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PLA Holds Information Drill
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The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) concluded a military exercise on Sunday in the coast of China's eastern Shandong Province with an aim to assess the army's information warfare capabilities.

More than 8,000 personnel including the land force air unit, electronic warfare troop, artillery troop and special troop took part in the drill.

"The 12-day drill, dubbed "Vanguard-206B", aims to root out any problems that exist among Chinese troops by exposing them to the most difficult electromagnetic environment," said Commander Fan Changlong of the Jinan Military Area Command, also the chief director of the drill.

"These troops will take on important battle tasks in future so it is essential to examine their techniques," he said.

"The application of information technology is the main purpose of this drill," said Zeng Weihua, member of the directing team, calling the electromagnetic environment the fifth dimension of warfare and the basis of military actions in modern times.

"We want the troops participating in the drill to know that defeat in information techniques means defeat in actual combat," he said.

Although he admitted several strikes, both air and ground, missed their targets, Chen Wenrong, head of the combat force, said Vanguard-206B was "the most important and the most successful drill" he had ever attended as a senior military official.

"The primary goal of a war game is to identify the problems," Chen said.

Bombarded roads, phony electronic signals, surprise attacks on commanders' headquarters were all carefully designed to complicate the combat conditions, military officials said.

China has intensified the number of military drills in recent years, especially with the neighboring countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a regional organization established in June 2001 comprising China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

In August 2005, China and Russia held a high-profile joint war game codenamed "Peaceful Mission - 2005", which involved 10,000 troops from the two countries.

(China.org.cn, Xinhua News Agency November 20, 2006)

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