China Establishes Rocket Force and Strategic Support Force
(Source: China Military Online; issued Jan 01, 2016)
BEIJING --- The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) established the PLA Army’s leading organ, the PLA Rocket Force and the PLA Strategic Support Force on December 31, 2015. An inauguration ceremony was held in Beijing on the same day.

President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of China's Central Military Commission (CMC), conferred military flags to the three military forces and addressed the ceremony.

President Xi Jinping pointed out that the establishment of the PLA Army’s leading organ, the PLA Rocket Force and the PLA Strategic Support Force is an important decision made by the CPC Central Committee and the CMC to realize the Chinese Dream and the Dream of a Strong Military, and a strategic initiative to build a modern military power system with Chinese characteristics.

Xi said that the PLA Army should optimize its power structure and troop formation, speed up the Army’s transformation from the regional defensive type to the full-spectrum combat type, so as to build a powerful, modern and new-type Army.

Xi stressed that the PLA Rocket Force is China’s core strategic deterrence power. The PLA Rocket Force should strengthen the trustworthy and reliable nuclear deterrence and nuclear counter-attack capabilities, intensify the construction of medium and long range precision strike power, and reinforce the strategic check-and-balance capability, so as to build a powerful and modern Rocket Force.

Xi also emphasized that the PLA Strategic Support Force is a new-type combat force to maintain national security and an important growth point of the PLA’s combat capabilities.

The commander and political commissar of the PLA Army are Li Zuocheng and Liu Lei respectively. The commander and political commissar of the PLA Rocket Force are Wei Fenghe and Wang Jiasheng respectively. And the commander and political commissar of the PLA Strategic Support Force are Gao Jin and Liu Fulian respectively.

Liu Lei, political commissar of the PLA Army, Wang Jiasheng, political commissar of the PLA Rocket Force, and Liu Fulian, political commissar of the PLA Strategic Support Force, delivered speeches on behalf of their forces respectively at the ceremony.

Fan Changlong, member of the political bureau of the CPC Central Committee and vice chairman of the CMC, read out the CMC's order and decision, endorsed by President Xi Jinping, to establish the PLA Army’s leading organ, the PLA Rocket Force and the PLA Strategic Support Force at the ceremony. Xu Qiliang, member of the political bureau of the CPC Central Committee and vice chairman of the CMC, presided over the ceremony.

Chang Wanquan, Fang Fenghui, Zhang Yang, Zhao Keshi, Zhang Youxia, Wu Shengli and Ma Xiaotian also attended the ceremony.

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China Releases Guideline On Military Reform
(Source: Xinhua news; published Jan 01, 2016)
BEIJING --- The Central Military Commission (CMC) has released a guideline on deepening national defense and military reform, about a month after CMC Chairman Xi Jinping called on a military administration and command system overhaul at a key meeting.

According to the guideline, a new structure will be established in which the CMC takes charge of the overall administration of the People's Liberation Army, the Chinese People's Armed Police and the militia and reserve forces, battle zone commands focus on combat preparedness, and various military services pursue development.

The overall goal is to achieve progress and concrete results before 2020 in military administration and joint operational command, optimizing military structure, enhancing policy systems and civilian-military integration, and building a modern military with Chinese characteristics that can win information age wars.

While 2015 was mainly devoted to the implementation of leadership management and joint operational command reform, the guideline said 2016 will see military cuts, improved combatant personnel and reform of military academies and armed police forces.

The reform will include cutting troops from 2.3 million to 2 million, phasing out outdated armaments, developing new weapons systems and reducing the size of the militia.

The move to deepen defense and military reform is aimed at breaking down systematic, structural and policy barriers, modernizing the organization of the military, and unleashing the combat capacity of the military.

It is also aimed at building a firm defense and strong military commensurate with China's international standing and interests in security and development.

The reform will maintain "a correct political direction," the guideline said, adding that the "CPC's absolute leadership of the armed forces" must be consolidated and perfected.

The "CMC chairman responsibility system" must be fully implemented to ensure the top leadership of the armed forces is centralized in the hands of the CPC Central Committee and the CMC.

The guideline also said that the only fundamental standard for military reform is whether the changes can improve fighting capacity.

Describing the defense and military reform as a systematic and revolutionary transformation, the guideline said the reform is unprecedented in its scope and for the interests it touches upon.

"Thus, [the reform] must be under the central leadership of the CPC Central Committee, the CMC and CMC Chairman Xi," it said.

The guideline urged CMC organs established in the reform to fulfill their responsibilities as soon as possible, and transitional work must also be done well.

During the transitional period, measures must be taken to "make sure personnel do not lose control and assets do not lose value, while all matters are handed over seamlessly."

The management of military land and housing should be strengthened, it said.

The guideline also asked the military to enforce strict disciplines during the reform process.

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Strategic Support Force A
(Source: Xinhua news; published Jan 01, 2016)
BEIJING --- A spokesman of the Chinese military on Friday said the newly established Strategic Support Force (SSF) of the People's Liberation Army is "an important growth point" in the Chinese military's fighting capacity.

A new combat force to safeguard national security, the SSF is a combination of all support forces with strong strategic, fundamental and supportive importance, said Yang Yujun at a press conference, explaining the role of the force, which was inaugurated by Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday.

The establishment of the SSF is conducive to improving the structure of the armed forces and enhancing military support capacity, Yang said.

When asked why the military formed a new headquarters for land forces, Yang said the move can help form a new joint operational command system, adjust functions of organs of the Central Military Commission (CMC) and cut redundancy.

Yang also noted that a recent guideline on the reform by CMC can help unify troops' thought and action and help implement reform measures.

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