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Russian Challenges from Now into the Next Generation: A Geostrategic Primer
By Peter B. Zwack and Marie-Charlotte Pierre | March 25, 2019

 

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Executive Summary

Strategic Perspectives 29
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Strategic Perspectives 29
Photo By: National Defense University Press
VIRIN: 190324-D-BD104-001

U.S. and Western relations with Russia remain challenged as Russia increasingly reasserts itself on the global stage. Russia remains driven by a worldview based on existential threats—real, perceived, and contrived. As a vast, 11-time zone Eurasian nation with major demographic and economic challenges, Russia faces multiple security dilemmas internally and along its vulnerable and expansive borders. Exhibiting a reactive xenophobia stemming from a long history of destructive war and invasion along most of its borders, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the enlargement of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and perceived Western slights, Russia increasingly threatens others and lashes outward. However, time is not on Russia’s side, as it has entered into a debilitating status quo that includes unnecessary confrontation with the West, multiple unresolved military commitments, a sanctions-strained and only partially diversified economy, looming domestic tensions, and a rising China directly along its periphery.

Washington still has an opportunity to carefully improve U.S.-Russia relations and regain a more stable relationship in the near term, but only if activities and initiatives are based on a firm and frank appreciation of each other’s core interests, including those of their allies and partners. In a dual-track approach, the United States and its allies must continue to work closely to deter any destabilizing Russian behavior ranging from corrosive gray zone disinformation activities—including malign cyber efforts to erode Western democracies—up to full and overt military aggression. Simultaneously, rebuilding atrophied conduits between key American and Russian political and military leadership is imperative in order to calm today’s distrustful and increasingly mean-spirited relations, to seek and positively act upon converging interests, and to avert potential incidents or accidents that could potentially lead to dangerous brinksmanship. Notably the July 2018 Trump-Putin summit failed to bring any positive developments to the U.S.-Russia relationship; however, pragmatic efforts to bridge major and increasingly dangerous divides must continue. Perhaps most notable during the summit was the emphasis made by both sides that the weakened arms control regimen and overall strategic stability be addressed to stop a dangerous drift toward renewed nuclear weapons development and competition. Yet in recent months, the relationship has only continued to weaken on multiple fronts too numerous to summarize, including Russian actions against Ukraine in the Sea of Azov and the end of the 31-year Intermediate Nuclear Weapons Treaty signed in 1987 by Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev and President Ronald Reagan.

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El Salvador's Recognition of the People's Republic of China: A Regional Context
By Douglas Farah and Caitlyn Yates | March 13, 2019

 

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Strategic Perspectives 30
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Strategic Perspectives 30
Photo By: NDU Press
VIRIN: 190313-D-BD104-001

Executive Summary

In January 2016, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) abandoned an 8-year truce in its war with the Republic of China (ROC) over diplomatic recognition around the world and subsequently moved to aggressively woo traditional Taipei allies. This paper centers on the PRC’s recent successful push into Latin America, and particularly in Central America—historically a primary area of influence for the United States. Through a concerted effort—and often in exchange for promises of mega investments and financial aid—the PRC increasingly receives a warm welcome across the Latin American continent.

This paper analyzes recent decisions by several countries in the Western Hemisphere in recognizing PRC and offers an in-depth assessment of El Salvador’s recent decision to break historic ties to Taiwan and embrace Beijing—a move that presents a significant strategic challenge to U.S. regional interests. The PRC’s activities in Venezuela, Nicaragua, and El Salvador represent a new aggressive policy in the hemisphere aimed directly at supporting the most anti-U.S. governments in the region. This position only furthers the PRC’s strategic interest while marginalizing the United States wherever possible. This paper concludes by arguing that the PRC drive into Latin America since 2016 represents a broader strategic threat to U.S. national security interests. It then offers three recommendations.

  • Realign U.S. aid and support toward real allies. Even if countries maintain commercial relations with the PRC, the United States should focus on countries that work closely with the United States on a strategic level. These allies include Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Panama. While each country presents challenges, they are not insurmountable obstacles to partnering with the United States. At the same time, the United State should consider significantly limiting aid to countries that embrace the PRC with the intent of displacing the United States and undermining the rule of law and democratic institutions. These countries now include El Salvador, Suriname, and likely Nicaragua. A realignment would both allow more funding for true allies and avoiding putting money into strategic competitors or opening significant avenues for PRC intelligence and counter-intelligence activities aimed against the United States in these host countries. 
  • Carry out more high-level and cultural engagement in the region. The United States carries out far fewer high-level official visits than the PRC (or Russia). Moreover, the message of senior U.S. officials, when they do visit, is often centered on the demand to stop migration, which does not address the region’s felt needs. This relative absence of senior level visits, student exchanges, and other forms of engagement has allowed the PRC to set the terms of debate and engagement in the region, to the detriment of U.S. interests. To rebalance these elements of soft power is imperative. The largest asset that the United States has is the good will of populations in the region, including millions of individuals from Latin American countries who have visited or reside in the United States. In contrast, there is a lack of familiarity Chinese language, culture, and history and limited Latin American travel to the PRC.
  • Reevaluate current U.S. engagement ties for potential compromise. Recognize that most U.S. efforts in counternarcotics, vetted units, and intelligence-sharing will be severely compromised by growing Latin America ties to the PRC, especially in Bolivarian states such as El Salvador and Nicaragua. These programs should be reevaluated immediately, and, if U.S. engagement continues, the counter-intelligence possibilities should be fully understood.

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Chairman Xi Remakes the PLA: Assessing Chinese Military Reforms
By Phillip C. Saunders, Arthur S. Ding, Andrew Scobell, Andrew N.D. Yang, and Joel Wuthnow | Feb. 11, 2019

Chairman Xi Remakes the PLAChina’s current military reforms are unprecedented in their ambition and in the scale and scope of the organizational changes. Virtually every part of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) now reports to different leaders, has had its mission and responsibilities changed, has lost or gained subordinate units, or has undergone a major internal reorganization. 

Drawing on papers presented at two conferences co-organized by the U.S. National Defense University, The RAND Corporation, and Taiwan’s Council of Advanced Policy Studies, this edited volume brings together some of the world’s best experts on the Chinese military to analyze the various dimensions of the reforms in detail and assess their implications for the PLA’s ability to conduct joint operations, for the Chinese Communist Party’s control of the army, and for civil-military integration. 

The contributors review the drivers and strategic context underpinning the reform effort, explore the various dimensions of PLA efforts to build a force capable of conducting joint operations, consider the implications for the PLA services, and examine Xi Jinping’s role in driving the reforms through and using them to strengthen control over the military. The chapters chronicle successes and outstanding problems in the reform effort, and consider what the net effect will be as the PLA strives to become a “world-class” military by mid-century, if not much sooner. 

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Introduction Appendix: Central Military Commission Reforms
By Joel Wuthnow and Phillip C. Saunders | Feb. 8, 2019

Chairman Xi Remakes the PLA → Introduction: Appendix

Introduction: Appendix

Central Military Commission Reforms


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Joel Wuthnow is a Research Fellow in the Center for the Study of Chinese Military Affairs at National Defense University’s Institute for National for Strategic Studies. He also serves as an adjunct professor in both the Eisenhower School at NDU and the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Phillip C. Saunders is Director of the Center for the Study of Chinese Military Affairs and a Distinguished Research Fellow at National Defense University’s Institute for National Strategic Studies. 

This appendix analyzes the organizational logic behind the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) shift from a system centered on a small Central Military Commission (CMC) staff and the four general departments to a much larger post-reform CMC staff that incorporates many of the functions of the former general departments. It also describes the functions of the 15 new CMC departments, commissions, and offices that were announced on January 11, 2016.1

From the General Departments to an Expanded CMC

The pre-reform CMC had 11 members, including a civilian chairman, 2 military vice chairmen, minister of defense, heads of the four general departments, and commanders of the navy, air force, and Second Artillery. The four general departments—the General Staff Department (GSD), General Political Department (GPD), General Logistics Department (GLD), and (from 1998) General Armament Department (GAD)—were led by army officers and collectively served as the ground force headquarters, among other functions. The CMC members supervised the general departments, services, and seven military regions and were supported by a relatively small staff of about 1,000 people in the CMC General Office.2 In this setup, the heads of the general departments and services represented their organizations in CMC debates and were responsible for implementing CMC decisions within their organizations. The CMC chairman (who served concurrently as the Chinese Community Party general-secretary and state president) nominally had the final word on decisions, though during the Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao eras, considerable decisionmaking authority and autonomy were delegated to the uniformed vice chairmen.

The post-reform CMC has only seven members, with the GLD, GAD, and service commanders losing their seats, and the director of the CMC Discipline Inspection Commission gaining a seat on the CMC proper (see table 1). (See the chapter by McFadden, Fassler, and Godby in this volume for an analysis of the post-reform CMC leadership.)


Table 1. Pre- and Post-Reform Central Military Commission (CMC) Membership

Position

Pre-Reform CMC Status

Post-Reform Position

Post-Reform
CMC Status

CMC Chairman

CMC Chairman

CMC Chairman

CMC Chairman

CMC Vice Chairman

CMC Vice Chairman

CMC Vice Chairman

CMC Vice Chairman

CMC Vice Chairman

CMC Vice Chairman

CMC Vice Chairman

CMC Vice Chairman

Minister of Defense

CMC Member

Minister of Defense

CMC Member

GSD Director

CMC Member

CMC Joint Staff Department Director

CMC Member

GPD Director

CMC Member

CMC Political Work Department Director

CMC Member

GLD Director

CMC Member

CMC Logistics Department Director

GAD Director

CMC Member

CMC Equipment Development Department Director

Navy Commander

CMC Member

Navy Commander

Air Force Commander

CMC Member

Air Force Commander

Second Artillery Commander

CMC Member

Rocket Force Commander

Discipline Inspection Commission Director

CMC Discipline Inspection Commission Secretary

CMC Member

Key: GAD: General Armament Department; GLD: General Logistics Department; GPD: General Political Department; GSD: General Staff Department.


The four general departments were abolished, and the post-reform CMC staff grew into a much larger organization that now includes 15 departments, commissions, and offices. The parts of the general departments that focused on managing the ground forces moved into the new army headquarters, while those involved in executing space, cyber, signals intelligence, electronic warfare, and psychological warfare operations mostly moved to the Strategic Support Force. The remaining parts of the general departments were either converted into successor CMC departments (the CMC Joint Staff Department, CMC Political Work Department, CMC Logistics Support Department, and CMC Equipment Development Department) or elevated to the status of independent CMC departments, commissions, or offices (see table 2).


Table 2. CMC Departments, Commissions, and Offices

Name

Predecessor

Initial Director

Current Director

General Office [办公厅]

General Office

GEN Qin Shengxiang
[秦生祥]

MG Zhong Shaojun
[钟绍军]

Joint Staff Department
[联合参谋部]

General Staff Department (GSD)

GEN Fang Fenghui
[房峰辉]

GEN Li Zuocheng
[李作成]

Political Work Department
[政治工作部]

General Political Department (GPD)

GEN Zhang Yang
[张阳]

ADM Miao Hua
[苗华]

Logistics Support Department
[后勤保障部]

General Logistics Department (GLD)

GEN Zhao Keshi
[赵克石]

GEN Song Puxuan
[宋普选]

Equipment Development Department [装备发展部]

General Armaments Department (GAD)

GEN Zhang Youxia
[张又侠]

LTG Li Shangfu
[李尚福]

Training and Administration Department [训练管理部]

GSD Military Training Department

LTG Zheng He [郑和]

LTG Li Huohui
[黎火辉]

National Defense Mobilization Department [国防动员部]

GSD Mobilization Department

MG Sheng Bin [盛斌]

LTG Sheng Bin
[盛斌]

Discipline Inspection Commission [纪律检查委员会]

GPD Discipline Inspection
Commission

GEN Du Jincai
[杜金才]

GEN Zhang
Shengmin [张升民]

Political and Legal Affairs Commission [政法委员会]

GPD Military Procuratorate

LTG Li Xiaofeng
[李晓峰]

LTG Song Dan
[宋丹]

Science and Technology Commission
[科学技术委员会]

GAD Science and Technology
Commission

LTG Liu Guozhi
[刘国治]

LTG Liu Guozhi
[刘国治]

Strategic Planning Office
[战略规划办公室]

GSD Strategic Planning Department

MG Wang Huiqing
[王辉青]

MG Wang Huiqing
[王辉青]

Reform and Organization Office
[改革和编制办公室]

GSD Military Affairs Department

MG Wang Chengzhi
[王成志]

MG Zhang Yu
[张宇]

Office of International Military Cooperation
[国际军事合作办公室]

MND/CMC Foreign Affairs Office

RADM Guan Youfei
[关友飞]

MG Hu Changming
[胡昌明]

Audit Bureau [审计署]

GLD Audit Bureau

MG Guo Chunfu
[郭春富]

MG Guo Chunfu
[郭春富]

Organ Affairs General Management Bureau [机关事务管理总部]

GSD Management Support Department

MG Liu Zhiming
[刘志明]

MG Liu Zhiming
[刘志明]

Key: GAD: General Armament Department; GLD: General Logistics Department; GPD: General Political Department; GSD: General Staff Department.


This shift from a PLA centered on the general department system to one managed by the CMC and CMC staff reflects the three broad drivers of PLA reforms described in the introduction:

  • strengthening the PLA’s ability to plan and conduct joint operations in order to fight and win informationized wars
  • revitalizing party control and discipline within the PLA
  • improving “civil-military integration” so that the PLA can tap civilian resources and leverage breakthroughs in the civilian science and technology sector.

Strengthening the PLA’s Ability to Plan and Conduct Joint Operations

One way the reorganization strengthened the PLA’s ability to conduct joint operations is by reducing CMC responsibilities to allow greater focus on jointness and managing operations. Freed from the need to serve as army headquarters and operate technical intelligence collection and space operations, the expanded CMC staff can concentrate on building a joint force and supervising joint operations. The removal of service commanders from CMC membership weakens the services relative to the CMC, although ground force dominance and the service-centric organizational culture within the PLA remain obstacles to building a joint force. Key functions such as joint training (including military education), national defense mobilization, and strategic planning were elevated from second-level departments within the GSD to the status of independent departments and offices within the CMC staff, allowing the CMC chairman and vice chairmen direct oversight over these functions and improving their ability to push forward a joint agenda without obstruction from a GSD or Joint Staff Department director concerned about ground force equities. Some new CMC organs, such as the reform and organization office, were created to help implement leadership priorities.

Revitalizing Party Control and Discipline within the PLA

Bringing the general departments and most of their functions inside the CMC strengthens the ability of the CMC chairman and vice chairmen to monitor those personnel and activities. The CMC General Office is the key CMC staff organization responsible for ensuring compliance with CMC directives and gathering information on what the larger CMC bureaucracy is doing. That office’s critical role is reinforced by the fact that Zhong Shaojun, a longtime civilian aide [秘书] to Xi Jinping, was installed as a key General Office official to serve as Xi’s trusted eyes and ears within the military.3 Zhong followed Xi to Beijing, was appointed deputy director with a military rank of senior colonel, and was subsequently promoted to major general before being named as General Office director in 2018.4 The reorganization also seeks to strengthen the effectiveness of monitoring and control mechanisms by giving the Discipline Inspection Commission, Political and Legal Affairs Commission, and Audit Bureau independent status and the ability to report directly to CMC leaders without interference from their superiors.

Elevation of the CMC Discipline Inspection Commission director to CMC member status increases the authority of that organization within the PLA (and likely the effectiveness of its subsidiary discipline inspection commissions throughout major parts of the PLA). According to interviews, the discipline inspection system now functions as a parallel chain of information that reaches directly up to Xi and provides an independent assessment of the performance of commanders, political commissars, and party committees.5 This arrangement should reduce opportunities for commanders and political commissars to engage in corrupt practices and provide an independent source of information for Xi to use when making promotion decisions.

Improving Civil-Military Integration

The reorganization also strengthens parts of the PLA that collaborate with civilian counterparts in the state and party apparatus. The Science and Technology Commission, previously under the GAD, is now an independent CMC organ.6 The commission will promote civil-military cooperation in defense research and development and strengthen high-level guidance for the research, development, test, and evaluation (RDT&E) system. The National Defense Mobilization Department, which manages the military districts and garrisons that interface with the party and civilian government organs that run China’s provinces and cities, is now an independent department that reports directly to top CMC leaders. The CMC’s Office of International Military Cooperation helps ensure that military diplomacy is coordinated with China’s broader foreign policy objectives.

Assessing Effectiveness of CMC Reforms

While the shift from the general department system to an expanded CMC staff system has a clear organizational logic that corresponds to the goals that PLA reforms are intended to advance, this does not necessarily mean that the organizational reforms will achieve their intended results. The reforms should increase effectiveness and improve monitoring by creating a clearer division of responsibilities and improving the flow of information from the agents (CMC staff organs) to the principal (CMC chairman and vice chairmen). Our assessment is that the PLA has adopted a CMC organizational structure that can support development of a more effective joint force, but that result is by no means guaranteed.

Challenges include the fact that the expanded CMC staff is a larger, more complex organization to run than its smaller predecessor, which delegated more responsibilities to the general departments. As in other aspects of current Chinese government reforms, this reflects an impulse to centralize power and Xi’s reluctance to delegate responsibilities to others. The “CMC Chairman Responsibility System” calls for Xi to make all the important military decisions. Given that the scarcest resource in government is high-level attention, how much time can Xi actually devote to these responsibilities?7 Does he trust the CMC vice chairmen enough to delegate some decisions to them?

This challenge is aggravated by the fact that the PLA’s organizational culture does not encourage independent decisionmaking and taking responsibility, which suggests that greater centralization may slow down decisionmaking. According to one PLA source, many of the senior officers Xi has appointed are relatively inexperienced and reluctant to make decisions. Instead, they pass the buck to their superiors.8 Xi’s promulgation of his own thought on military matters—now required study within the PLA—may also make senior officers more reluctant to challenge suboptimal decisions from the top. The result may be slower decisionmaking and difficulty in correcting mistakes.

Finally, most key CMC and CMC staff positions are held by army officers, and all of them are staffed by officers whose careers have been spent in a military dominated by the ground forces and with rigid promotion and assignment systems. Will their decisions reflect their personal experiences in a PLA with limited jointness or the leadership’s goal of building a military capable of conducting integrated joint operations? Can the PLA move from a service-centric mentality to a joint mentality? Even if the structure of the reorganized CMC supports efforts to build an effective joint military force, the individuals in key leadership positions may frustrate that objective. Building a joint force with capable joint commanders and staff officers may ultimately require generational change.

Overview of CMC Departments, Commissions, and Offices

The rest of this appendix describes the composition of the post-reform CMC and functions of the new CMC departments, commissions, and offices that were announced on January 11, 2016. These departments, commissions, and offices are presented in the protocol order provided by authoritative People’s Republic of China media accounts.9

CMC Departments [bu, /ting, ]

General Office [bangongting, 办公厅]

The CMC retained a General Office whose key responsibilities include managing information flows between CMC members and subsidiary departments, providing advice, and conducting policy research.10 Under Xi, a key mission of the General Office has been implementing the CMC Chairman Responsibility System, which refers to the principle that all important decisions ultimately rest with Xi.11 Authoritative Chinese sources list the General Office ahead of all other CMC departments, including those led by former general department directors (that is, Joint Staff, Political Work, Logistics Support, and Equipment Development), underscoring its importance in ensuring that CMC orders are being implemented across the PLA. The office’s director from 2012 through 2017 was Lieutenant General Qin Shengxiang, who previously served as director of the General Political Department Organization Department.12 In late 2017, Qin departed to serve as the PLA Navy’s political commissar but a successor was not immediately announced. Major General Zhong Shaojun, one of Xi’s longtime civilian aides, was promoted from his position as deputy director to CMC General Office director in 2018.13

Joint Staff Department [lianhe canmou bu, 联合参谋部]

The Joint Staff Department is responsible for command and control (C2), “combat command support” [zuozhan zhihui baozhang, 作战指挥保障], campaign planning, formulating military strategy, organizing joint training, performing combat capability assessments, and working to ensure combat readiness [zhanbei jianshe, 战备建设].14 Thus, the department performs many of the functions of the former General Staff Department Operations Department [zongcan zuozhan bu, 总参作战部].15 The Joint Staff Department also likely absorbed some of the GSD’s role in intelligence collection and analysis (former 2PLA) and, as documented in the chapter in this volume by Costello and McReynolds, plays a role in cyber and electronic warfare management through its Network-Electronic Bureau (former 4PLA). Other former GSD functions were transferred to the Strategic Support Force and service headquarters. The organization plays a significant role in the evolving joint C2 structure by serving as the institutional link between the CMC and five joint theater commands, though the nature of that role remains unclear.16 Its initial director was former Chief of the General Staff General Fang Fenghui. In August 2017, Fang, who had become embroiled in an anti-corruption investigation, was replaced by former PLA ground force commander Li Zuocheng. Li serves concurrently as a CMC member.

Political Work Department [zhengzhi gongzuo bu, 政治工作部]

The Political Work Department performs the duties of the previous GPD, including overseeing political education, “human resources management,” and party organizations within the military, in addition to managing the PLA’s internal and external propaganda arms. Some have speculated that the Political Work Department might have assumed the former GSD Military Affairs Department’s role in enlisted personnel management.17 This department is instrumental in strengthening the party’s “absolute leadership” over the military, which has been a consistent theme of the reforms.18 However, unlike the former GPD, the Political Work Department does not oversee party discipline inspection or the military prosecutorial system; those functions migrated to independent Discipline Inspection and Political and Legal Affairs commissions under the CMC. It was initially led by former GPD Director General Zhang Yang. Zhang, who like Fang Fenghui was caught up in an anti-corruption investigation, was replaced in September 2017 by Admiral Miao Hua, former PLA Navy political commissar. Miao serves concurrently as a CMC member.

Logistics Support Department [houqin baozhang bu, 后勤保障部]

The Logistics Support Department is responsible for overseeing logistics support, setting standards, performing inspections, and carrying out other duties previously entrusted to the General Logistics Department.19 As Luce and Richter note in their chapter in this volume, the Logistics Support Department also plays a role in facilities management, contracting, budget management and funds disbursement, international military engagement, and overall administration of PLA hospitals and medical programs.” A key focus of the department is managing the logistics system, though combat support appears to be carried out by the Joint Logistics Support Force and its subordinate units.20 Its first director was former GLD Director General Zhao Keshi, who retired in October 2017, and was replaced by former Northern Theater commander General Song Puxuan.

Equipment Development Department [zhuangbei fazhan bu, 装备发展部]

Like its predecessor, the General Armaments Department, the Equipment Development Department performs RDT&E functions and oversees procurement management and information systems building [xinxi xitong jianshe, 信息系统建设]. However, the GAD’s Science and Technology Commission did not migrate to this department and was instead placed directly under the CMC (see below). In addition, the GAD’s role in overseeing equipment development for the ground forces was sent to the new army headquarters. According to the Ministry of National Defense (MND), the PLA aims for a division of labor in RDT&E between the new CMC department, services, and theaters, but how this will work in practice is unclear.21 The initial director was former GAD Director General Zhang Youxia. Following Zhang’s elevation to CMC vice chairman in October 2017, the department was directed by Lieutenant General Li Shangfu, a previous deputy commander of the Strategic Support Force.

Training and Administration Department [xunlian guanli bu, 训练管理部]

The Training and Administration Department is responsible for overseeing training and professional military education, and likely coordinates with the Joint Staff Department, theater commands, and services to develop joint training requirements and assess training programs. It replaced the former GSD Military Training Department [zongcan junxun bu, 总参军训部], which had been stood up in 2011.22 Establishing a training department under direct CMC supervision underscores the importance of strengthening “realistic” joint training across the PLA.23 The first director was Lieutenant General Zheng He, who went on to serve as president of the PLA Academy of Military Sciences and later the PLA National Defense University. He was replaced by Lieutenant General Li Huohui, who was previously commander of the 31st Group Army, one of the PLA’s elite units.

National Defense Mobilization Department [guofang dongyuan bu, 国防动员部]

The National Defense Mobilization Department oversees the reserve forces and the provincial military districts [sheng junqu, 省军区] and below, other than the Tibet and Xinjiang Military Districts and the Beijing Garrison (which were placed under the army headquarters in part due to their higher bureaucratic grade).24 This department succeeds the former GSD Mobilization Department [canmou dongyuan bu, 总参动员部]. Elevating mobilization to a separate CMC department highlights the importance of civil-military integration, given the office’s oversight over reserve force and mobilization planning.25 The first director was Lieutenant General Sheng Bin, who was previously deputy commander of the Shenyang Military Region.

CMC Commissions [weiyuanhui, 委员会]

Discipline Inspection Commission [jilu jiancha weiyuanhui, 纪律检查委员会]

The CMC Discipline Inspection Commission is responsible for enforcing party discipline within the PLA, including conducting investigations of suspected corrupt personnel. Its mission parallels that of the civilian Central Discipline Inspection Commission, which has played a prominent role in China’s anti-corruption campaign since late 2012. Although Chinese sources describe this as a new organization,26 the CMC has had a discipline inspection commission since November 1980.27 However, the work of that commission was reportedly carried out by the GPD. Its inaugural secretary was General Du Jincai, a previous GPD deputy director. In March 2017, Du was replaced by General Zhang Shengmin, who had been political commissar of the CMC Logistics Support Department. Zhang was appointed a CMC member at the 19th Party Congress.

Political and Legal Affairs Commission [zhengfa weiyuanhui, 政法委员会]

This organization establishes regulations and legal norms to improve the administration of the PLA—what the Chinese armed forces call “regularization” [zhengguihua, 正规化].28 It also helps to “prevent, investigate, and deal with” criminal activities in the military.29 Centralizing the military’s legal system reduces the potential for interference with the enforcement of laws and regulations at lower levels. Previously, the military court system and Military Procuratorate (which conducted police investigations) were under the GPD. The organization parallels the civilian Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission, formerly under Zhou Yongkang, which supervises the legal and police systems. The first secretary of the CMC Politics and Law Commission was Lieutenant General Li Xiaofeng, who previously served as the PLA’s chief procurator. In March 2017, he was replaced by Lieutenant General Song Dan, previously the commission’s deputy secretary.

Science and Technology Commission [kexue jishu weiyuanhui, 科学技术委员会]

As part of the CMC reshuffling, the PLA’s Science and Technology Commission was transferred from the GAD to direct CMC oversight.30 It continues to be responsible for advising PLA leadership on weapons development and serving as a nexus for collaboration between the armed forces and defense industry.31 Moving the commission to the CMC highlights the importance of civil-military integration to the PLA, a theme of the larger reforms. The commission’s director remained Lieutenant General Liu Guozhi, who was appointed to his position in 2014.32

CMC Offices [bangongshi, 办公室/shu, /zongju, 总局]

Strategic Planning Office [zhanlüe guihua bangongshi, 战略规划办公室]

The Strategic Planning Office is responsible for centralizing authority over “military strategic planning.”33 It replaced the GSD Strategic Planning Department, which was established in 2011 and carried out functions such as long-term strategic analysis, resource allocation analysis, and organizational reform analysis.34 The new department continues to perform some of these roles, including managing military budgets and project evaluation and accountability systems.35 Organizational reform issues, however, appear more likely to be addressed within the CMC Reform and Organization Office (see below). Major General Wang Huiqing remained as the office’s director after its transfer from the GSD.

Reform and Organization Office [gaige he bianzhi bangongshi, 改革和编制办公室]

The Reform and Organization Office is responsible for coordinating military reforms and managing the PLA’s organizational structure.36 The organization likely coordinates closely with the CMC’s military reform leading small group [zhongyang junwei zhenhua guofang he jundui gaige liangdao xiaozu, 中央军委深化国防和军队改革领导小组], which was established in 2014 to provide guidance for the entire reform process under Xi’s leadership.37 It appears to replace some functions of the former GSD Military Affairs Department [zongcan junwu bu, 总参军务部] and may also have acquired some responsibilities from the former GSD Strategic Planning Department related to organizational reform.38 The office’s first director was Major General Wang Chengzhi, who formerly led the GPD’s Direct Work Department [zong zheng zhishu gongzuo bu, 总政直属工作部]. In 2017, he was replaced by Major General Zhang Yu, who previously served as the office’s deputy director.

Office of International Military Cooperation [guoji junshi hezuo bangongshi, 国际军事合作办公室]

The CMC Office of International Military Cooperation is responsible for managing foreign military exchanges and cooperation and supervising foreign affairs work throughout the PLA.39 It replaced the previous MND Foreign Affairs Office [guofang bu waishi bangongshi, 国防部外事办公室], which had doubled as the CMC General Office Foreign Affairs Office (FAO). However, the MND Information Affairs Bureau [guofang bu xinwen shiwu ju, 国防部新闻事务局], part of the former FAO that conducts news briefings, remained within the MND. Clarifying the office’s status within the CMC underscores the importance of military diplomacy, which has been an emphasis of Xi.40 The first director of the office was Rear Admiral Guan Youfei, who previously headed the MND Foreign Affairs Office.41 In May 2017, Guan was replaced by Major General Hu Changming, who had previously served as the office’s deputy director.

Audit Bureau [shenji shu, 审计署]

The Audit Bureau is responsible for inspecting PLA finances and supervising the military’s audit system.42 This office was previously located within the GLD but moved to the CMC in November 2014.43 Like the Discipline Inspection Commission, the Audit Bureau sends inspection teams to units throughout the PLA to ensure compliance with rules and root out corruption.44 Major General Guo Chunfu was appointed to lead the office in December 2015.45

Organ Affairs General Management Bureau [jiguan shiwu guanli zongbu, 机关事务管理总部]

This is a new organization responsible for providing administrative support to CMC departments and subsidiary organs.46 The office was apparently the result of a merger between the former GSD Management Support Department [canmou guanli baozhang bu, 总参管理保障部], which served a logistics function (for example, facilities management), and similar offices from the other general departments.47 The new bureau appears to continue to play a role in provisioning supplies as well as in managing military wages.48 One role of the office is “cutting support units and personnel,” which suggests that it has played a role in implementing the PLA’s planned 300,000-person force reduction.49 The bureau’s first director was Major General Liu Zhiming, former head of the Shenyang Military Region Joint Logistics Department.

Notes

1 “China Reshuffles Military Headquarters,” Xinhua, January 11, 2016, available at <http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2016-01/11/c_134998692.htm>; “MND Holds Press Conference on CMC Organ Reshuffle,” China Military Online, January 12, 2016, available at <http://english.chinamil.com.cn/news-channels/china-military-news/2016-01/12/content_6854444.htm>. This appendix is adapted from Joel Wuthnow and Phillip C. Saunders, Chinese Military Reforms in the Age of Xi Jinping: Drivers, Challenges, and Implications, China Strategic Perspectives 10 (Washington, DC: NDU Press, 2017), 61–65.

2 Tai Ming Cheung, “The Riddle in the Middle: China’s Central Military Commission in the Twenty-First Century,” in PLA Influence on China’s National Security Policymaking, ed. Phillip C. Saunders and Andrew Scobell (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2015), 90–92.

3 Edward Wong, “The ‘Gatekeeper’ in Xi Jinping’s Inner Circle,” New York Times, September 30, 2015, available at <https://sinosphere.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/09/30/the-gatekeeper-in-xi-jinpings-inner-circle/>.

4 “Zhong Shaojun Takes Up the Post of CMC General Office Director” [钟绍军出任军委办公厅主任], Sina News [新浪网], September 18, 2018, available at <http://news.sina.com.cn/o/2018-09-18/doc-ifxeuwwr5766185.shtml>.

5 Authors’ interviews, December 2017.

6 For details on the pre-reform General Armament Department, see Kevin Pollpeter and Amy Chang, “General Armament Department,” in The PLA as Organization v2.0, ed. Kevin Pollpeter and Kenneth W. Allen (Vienna, VA: DGI, Inc., 2015), 228–231.

7 This rule is also known as the Saunders Theorem.

8 Authors’ interviews, December 2017.

9 “China Reshuffles Military Headquarters”; “MND Holds Press Conference on CMC Organ Reshuffle.”

10 Cheung, “The Riddle in the Middle,” 90–92.

11 Tian Yixiang, “Faithfully Implement the Duties and Responsibilities of the CMC General Office” [忠实履行军委办公厅职责使命], PLA Daily [解放军报], April 28, 2016, available at <https://web.archive.org/web/20170523011041/http://www.mod.gov.cn/topnews/2016-04/28/content_4651306.htm>.

12 “Which Generals Will Be on the CMC after the Reform?” [哪些将军这次会后调进中央军委?], China Youth Online [中国青年网], January 12, 2016, available at <http://military.china.com/important/11132797/20160112/21122496.html>. For biographical details on Lieutenant General Qin, see “CMC General Office Director Qin Shengxiang Promoted to Lieutenant General” [中央军委办公厅主任秦生祥晋升中将], Caixin Wang [财新王], July 21, 2015, available at <http://china.caixin.com/2015-07-21/100830965.html>.

13 “Zhong Shaojun Takes Up the Post of CMC General Office Director.”

14 “MND Holds Press Conference on CMC Organ Reshuffle.”

15 The Operations Department was sometimes known as the 1st Department
[总参一部], a second-level (corps leader grade) department within General Services Department. See Mark A. Stokes and Ian Easton, “The Chinese People’s Liberation Army General Staff Department: Evolving Organizations and Missions,” in The PLA as Organization v2.0, 142–145.

16 Alice Miller, “The Central Military Commission,” in The PLA as Organization v2.0, 97.

17 Kenneth W. Allen, Dennis J. Blasko, and John F. Corbett, Jr., “The PLA’s New Organizational Structure: What Is Known, Unknown, Or Speculation (Part 1),” China Brief 16, no. 3 (February 4, 2016), available at <www.jamestown.org/single/?tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=45069&no_cache=1#.VxfOffnR_RY>.

18 “MND Holds Press Conference on CMC Organ Reshuffle.”

19 Ibid.

20 See chapter in this volume by Luce and Richter.

21 “MND Holds Press Conference on CMC Organ Reshuffle.”

22 Stokes and Easton, “The Chinese People’s Liberation Army General Staff Department,” 154–157.

23 See “Reform Efforts Should Be Focused on the ‘Strategic Hubs’” [改革要向战略枢纽聚焦用力], PLA Daily [解放军报], April 22, 2014, available at <http://theory.people.com.cn/n/2014/0422/c40531-24927666.html>.

24 Allen, Blasko, and Corbett, “The PLA’s New Organizational Structure.”

25 This theme was highlighted in a Chinese report about the initial activities of the department. See “Demystifying the Newly Established CMC National Defense Mobilization Department” [揭秘新成立的中央军委国防动员部], China Youth Daily [中国青年报], January 29, 2016, available at <http://zqb.cyol.com/html/2016-01/29/nw.D110000zgqnb_20160129_1-06.htm>.

26 “MND Holds Press Conference on CMC Organ Reshuffle.”

27 Roy Kamphausen, “The General Political Department,” in The PLA as Organization v2.0, 173.

28 For a discussion, see Thomas A. Bickford, “Regularization and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army,” Asian Survey 40, no. 3 (May–June 2000), 456–474.

29 Strengthening the “socialist rule of law” [社会主义法制] is a theme of the broader national reforms, highlighted in particular at the 4th Plenum of the 18th Central Committee held in October 2014. See “Highlights of Communique of 4th Plenary Session of CPC Central Committee,” Xinhua, October 23, 2014, available at <http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2014-10/23/c_133737957.htm>.

30 Kevin Pollpeter and Amy Chang, “General Armament Department,” in The PLA as Organization v2.0, 223–224.

31 “MND Holds Press Conference on CMC Organ Reshuffle.”

32 “Which Generals Will Be on the CMC After the Reform?”

33 “MND Holds Press Conference on CMC Organ Reshuffle.”

34 Stokes and Easton, “The Chinese People’s Liberation Army General Staff Department,” 153–154.

35 Li Guang, “Promote the Innovative Development of Military Strategic Planning” [推进军队战略规划工作创新发展], PLA Daily [解放军报], April 28, 2016, available at <https://web.archive.org/web/20180110124955/http://www.mod.gov.cn/topnews/2016-04/28/content_4651317.htm>.

36 “MND Holds Press Conference on CMC Organ Reshuffle.”

37 See “Xi Leads China’s Military Reform, Stresses Strong Army,” Xinhua, March 15, 2014, available at <http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2014-03/15/c_133188618.htm>.

38 The GSD Military Affairs Department was also responsible for welfare and benefits and served as the personnel center for enlisted servicemen. It is unclear if the new CMC office will assume these duties. See Stokes and Easton, 159–160.

39 “MND Holds Press Conference on CMC Organ Reshuffle.”

40 “Xi Jinping: Further Innovate a New Situation in Military Diplomacy” [习近平:进一步开创军事外交新局面], Xinhua, January 29, 2015, available at <http://news.xinhuanet.com/politics/2015-01/29/c_1114183775.htm>.

41 “Which Generals Will Be on the CMC After the Reform?”

42 This organization has also been translated as “Audit Office.” However, “Audit Bureau” may be a better translation of shu [] and distinguish it from bangongshi [办公室] (“office”).

43 “China Military Reaches Key Decision to Strengthen Auditing,” Xinhua, November 4, 2014, available at <http://eng.mod.gov.cn/TopNews/2014-11/06/content_4550175.htm>.

44 “MND Holds Press Conference on CMC Organ Reshuffle.”

45 “Guo Chunfu Becomes Director of PLA Audit Office, in a New Role Twice In a Year” [郭春富任解放军审计署审计长 年内两度履新], Caixin Online [财新网], December 30, 2015, available at <http://china.caixin.com/2015-12-30/100894397.html>.

46 Jiguan [机关] may also be translated as “office” or “organization.”

47 Allen, Blasko, and Corbett, “The PLA’s New Organizational Structure.”

48 Li Tongzhu, “Focus On Building a New-Type Service Support System” [着力构建新型服务保障体系], PLA Daily [解放军报], January 25, 2016, available at <https://web.archive.org/web/20170802163930/http://www.mod.gov.cn:80/topnews/2016-01/25/content_4638461.htm>.

49 “MND Holds Press Conference on CMC Organ Reshuffle.”


About the Contributors
By NDU Press | Feb. 5, 2019

Chairman Xi Remakes the PLA → About the Contributors

About the Contributors


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Nathan Beauchamp-Mustafaga is a Policy Analyst at the RAND Corporation, where he focuses on Asian security issues. Prior to joining RAND, Beauchamp-Mustafaga was the Editor of the Jamestown Foundation’s China Brief. He has also spent time with the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the Center for International and Strategic Studies at Peking University (CISS) under Wang Jisi and Zhu Feng, and the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC). Beauchamp-Mustafaga graduated from the dual-degree MSc in International Affairs program at the London School of Economics and Peking University, and earned a bachelor’s degree in International Affairs and Chinese Language and Literature from the Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University.

Dennis J. Blasko is an Asian Analyst in the China Security Affairs Group at CNA Corporation. He is a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army. He served as an army attaché in Beijing and in Hong Kong from 1992 to 1996. Blasko is the author of The Chinese Army Today: Tradition and Transformation for the 21st Century, 2nd edition (Routledge 2012).

Edmund J. Burke is a senior intelligence and defense researcher at the RAND Corporation. Mr. Burke has served in and out of government as a China specialist since 1988. Immediately prior to joining RAND, he was a Senior Executive and the senior China officer at NGA. Mr. Burke was in the private sector from 2001-2009; in 2003 he founded a consulting firm, which was eventually acquired by a large defense contractor. From 1997-2001 Mr. Burke was an all source analyst, manager and PDB briefer at CIA. He spent his first nine years of government service as a China analyst at the National Photographic Interpretation Center. is a senior intelligence and defense researcher at the RAND Corporation.

Arthur Chan was previously a policy analyst at the RAND Corporation. Prior to joining RAND, he worked at the National Bureau of Asian Research, the American Enterprise Institute, the NYU Department of Politics and the U.S. Embassy in Paris, France. Arthur holds a Masters in European Affairs from Sciences Po Paris and a BA in political science and French from New York University. He is a native speaker of Cantonese and has professional proficiency in Mandarin and French.

John Chen is a Research Associate at the Special Programs Division of SOS International, where he conducts China-related research and analysis on foreign policy, national security, and science and technology issues using Chinese-language sources. He received an AB from Dartmouth College and an MA from Georgetown University.

Tai Ming Cheung is Director of the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC) located at the University of California, San Diego in La Jolla. He leads the institute’s Study of Innovation and Technology in China project that examines China’s efforts to become a world-class science and technology power. Dr. Cheung is also a professor at the School of Global Policy and Strategy at UC San Diego, where he teaches courses on Chinese foreign and defense policy and Chinese security and technology policy. Dr. Cheung is a long-time analyst of Chinese and East Asian defense and national security affairs, especially defense economic, industrial and science and technological issues. He is the author of Fortifying China: The Struggle to Build a Modern Defense Economy (Cornell University Press, 2009), editor of Forging China’s Military Might: A New Framework for Assessing Innovation (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014), and co-editor of The Gathering Pacific Storm: Emerging US-China Strategic Competition in Defense Technological and Industrial Development (Cambria Press, 2018). He was based in Northeast Asia (Hong Kong, China, and Japan) from the mid-1980s to 2002 covering political, economic, and strategic developments in Greater China and East Asia as a journalist for the Far Eastern Economic Review from 1988-1993 and subsequently as a political and business risk consultant for a number of companies, including PricewaterhouseCoopers. Dr. Cheung has a PhD in War Studies from King’s College, London.

John Costello is Director of the Office of Strategy, Policy, and Plans in the National Protection and Programs Directorate at the Department of Homeland Security. He coauthored this chapter before taking his current position. Previously, he served as a Cybersecurity Policy Fellow in New America’s Cybersecurity Initiative and a Senior Analyst for Cyber and East Asia at Flashpoint. He is also a former Congressional Innovation Fellow for majority staff in the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. During his time on the Hill, Costello helped investigate the 2015 breach into the Office of Personnel Management and helped oversee federal IT management. Previously, Costello was a research analyst at Defense Group, Inc., where he concentrated on Chinese cyber espionage, information warfare, and intellectual property theft. He is a U.S. Navy veteran, former NSA analyst, and is fluent in Mandarin Chinese, having graduated with honors from the Defense Language Institute. His insights have appeared in Wired, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Reuters, and the Jamestown China Brief. Costello’s research focuses on Chinese cyber forces, evolving technology and innovation environment, and quantum technologies.

Mark R. Cozad is a senior international defense research analyst at RAND. Previously, he served in both the military and intelligence community in a variety of areas including intelligence analysis, targeting, operational planning, and strategy development. Cozad’s work at RAND focuses on strategic warning, intelligence analysis, and security issues in Europe and East Asia. In his final assignment in the intelligence community he served as the deputy to the Assistant Deputy Director of National Intelligence for the President’s Daily Brief (PDB). Immediately preceding his assignment to the ODNI, he was the Defense Intelligence Officer for East Asia, the senior intelligence officer on that issue within the Department of Defense.

Andrew S. Erickson is a Professor of Strategy in the U.S. Naval War College (NWC)’s China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI). As a core founding member, he helped to establish CMSI and to stand it up officially in 2006, and has subsequently played an integral role in its development. CMSI has inspired the creation of other research centers, to which he has provided advice and support. Since 2008 Erickson has been an Associate in Research at Harvard University’s John King Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies. He is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Kim Fassler is a political-military analyst at the U.S. Department of Defense where her focus includes U.S.-China relations and East Asia political and security issues. She holds an M.A. in international relations from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and a B.A. in political science and Chinese from Williams College. Ms. Fassler also studied at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center on a National Security Education Program Boren Fellowship. Originally from Honolulu, she worked in journalism, public relations, and energy consulting before starting her career with the U.S. Government.

David M. Finkelstein is a Vice President of CNA and Director for China and Indo-Pacific Security Studies. A retired U.S. Army Officer, Dr. Finkelstein held command and staff positions in various field units and China-related positions at the Pentagon. He also served on the faculty at West Point, where he taught Chinese and Japanese history and the history of warfare in Asia. Finkelstein holds a Ph.D. in Chinese and Japanese history from Princeton University, is a graduate of the United States Military Academy, the U.S. Army Command & General Staff College, and the Army War College. He also studied Mandarin Chinese in Tianjin, China at Nankai University. A long-time student of Chinese security affairs, his edited volumes include Chinese Warfighting: The PLA Experience Since 1949 (ME Sharpe), China’s Revolution in Doctrinal Affairs: Developments in the Operational Art of the People’s Liberation Army (CNA), Civil-Military Relations in Today’s China: Swimming in a New Sea (ME Sharpe), and China’s Leadership in the 21st Century: The Rise of the Fourth Generation (ME Sharpe). His historical monograph, From Abandonment to Salvation: Washington’s Taiwan Dilemma, 1949-50 (George Mason University and Naval Institute Press), was hailed in Presidential Studies Quarterly as “blazing a new trail” and as certain to “take an important place in the literature of U.S.-China relations in the mid-20th Century.”

Daniel Gearin is a liaison officer with the Department of Defense, currently serving in Taipei, Taiwan. Daniel previously served as an analyst with the Department of Defense, focusing on China’s military capabilities. Before joining the Department of Defense, Daniel held research positions with the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, the National Defense University, and the Brookings Institution. He obtained a B.A. in International Affairs from Northeastern University, and an M.A. in International Affairs from the George Washington University. Daniel also spent two years living in Beijing, China studying Mandarin Chinese.

Justin Godby is a Department of Defense political-military analyst specializing in East Asia security issues. He previously served as a liaison officer to the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Asia-Pacific Security Affairs and as a researcher for James Madison University’s Institute for National Security Analysis. Mr. Godby will graduate in 2018 with a M.S. in Strategic Intelligence from the National Intelligence University created by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Mr. Godby attended James Madison University and graduated with a B.S. in Information Analysis and a minor in Asian Studies.

Brian Lafferty is a Chinese language researcher at the Special Programs Division of SOS International, specializing in research on China’s defense science and technology development. He has written a number of articles, briefs, and conference papers concerning China’s civil-military integration. Dr. Lafferty holds a B.A. from Cornell University and received his Ph.D. from Columbia University.

David C. Logan is a Ph.D. Student in Security Studies at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, where his research focuses on U.S.-China security relations and nuclear strategy and arms control. His writing has been published by Asian Security, Nonproliferation Review, Foreign Affairs, Joint Force Quarterly, and the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Mr. Logan attended Grinnell College and received his MPA in International Relations from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.

LeighAnn Luce is an independent analyst specializing in Chinese civil-military integration and science and technology development with a particular focus on defense electronics and information technology. She has previously worked as a senior engineer at SOS International’s Special Programs Division as well as an Associate Deputy Director of Technical Analysis at Defense Group Incorporated’s Center for Intelligence Research and Analysis. Ms. Luce attended the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs and received a dual B.A. in International Relations and Chinese Language and Literature, with concentrations in Asian Studies and International Economics.

Ma Chengkun is Professor and Dean of the College of PLA Studies at Taiwan’s National Defense University. Professor Ma received his Ph.D. in China’s war behavior study from National Taiwan University and specializes in People’s Liberation Army affairs. His articles include “China’s security strategy and military development” and “China’s three warfares against Taiwan.” Professor Ma is currently researching China’s military strategic thinking and military transformation and participates in international academic exchanges about China’s military modernization with various countries.

Joel McFadden is a specialist in East Asian politics and security issues with the U.S. Department of Defense. Prior to joining the federal government in 2008, he worked for U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) as a senior aide on defense and greater China policy. Mr. McFadden holds a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and has also studied Chinese history and language at Fudan University in Shanghai. He spent most of his youth living in the Asia-Pacific region including Taiwan.

Joe McReynolds is a Principal Cyber Analyst at SOS International. His research interests primarily center on China’s approach to computer network warfare and defense science & technology development. Mr. McReynolds has previously worked with the Council on Foreign Relations and the Pacific Council for International Policy, and is a graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and Graduate Security Studies programs. He speaks and reads Chinese and Japanese, and has lived and studied in Nagoya, Guilin, and Beijing.

Ian Burns McCaslin is a contract researcher at the U.S. National Defense University’s Center for the Study of Chinese Military Affairs and a China Aerospace Studies Institute (CASI) Associate. Previously, he worked as an intern at the Project 2049 Institute. He received his B.A. in International Studies with a minor in Mandarin Chinese from Ohio Wesleyan University and his M.A. in International Relations from the National University of Singapore (NUS). At NUS his thesis focused on the role of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in China’s foreign policy and behavior abroad using the Korean War, 1995-1996 Taiwan Strait Crisis, and the South China Sea as case studies. He has also studied at National Taiwan University and Fudan University.

Erin Richter is a Senior Intelligence Officer for the Defense Intelligence Agency where she has specialized in Chinese military capabilities and civil-military interdependencies for the last 14 years. Erin has served for the last 20 years in the United States Marine Corps as a logistics officer, intelligence officer, and reserve attaché, completing reserve and active duty assignments throughout the Indo-Pacific, in the Middle East, Balkans, and within the continental United States. She is a graduate of the Marine Corps Command and Staff College and Joint Forces Staff College, and holds a M.A. in International Affairs from American University and a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Maryland.

Phillip C. Saunders is Director of the Center for the Study of Chinese Military Affairs and a Distinguished Research Fellow at National Defense University’s Institute for National Strategic Studies. Dr. Saunders previously worked at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, where he was Director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program from 1999-2003, and served as an officer in the U.S. Air Force from 1989-1994. Dr. Saunders is co-author with David Gompert of The Paradox of Power: Sino-American Strategic Restraint in an Era of Vulnerability (NDU Press, 2011) and co-editor of five books on Chinese military and security issues. Dr. Saunders attended Harvard College and received his MPA and Ph.D. in International Relations from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.

Andrew Scobell is a Senior Political Scientist at the RAND Corporation. He was previously an Associate Professor of international affairs at the George H.W. Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. He is the author of China’s Use of Military Force: Beyond the Great Wall and the Long March (Cambridge University Press, 2003) and co-authored China’s Search for Security (Columbia University Press, 2012). In addition to editing or co-editing 12 books, Dr. Scobell has written dozens of reports, monographs, journal articles, and book chapters. He holds a Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University.

Joel Wuthnow is a Research Fellow in the Center for the Study of Chinese Military Affairs at National Defense University’s Institute for National for Strategic Studies. He also serves as an adjunct professor in both the Eisenhower School at NDU and the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Dr. Wuthnow has worked as a China analyst at CNA, a postdoctoral fellow in the China and the World Program at Princeton University, and a pre-doctoral fellow at The Brookings Institution. He is the author of Chinese Diplomacy and the UN Security Council (Routledge). Dr. Wuthnow holds degrees from Princeton University (A.B., summa cum laude, in Public and International Affairs), Oxford University (M.Phil. in Modern Chinese Studies), and Columbia University (Ph.D. in Political Science).