China PLA Command Transition Insight
The transition in PLA command denotes continuity as well as thrust for modernisation relying on commanders who have proved track record
Ahead of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) the PLA command has been transformed placing some key appointments including the chief of the PLA, PLA Air Force and main departments. There were no surprises as is indicated in the Table below. Now formation of the new Central Military Commission which is likely to be headed by President Hu Jintao for another two years is awaited. The Defence Minister General Liang Guanglie is also due to retire and his replacement is awaited apart from the commander of the Navy and the Second Artillery Corps. The transition so far is in line with expectations and will continue to foster modernization of the PLA.
Chief of the Headquarters of the General Staff of People's Liberation Army, (PLA) - General Fang Fenghui, Member of the 17th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China Gen Chen Bingde. General is Fang seen to be close to President Hu Jintao who is likely to continue as the Chairman of the Central Military Commission possibly for another two years
Head of Political Department of PLA - General Zhang Yang,
Head of General Logistics Department of PLA – General Zhao Keshi,
Head of General Armaments Department of the PLA – General Zhang Youxia, General Zhang has publicly criticized the military for lack of combat experience
Chief of PLA Air Force- Gen Ma Xiaotian, Likely thrust on modernization of the PLAAF. Indian visitors to China have faced his unusual openness and aggressive punch lines.
Deputy Chief of PLA. Wang Guanzhong replaces General Ma Xiaotian
PLA leaders close to Bo Xilai as Liu Yuan, Political Commissar of the General Logistics Departments, and Gen Zhang Haiyang, head of the political department of the Second Artillery Division have been reportedly sidelined.
China Daily outlines some background information of PLA's general headquarters/departments which is composed of the General Staff Headquarters, the General Political Department, the General Logistics Department and the General Armaments Department. These are placed under the Central Military Commission (CMC). The CMC, through these four general headquarters/departments, directs and commands all the military area commands and the services and arms. The routine work of the Ministry of National Defense is handled, respectively, by these four general headquarters/departments.
The key department is the General Staff Headquarters which organizes military construction of the nation's armed forces, and organizes and commands their military operations. Under it there are departments in charge of operations, intelligence, training, adjutant and force structure, mobilization, etc.
The General Political Department is the leading organ of all political work of the nation's armed forces. It administers the armed forces' Party work, and organizes their political work. Under it there are departments in charge of Party affairs, personnel, publicity, security, etc.
The General Logistics Department organizes and directs the armed forces' logistics construction and logistical support. Under it there are departments in charge of financial affairs,quartermaster, health administration, military transportation, materials and POLs, capital construction and barracks, auditing, etc.
The General Armaments Department organizes and directs the weaponry and equipment construction work of the armed forces.