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PLA evolves over 30 years
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By Fan Junmei

Shouldering the responsibility of defending national sovereignty and territorial integrity, the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) constantly adjusts to changing circumstances and comprehensively pushes forward military modernization in the process of opening-up and reform. Its crisis-response and peace-keeping capacity have improved remarkably in 30 years.

Down in size, up in effectiveness

PLA soldiers use electromagnetic interference equipment for geomagnetic interference. [China Military Online]

PLA soldiers use electromagnetic interference equipment for geomagnetic interference. [China Military Online]

Adhering to the principle of "integration and high efficiency", a series of disarmaments has reduced the military force from 6 million to 2.3 million. But the once overstaffed PLA has evolved into an elite troop of moderate size, logical structure, and strong leadership.

In the age of peace, war maneuvers are the essential way to cultivate fighting capacity. Changing times have promoted historic breakthroughs in the PLA's military training: from the simple attack and defense exercises of the 1970s to the coordinated campaigns of the1980s, from partial high-tech warfare in the 1990s to IT-enabled warfare in the new century.

The construction of IT capability has gradually directed the PLA's military reform. IT elements in command networks and weaponry are increasing. Basic training, simulating training, and internet training are becoming indispensable for effective military exercises. War maneuvers simulating actual combat have gradually lifted the threat-resisting capacity of the PLA.

The Central Military Commission and the four Military Departments regularly reinforce the drive to cultivate military talent. Most of the commanders above regimental head have received junior college education; all of the frontline air service pilots possess a bachelor degree, all of the frontline navy captains are graduates from specialized institutions, and each of the Second Artillery technological officers holds at least a bachelor degree.

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