China stresses information age military capability

By Li Ruohan and Wu Gang Source:Global Times Published: 2016/7/28 1:03:00

China needs to be rule-maker, not player

China intends to become a strong information technology power, will beef up cyber security systems and will enhance its capability to win an "informationized war," the government stated in a document Wednesday.

The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council jointly issued the "Outline of National IT Development Strategy" on Wednesday. The plans to steer the country's IT development for the next decade have for the first time included military development for the information age.

"To adapt to the recent changes in the national security situation … information technology will resolutely become the direction of military modernization," the document states.

It also said the Chinese military needs to enhance real combat capability based on network information systems, which will focus on taking control of information in wartime.

Zhuang Rongwen, deputy director of the Cyberspace Administration of China, said the outline is the result of two years of cross-department work based on President Xi Jinping's emphasis on cyber security and IT development since Xi established and headed the Central Leading Group for Cyberspace Affairs in February 2014.

China is planning to make major breakthroughs in 5G technology by 2020. And by 2025, a leading global mobile communication network will be in place, ridding the country of reliance on overseas technology. Cyber security must be vastly improved, according to the outline released Wednesday.

Song Zhongping, a Beijing-based military expert, said China's military is still significantly far from a real informationized military.

"Presently China is not there yet, as most of the country's army are still mechanized forces," Song told the Global Times on Wednesday.

China needs to work on advanced Internet technologies to be a rule-maker instead of a game-player, so as to have a bigger say and to better protect its national defense and military information, he said. He added that an informationized military means connecting every soldier and every weapon among all troops so that when they are operating they are not only receivers of information but also contributors.

China established a Strategic Support Force at the end of last year, to go alongside the army, navy, air force and Rocket Force. Experts said the Strategic Support Force includes cyber war and space war troops.

"China has made remarkable progress in transforming mechanized forces to informationized forces, though it still has a long way to go to actualize the full informationization in all troops," Li Jie, another Beijing-based military expert, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

The biggest difficulty lies in the lack of informationization in the core technology and key equipment, such as large-scale combat platforms and warning systems, Li said. He added that the informationization of China's most advanced weapons still needs to be improved.

Xi calls for further reform  

General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee Xi Jinping on Tuesday called for the building of strong armed forces through military reform.

Xi presided over a group study seminar of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee in Beijing, which focused on national defense and military reform.

Based on the reform plan, the general command of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) army, the PLA Rocket Force, and the PLA Strategic Support Force were established. The previous seven military area commands were regrouped into five theater commands, and the four military departments - staff, politics, logistics and armaments - were reorganized into 15 agencies.

With those reforms, the PLA has a system in which the CMC is tasked with the overall administration of the armed forces, while theater commands focus on combat preparedness, and various armed services pursue development, Xi added.


Posted in: Military

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