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China Daily Global / 2020-12 / 29 / Page004

Tech key to military modernization, says general

By ZHAO LEI | China Daily Global | Updated: 2020-12-29 00:00

The Chinese military is poised to adopt more intelligent technologies in its modernization drive, a senior military official said.

The goal of the modernization efforts of the People's Liberation Army and the People's Armed Police Force in the coming years will be characterized by better hardware, stronger information capabilities and the wide use of intelligent technologies, General Xu Qiliang, a vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission, the nation's top military authority, wrote in a recently published article.

"The goal of our military modernization evolves with the times. As our nation has entered a new era, President Xi Jinping has urged the armed forces to develop and use intelligent technologies as the pillar of their future combat capabilities, and at the same time they should continue upgrading their weapons, equipment and information capabilities," Xu wrote, pointing out that intelligent technologies have become a defining factor in modern warfare.

Intelligent technologies are reshaping military systems around the world and China must keep pace with this trend to further its military modernization, he said.

Military researchers said that China's armed forces have basically become mechanized and are rapidly developing their technological capabilities. The PLA's endeavor to boost intelligent technologies will facilitate its development of hardware and its information capabilities, they said.

In October, the Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, which was held in Beijing, adopted proposals for the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) for National Economic and Social Development and the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035.

In the proposals, the CPC Central Committee said the Chinese military needs to pursue the coordinated and integrated development of its hardware, information capabilities and intelligent technologies.

The military was also urged to keep strengthening its combat training and exercises, revolutionize theories, improve strategies, deepen reform of defense and military systems, upgrade management mechanisms and speed up transformation of its service branches.

Units in charge of operations in nontraditional domains such as cyberwarfare and outer space must be expanded, along with strategic forces. Construction of reliable strategic deterrence and joint operational systems will be prioritized.

The proposals stressed the importance of innovation, encouraging research and utilization of cutting-edge and revolutionary technologies in weapons development.

The nation's armed forces have been undergoing a massive and unprecedented reform since late 2015 that aims to make the military leaner, stronger and more efficient.

The military has shrunk the number of noncombatant personnel in its ranks significantly and streamlined its command structure. Nearly half the noncombatant posts in the military have been abolished, and the number of office staff at military units above the regimental level has been reduced by about 25 percent.

Military organizations involved in artistic performances, sports, news services, publications and medical and research bodies have either been dismantled or simplified. The military has reduced the number of troops by 300,000, and now maintains an active force of 2 million troops.

In his report to the 19th CPC National Congress in October 2017, Xi pledged to ensure that by 2020, the PLA will basically achieve its mechanization, make big strides in informatization and see substantial improvements in its strategic capabilities. He also set a goal for the Chinese military to turn itself into a modernized power by 2035, as well as the long-term goal of it becoming a leading military force by 2050.


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