Security Challenge
Volume 15, No.1 (2019)

China’s Sweeping Military Reforms: Implications for Australia

Formally launched at the end of December 2015, the ongoing reforms of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) are the most sweeping and potentially transformative in its history. Since early 2016, these reforms have had immediate and far-reaching effects on the PLA’s organisation, force posture, command and control structures, and internal politics. Looking ahead and over the longer-term, the successful implementation of these reforms will help build the PLA into a far more capable fighting force.1 As far as China’s top political and military leaders are concerned, these reforms are critical in transforming the PLA from a bloated, untested and corrupt military with low levels of professionalism to a force increasingly capable of conducting joint operations, fighting short, intensive and technologically sophisticated conflicts, and doing so farther from Chinese shores.

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