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Xi Jinping takes direct control of the military

Xi Jinping takes direct control of the military


April 23, 2024

Chinese President Xi Jinping recently disbanded the Strategic Support Force (SSF), established in 2015. The SSF, once a cutting-edge unit integrating cyber and space warfare capabilities, was restructured into three separate entities:

  1. Information Support Force (ISF)
  2. Aerospace Force
  3. Cyberforce

This reform was carried out under the auspices of the Central Military Commission (CMC), emphasizing direct control and streamlining lines of command.

Information Support Force (ISF)

President Xi Jinping views the establishment of the ISF as a crucial strategic decision responding to the need for a modernized and powerful military. The ISF, as a new branch of the military, focuses on the coordination, construction and application of networked information systems, which are fundamental in modern warfare to achieve information superiority. The ISF aims to strengthen the Chinese military's capabilities in high-quality development and competitiveness in a technologically advanced era of warfare.

Evolution of Chinese military reforms under Xi Jinping

The genesis of the SSF and its subsequent restructuring into the ISF and other forces dates back to broader military reforms initiated by Xi Jinping in 2015. These reforms aimed to modernize the People's Liberation Army (PLA) by reducing troop numbers and reorganizing the military structure. into more efficient units.

The creation of five theater commands and the decision to place logistics, training and mobilization directly under the control of the CMC were major elements of these reforms. Essentially, Xi aimed to strengthen the “joint operational” capabilities of the different military branches, making them capable of operating more independently and effectively in various warfighting domains.

Determining factors of the latest reforms

Several factors influenced the recent decision to disband the FSE and create new military divisions.

  • First, technological vulnerabilities and intelligence failures, such as the international incident involving a Chinese surveillance balloon shot down by the United States, have highlighted the need for better coordinated and more resilient military structures.
  • Second, the ESFs were increasingly seen as susceptible to international pressures and technological containment strategies, particularly from the United States aimed at limiting China's military-civil fusion strategy.
  • Third, problems of corruption within the military ranks, particularly involving high-ranking officials such as the former commander of the SSF, have highlighted the need for strict control and reliability within the military forces.

Furthermore, Xi's direct control over the military aims to eliminate inefficiencies and ensure absolute loyalty and effectiveness of the military in both peacetime and wartime. By restructuring the SSF into new divisions under the direct supervision of the CMC, Xi Jinping strengthens the Party's hold over the military, ensuring strict compliance with commands from the central leadership and enabling the military to better respond to security challenges modern.

Implications for global security and future developments

The increased focus on cyber and information warfare capabilities will likely influence global security dynamics, particularly in terms of cybersecurity and space warfare.

Month: News – April 2024

Category: International/World News




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