CNTV, February 2, 2016
In the latest move, the People's Liberation Army of China will be organized into five new "strategic zones" in place of the original seven military regions. Also, a joint operational system is shaping up to improve co-ordination. China's Defence Ministry held a press conference this evening outlining the significance of the reforms. It says the goal is to optimize military structure, enhance efficiency, and ensure capabilities.
A new chance to advance for the world’s largest army.
The ceremony marks the founding of five Battle Zones. It's a new system of command for the PLA. The change is seen as a major shift from the previous land-oriented focus, to a joint operational practice that is more flexible, to face the challenges from the sea and air. "All battle zone commands should concentrate on studying warfare, the national security situation and broaden their horizons. All battle zones should also learn the mechanisms behind winning in modern warfare, and speed up the formation of battle zone specific strategies," President Xi said.
The new structure regroups the former seven separate Military Region Commands into five new Battle Zone Commands – they are the North, South, East, West and Central Battle Zone Commands. All are supervised by the top Central Military Commission, chaired by President Xi Jinping. Each Command will be responsible for certain strategic directions and priorities. Each is designed to streamline joint operations with land, naval, air and rocket forces. The new command system has three tiers: -- the Central Military Commission, the Battle Zone Commands, and the troops, an administration system from the top down through various branches to the troops. "The founding of Battle Zone Commands is a historic moment for the joint operation system. It has deep and far-reaching significance for achieving the ability to win the war," China Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said. Reform has drastically restructured the PLA. The previous four key headquarters-- the general staff, politics, logistics and armaments, have been dismantled. Their functions and duties are now shared by fifteen new agencies. The PLA has also formed several new units, including the Army General Command, the Rocket Force, and the Strategic Support Force.
The army is cutting 300,000 personnel as it focuses on quality. It is intensifying a massive crackdown on corruption. A number of new commanders have been named. The key message is strengthening the army leadership, to break the barriers of inefficiency, and to execute joint operations overseas. President Xi Jinping has called for improving the PLA's overall combat capability and readiness. Many believe, this new round of military reform will deeply transform the army, and the country’s security landscape in the future.