21 October 2016
The overhaul will reduce the PLA's traditional dominance by ground forces. Photo:
The overhaul will reduce the PLA's traditional dominance by ground forces. Photo:

Xi set to put Chinese military under one command

President Xi Jinping will soon announce the most sweeping overhaul of the Chinese military in at least three decades, moving it closer to a US-style joint command structure, Bloomberg reported Tuesday, citing unnamed sources.

The plan will unify the army, navy, air force and strategic missile corps under one command, the report said.

The numbers of officers and traditional ground forces will be reduced, helping elevate the role of the navy and air force, so as to better project force in a modern conflict, it said.

Xi is preparing to unveil the proposal after Thursday’s World War II anniversary parade in Beijing, which will showcase his authority over the People’s Liberation Army and China’s growing clout in the region.

The plan to mold the military into a force that meets Xi’s goal of being “able to fight and win a modern war” has been delayed for months as anti-graft investigators pounced on dozens of current and retired generals, referring the PLA’s former top general to prosecutors in July.

Xi “mainly employed the anti-corruption campaign in the military to form his absolute command over the army, so that his military restructuring plan can press ahead after being initially stalled”, Yue Gang, a retired colonel in the PLA’s General Staff Department, was quoted as saying.

“Now, his authority in the army is solid enough for him to flesh out his vision to transform the military and set it on a path to emulate the US.”

The organizational changes will aid China’s shift from a land-based military to one able to project force far from its coastline, the report said.

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