Cover: The People’s Liberation Army in the Information Age

The People’s Liberation Army in the Information Age

by James C. Mulvenon, Richard H. Yang


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A July 1998 conference, held in San Diego, California, brought together Chinese military experts to discuss the non-hardware side of the People’s Liberation Army’s modernization. The result is a comprehensive examination of the critical software side, covering topics as diverse as civil-military relations, professionalism, logistics, training, doctrine, systems integration, and force structure. The 13 chapters present a picture of a PLA that has learned much about the right software for successful combat performance but is facing variable success in implementing the necessary changes throughout the system. The Chinese military’s progress in the areas discussed in the papers will ultimately determine whether the PLA will transform itself into a peer competitor with the United States in the 21st century or remain merely a regional military power. The conference was sponsored jointly by the RAND Center for Asia-Pacific Policy and the Taiwan-based Chinese Council of Advanced Policy Studies.

Table of Contents

  • Preface

  • Acknowledgments

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    PLA Studies Today: A Maturing Field

  • Chapter Three

    The Military and China’s New Politics: Trends and Counter-Trends

  • Chapter Four

    PLA Rapid Reaction Forces: Concept, Training, and Preliminary Assessment

  • Chapter Five

    “COSTIND is Dead, Long Live COSTIND! Restructuring China’s Defense Scientific, Technical, and Industrial Sector”

  • Chapter Six

    PLA Air Force Logistics and Maintenance: What has Changed?

  • Chapter Seven

    China’s National Military Strategy

  • Chapter Eight

    The PLA’s Evolving Campaign Doctrine and Strategies

  • Chapter Nine

    The PLA and Information Warfare

  • Chapter Ten

    China’s Defense Industries: A New Course?

  • Chapter Eleven

    Systems Integration in China’s People’s Liberation Army

  • Chapter Twelve

    The PLA and the Telecommunications Industry in China

  • Chapter Thirteen

    A New PLA Force Structure

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This research was conducted within RAND’s Project AIR FORCE.

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