THE LONG-AWAITED unified joint military command for the three services that comprise China’s military may happen as soon as the end of this year.
The South China Morning Post, quoting unnamed sources in the Jinan military command, said that the country’s seven military commands would be reduced to five to meet a deadline of January 1 imposed by President Xi Jinping as head of the Central Military Commission for a radical overhaul of the military command system of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
We examined the reasons for the overall last month when a lot of the top brass were brought together in Beijing to discuss the changes. In short, China’s army-centric military, originally devised for winning an internal civil war, is being turned into a fighting force fit for the 21st century in which army, navy and air force will play equal roles in China’s projection of force beyond its shores.
At the same time, the Party’s control over the PLA is being strengthened by replacing the PLA’s old four ‘headquarter’ staff departments with three new commissions and six departments reporting directly to the commission.
The SCMP says not all the top names for running the new military commands, commissions and departments have been finalized. However, it tips General Cai Yingting, head of the Nanjing command, to be head of the joint general staff and General Liu Yuan, who has been instrumental in driving Xi’s anti-corruption policy within the PLA as political commissar in the General Logistics department, to head the powerful new military discipline inspection committee.