sup­port units such as recon­nais­sance, intel­li­gence, sig­nal, ECM, engi­neer­ing, logis­tics and equip­ment units. The edu­ca­tion­al insti­tu­tions include a com­mand col­lege, an engi­neer­ing col­lege and a school for NCOs. The research insti­tutes include equip­ment and engi­neer­ing institutes. 

Force Build­ing
Fol­low­ing the prin­ci­ple of build­ing a lean and effec­tive force and going with the tide of the devel­op­ment of mil­i­tary sci­ence and tech­nol­o­gy, the Sec­ond Artillery Force strives to raise the infor­ma­tion­iza­tion lev­el of its weapon­ry and equip­ment, ensure their safe­ty and reli­a­bil­i­ty, and enhance its capa­bil­i­ties in pro­tec­tion, rapid reac­tion, pen­e­tra­tion, dam­age and pre­ci­sion strike. After sev­er­al decades of devel­op­ment, it has cre­at­ed a weapon­ry and equip­ment sys­tem with both nuclear and con­ven­tion­al mis­siles, both sol­id-fueled and liq­uid-fueled mis­siles, dif­fer­ent launch­ing ranges and dif­fer­ent types of warheads. 

The Sec­ond Artillery Force is endeav­or­ing to form a com­plete sys­tem for war prepa­ra­tions, opti­mize its com­bat force struc­ture, and build a mis­sile oper­a­tional sys­tem suit­ed to infor­ma­tion­ized war­fare. Its nuclear and con­ven­tion­al mis­sile forces are kept at an appro­pri­ate lev­el of readi­ness. The Sec­ond Artillery Force is mak­ing steady head­way in the con­struc­tion of its bat­tle­field sys­tem, and makes exten­sive use of mod­ern mechan­i­cal equip­ment and con­struc­tion meth­ods. Each com­plet­ed project is up to stan­dard. The Sec­ond Artillery Force is also ded­i­cat­ed to logis­ti­cal reforms and inno­va­tions. It has cre­at­ed inte­grat­ed data bases for field sup­port and infor­ma­tion­ized man­age­ment plat­forms for logis­tic mate­ri­als, and improved sup­port sys­tems for the sur­vival of com­bat­ants in oper­a­tional posi­tions. As a result, its inte­grat­ed logis­ti­cal sup­port capa­bil­i­ties in case of actu­al com­bat have been marked­ly enhanced. To ensure the absolute safe­ty of nuclear weapons, the Sec­ond Artillery Force strict­ly imple­ments rules and reg­u­la­tions for nuclear safe­ty con­trol and accred­i­ta­tion of per­son­nel deal­ing with nuclear weapons, has adopt­ed reli­able tech­ni­cal means and meth­ods, strength­ens the safe man­age­ment of nuclear weapons in the process of stor­age, trans­porta­tion and train­ing, improves mech­a­nisms and meth­ods for emer­gency response to nuclear acci­dents, and has put in place spe­cial safe­ty mea­sures to avoid unau­tho­rized and acci­den­tal launches. 

In terms of train­ing, the Sec­ond Artillery Force takes spe­cial­ized skills as the foun­da­tion, focus­es on offi­cers and core per­son­nel, cen­ters its atten­tion on sys­tems inte­gra­tion and aims at improv­ing over­all oper­a­tional capa­bil­i­ties. It active­ly con­ducts spe­cial­ized train­ing, inte­grat­ed train­ing and oper­a­tional train­ing exer­cis­es. Spe­cial­ized train­ing main­ly involves the study of basic and spe­cial­ized mis­sile the­o­ries, and the train­ing in oper­at­ing skills of weapons and equip­ment. Inte­grat­ed train­ing main­ly con­sists of whole-process coor­di­nat­ed train­ing of all ele­ments with­in a com­bat for­ma­tion. Oper­a­tional train­ing exer­cis­es refer to com­pre­hen­sive train­ing and exer­cis­es by mis­sile brigades and sup­port units in con­di­tions sim­i­lar to actu­al com­bat. The Sec­ond Artillery Force has adopt­ed a rat­ing sys­tem for unit train­ing and an accred­i­ta­tion sys­tem for per­son­nel at crit­i­cal posts. It enhances on-base, sim­u­lat­ed, web-based and real­is­tic train­ing, explores the char­ac­ter­is­tics and laws of train­ing in com­plex elec­tro­mag­net­ic envi­ron­ments and inte­grat­ed train­ing of mis­sile bases, and is con­duct­ing R&D of a new gen­er­a­tion of web-based sim­u­lat­ed train­ing sys­tems. Sig­nif­i­cant progress has been made in build­ing the “Infor­ma­tion­ized Blue Force” and bat­tle laboratories. 

The Sec­ond Artillery Force places per­son­nel train­ing in a strate­gic posi­tion, and gives it high pri­or­i­ty. It is work­ing to imple­ment the Shen­jian Project for Per­son­nel Train­ing, and cre­ate a three-tiered team of first-rate tech­ni­cal per­son­nel. As a result, a con­tin­gent of tal­ent­ed peo­ple has tak­en shape, whose main body is com­posed of aca­d­e­mi­cians of the Chi­nese Acad­e­my of Engi­neer­ing, mis­sile spe­cial­ists, com­mand­ing offi­cers, and skilled oper­a­tors and technicians. 

Infor­ma­tion Office of the State Coun­cil of the People’s Repub­lic of China 

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