PLA reorganisation ... from 7 military regions to 4 strategic regions


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... how will it affect the PLAAF ?

China hits the launch button for massive PLA shake-up to create a modern, nimble force

Military’s top brass told that big changes are under way and they should obey reform orders

Top leaders of the People’s Liberation Army were yesterday told the long-awaited overhaul of the armed forces had been launched, with the existing seven military commands to be regrouped into four strategic zones, sources close to the PLA said.

The restructure was formally announced at a plenary session of the leading group for national defence and military reform under the Central Military Commission.

The session was attended by President Xi Jinping and top leaders from the PLA’s four headquarters, seven key military commands, navy, air force, missile corps and armed police.

One of the sources told the South China Morning Post that Xi, who is also CMC chairman, urged the leaders to comply with what is expected to be a long and extensive restructuring.

“It’s a long-anticipated overhaul for grass-roots soldiers because it’s a practical push to turn the PLA into a real modern army of international standard,” the source said.

“However, it’s also a setback for some senior officials who lost out in the reform. That’s why Xi has ordered them to obey discipline.”

Another independent source told the Post that the commanders and political commissars of the seven commands had been alerted that three of the areas would be scrapped. The defence ministry’s political power would also expand, the source said. The Post reported in early September that a sweeping overhaul of the PLA would phase out its Soviet-style command structures in favour of a US-style model. The army’s seven military command regions would be consolidated into four in a massive drive to transform the world’s biggest army into a nimble, modern force on par with the best of the West.

As part of the overhaul, Xi announced on September 3 that the army would shed 300,000 troops, leaving it with two million personnel. The Post also reported in September that the cuts would result in 170,000 military officials losing their jobs.

But there are signs of resistance within the military.

Just last Thursday the PLA Daily published a commentary by two PLA officials from the PLA National Defence University’s department of strategic education and research, warning the central leadership that the reform could destabilise the armed services and society if it went ahead without addressing salaries and pensions. Many state-owned media outlets published the commentary on their websites but later took the posts down.

Hong Kong-based military observer Liang Guoliang said Xi did not have time to wait to get rolling with the reform.

“Xi has to take action to introduce the overhaul because it has been studied for more than a decade,” Liang said.

“Xi’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiatives need a real strong blue-water navy to protect China’s maritime lifelines and its expanding overseas interests.

But the command structure of today’s PLA is focused on land forces and does not have what it takes to meet those needs,” Liang said.

The second source also said there would be an announcement about a restructure of the military’s nerve centre. Of its four existing headquarters – its General Staff, General Political, General Logistics and General Armaments departments – only the one for general staff would remain.

The functions of the other three would be absorbed by the General Staff Department and the Ministry of National Defence.

Liang said the change was designed to create a division of labour between military command and political power, with several overlapping institutions and departments being merged or scrapped.

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I think this is worth a discussion !


PLA from 7 military regions to 4 strategic regions.jpg


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I think it'll probably result in a more efficient and overall more capable Air Force since it'll help logistics, and it could mean that there will no longer be a huge disparity in equipment between the new regions, since lets face it, there are a lot of J-7s/J-8s that were for the most part stationed in the western regions while the eastern regions got more modern equipment such as J-10s and J-11s. This is fixed in the new regions since a lot of the eastern and western regions have been merged, ex. Lanzhou and Chengdu resulting a mixture of old and new which is an improvement over the former.
I see the new military regions are organized to correspond with external regional theaters and national borders which imply more complete and efficient communication up and down the chain of command when handling regional issues, better co-ordination between foreign and defense policies. These overall benefits will of course apply to all PLA branches including the PLAAF. It looks like the meeting point of the new military regions remain in the same area as that of the old ones so I think whatever physical infrastructure they have in that area for reserves or transferring forces among military regions remain in place.


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Xi urges breakthroughs in military structural reform
(Xinhua)Updated: 2015-11-26 19:24

BEIJING - Chinese President Xi Jinping has urged breakthroughs in reform of the country's armed forces by 2020, vowing to reorganize the current military administration structure and military command system.

Xi, also chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), made the remarks at a meeting on reforming the armed forces which was held from Nov. 24 to 26.

A new structure will be established, in which the CMC takes charge of the overall administration of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and the Chinese People's Armed Police; battle zone commands focus on combats; and different military services pursue their own construction, Xi said.

While urging the PLA to maintain "correct political direction," Xi outlined "a series of designs and arrangements" to consolidate the basic principle that "the Communist Party of China (CPC) has absolute leadership of the armed forces."

According to Xi, the CMC's "centralized and unified" leadership should be strengthened to ensure that supreme administration and command status belong to the CMC and the CPC Central Committee.

Xi cited measures designed to "integrate the administrative system and the joint battle command system," including a general command center for land forces and enabling the CMC to directly administer and command various military departments.

The current regional military commands will be adjusted and regrouped into new battle zone commands supervised by the CMC, Xi said.

The reform will establish a three-tier "CMC - battle zone commands - troops" command system and an administration system that runs from CMC through various services to the troops.

Xi said, the history of the people's army is one of reform and innovation. "Under the leadership of the Party, the army has gone from small to large, from weak to strong, and from victory to victory," Xi said.

The reason why the military has stayed vigorous is that it has kept pace with times and never ceased reforming itself, Xi added.

"Now, as the country progresses from a large country to a large and powerful one, defense and military development stands at a newed and historic starting line, Xi said.

Taking into consideration the world's larger picture as well as profound and complicated changes in the international landscape, "We must deepen defense and military reforms with greater wisdom and courage," Xi said.

Xi stressed the importance of regulating power within the military, demanding a strict system to regulate and supervise the use of power.

"Decision-making, enforcement and supervision powers should be separated and distributed in a manner that ensures they serve as checks and balances on each other but also run in parallel," Xi said.


The Post reported in early September that a sweeping overhaul of the PLA would phase out its Soviet-style command structures in favour of a US-style model.
Both no doubt with Chinese characteristics. The circumstances of the Soviet, US and Chinese armed forces have always been too different for one to adopt the command structures of another.


I would say "national characteristics". No two countries in the world does things exactly the same way as a another country. Because no two countries in the world are in the exact same circumstances or conditions. Not to mention differences in culture and world views.


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... how will it affect the PLAAF ?

I think this is worth a discussion !


View attachment 22144
Good news for PLA. This will streamline their functioning. The 7 MR were clearly an disfunctional struture.

The north SR gets the borders with russia (which was divided betwen 2 MR) and NK. It also gets to defend beijing. It will be the most important SR IMO (excluding naval assets).

The east SR gets both the NSF and the ESF. It will handle japan and taiwan naval areas.

The south SR gets the SSF and the borders with myanmar and vietnam plus the SCS area. Should have the most naval assets.

The west SR will get the border with india, which was also divided betwen 2 MR. Also it gets the border with pakistan and the central asian nations.