China prepares for hi-tech modern warfare

By : |April 24, 2011 0

BEIJING, CHINA: The Chinese army is developing officers of high caliber who will be capable of handling advanced weaponry and mastering warfare in the information age by 2020, Global Times cited a military blueprint as stating.

The step is being undertaken as part of China’s measures to modernise its army to cope with the challenges of a new era, it added.

Details of the plan were posted on the website of the ministry of national defence Monday, after its approval by the chairman of the central military commission and President Hu Jintao, Xinhua reported.

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) already possesses an array of high-tech weaponry, but the quality of its soldiers has been lagging, the plan said.

Therefore, eight projects have been identified to optimise the military’s personnel structure, including cultivating high-tech military talents, introducing overseas intelligence and high-quality talent education, training in new combat weapons, cyber warfare and non-traditional security missions, such as the humanitarian missions being carried out domestically and overseas by 2020.

The plan did not specify the size of such a talent pool, but it noted that overseas intellectual participation was welcomed, although further details as to this were scarce.

In a written instruction on the utilisation of talented officers Wednesday, Hu called on the military, particularly military colleges and academies, to fully realise the importance of talent cultivation and to foster "a large number of high-quality military talents," People’s Daily reported.

Although the academic qualification level of army officers has improved, with 80 percent having bachelor degrees and 20 percent holding master degrees, overall capacity to manage information, as well as performance, during joint operations remains poor, combined with ongoing problems in assigning resources and policymaking, said a senior official with the PLA General Political Department.

Liu Yong, a senior editor with China Security, a defence magazine, said: "It shows that high-level military officials have realised the importance of drawing lessons and experience externally, which could boost China’s own development especially in grass-root research programs."

Liu, however, conceded that China would take a while to finish a network capable of drawing out full efficiency from its advanced weapons and high-tech equipment.

Senior Captain Li Jie, a researcher with the Chinese Navy’s military academy, said China’s military-personnel buildup has shifted from pure expansion to upgrading the quality of its soldiers to meet the requirements of high-tech war.

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