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CASI PLA Fundamentals Course

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PLA Fundamentals Course

CASI hosts a professional development course that we call PLA Fundamentals.  This course is free and open to U.S. military, allies, partners, DoD, and USG civilians.  We host the course every several months throughout the year.  Most iterations take place at National Defense University, but some may take place at other locations around the country.  This course focuses on our primary strategic competitor in the Indo-Pacific region.  It lays the foundation for understanding the People's Liberation Army (PLA), its organization, culture, personnel, and concepts. All sessions take place at the unclassified level.  Click here to put your name on the interested list and we will contact you when we schedule the next course 

Learning Objective: Equip attendees with a foundational understanding of the PLA, its culture and operational thought, its constituent parts, and how to leverage that information in an open-source research environment to understand PLA intent.

Desired Learning Outcomes:

  1. Understand PLA strategic and operational warfighting concepts;
  2. Recognize the roles of various components of the PLA and how they are modernizing;
  3. Acknowledge key issues of concern for the PLA.

Course Content:

Introduction to the PLA

This section covers PLA culture and military thought, organizational structure, personnel management, training, and proficiency. Students will learn to understand how the PLA prepares its forces to fight and the way in which it intends to fight.


PLA Services, the People’s Armed Police, and Militia

This section provides students with a fundamental understanding of the various components of the PLA, People’s Armed Police, and militia. Students will learn how the PLA likely intends to employ these forces, the capabilities of these forces, and the general force laydown.


Other PLA Focus Areas

This section discusses other key issues of concern for the PLA that cross service boundaries. This includes PLA operations in the space, network and electromagnetic spectrum, and nuclear domains. This section also briefly covers PLA sustainment issues.


Point of Contact: Mr. Roderick Lee (lee@casi-research.org)

Click here to put your name on the interested list and we will contact you when we schedule the next course 

Schedule (sample):


Day 1


0800-0830: Intro

0830- 0920: Overarching Warfighting Concepts

0930-1030: Deterrence

1030-1100: Non-war Military Activities (Grayzone operations)

1100-1200: Lunch (on your own)

1200-1250: Operational Thought

1300-1350: Training and Proficiency

1400- 1450: Information Domain

1500-1550: Political Work

Day 2


0800-1100: Organization

0900-0950: Command and Control

1000-1100: Personnel

1100-1200: Lunch (on your own)

1200-1250: Intro to the PLA Army

1300-1350: Intro to the PLA Navy

1400-1450: Intro to the PLA Air Force

1500-1550:  Intro to the PLA Rocket Force

Day 3


0800-0850: Intro to the PLA Strategic Support Force

1000-1050: People’s Armed Police and Militia

1100-1150: Equipment and Logistics Support

1100-1200: Lunch (on your own)

1200-1250: Nuclear Domain

1300-1350: Space Domain

1400-1450: Network and Electromagnetic Spectrum Domain

1450-1530: Conclusions