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Talking with military expert on "Chinese War Theater"

Editor: Li Kun 丨CCTV.com

02-29-2016 15:55 BJT

Full coverage: 2016 NPC & CPPCC Sessions

By CNTV reporter Li Shouen

At the beginning of January, China had announced the formation of "five great war theaters." Accordingly, Beijing's army reforms have attracted plenty of domestic and international attention.

This is the first time to implement new initiatives since the founding of the People's Republic of  China (PRC) in l949. In recent days, the Army 27's strategic garrison duty had shifted from Hebei Province to Shanxi Province, which has sparked heated debates on the nation's military reforms at home and abroad.

Are Chinese military reforms really dazzling or just confusing? CNTV reporter Li Shouen interviewed Professor Han Xudong of the Research Department of National Defense University, to better understand what's happening.

Li: Why abolish military regions and establish war theaters?

Han: From the change of a military region designation after the founding of  the New China, the military regions that were designated at the beginning of the PRC can be defined as military-controlled areas, with the main functions to maintain stability and territorial integrity, as well as enhance security through sub-regional military administrations.

Military-controlled areas have focused on the elimination of domestic instability, and played a pivotal role for the new regime.

With changes in the internal and external security situation, Beijing's designation of military areas had developed in the direction of forming military administrative regions.

Such a designation has focused on military administration, the army was unifying those commanded by commanders in chief authority to respond to an all-out war.

Today, the establishment of war regions serves as the designation of combat areas.

Each war theater is in charge of a strategic battle scenario, instead of fighting under the command chief authorities, which marks that the theater organs charge with specific command functions, and the military organs have implemented the content of command authorities — so we say that military organs are charged with "transmitting" functions.

The establishment of war theaters had been based on the judgment of "the future wars that are expected to be localized wars" and would meet " development of future wars to a new normal state."

Military regions focus on management, while war theaters focus on campaigns, which are supposed to be the main differences between them.

Li: What are the differences between the forces within war theaters and military regions?

Han: War theater organs are responsible for commanding fighting forces.

The administration of all arms is the responsibility of military authorities, while military regions are charged with the administration of land troops and maintain the army combat high command.

The leading authorities of other arms are responsible for a major part of the administration and war operations.

Armed forces within war theaters will form a united war group. Armed forces within military regions on the other hand must form overall fighting forces through "coordination."

The construction of armed forces within war theaters will be formed according to operational needs for each strategic direction.

While the armed forces within military regions are managed in accordance with troop deployment of administrative districts.

From this point of view, troops that have been formed will be increased or decreased according to the needs of a strategic direction, and operate on a new deployment according to war needs, which would be the reasons that Army 27 has shifted from Hebei, north China to Shanxi, northwest China.

It can be expected that the current scale of 18 group armies will also experience necessary adjustments to meet the needs of combat within war theaters.

Li: What are the benefits of troops deployed side by side with other forces?

Han: In military region times, the Headquarters of the General Staff and military commands exercise administrative functions of troops' authorities.

After entering the war theater era, theater organs are no longer responsible for the administration of troops, which will be administrated separately. This is the reason why troops are formed at all levels.

Meanwhile, the formation of troops and its deployment side by side with other forces can develop in a healthy manner to make full play of their roles in future wars.

Li: What do you expect from troop developments in the future?

Han: The future development of troops might appear in the following trends: The size of troops will face further reductions. The necessary scale however must be kept on course, since China is a big land country.

Troops maneuver capabilities will be significantly enhanced. They must make up for the "inadequacy" of a small scale with strong power.

Troops might develop in the direction of gaining a variety of combat capabilities to meet the needs of combat under all kinds of complicated situations.

What's more, the military organization system might change to meet the needs of future wars with more flexible capabilities.


( The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )



Panview offers a new window of understanding the world as well as China through the views, opinions, and analysis of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

Panview offers an alternative angle on China and the rest of the world through the analyses and opinions of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.



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