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  • "Flying Twice" No More: Assessing the Aerospace Component of the PLA Military Parade

    When the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was planning for the military parade at the founding ceremony of the People's Republic of China (PRC) in October 1949, China had 17 aircraft in total. China's late premier, Zhou Enlai, reportedly had to order the military to "fly them twice" to make the show more credible. On 1 October 2019, more than 100,000 military and civilian participants gathered at the heart of Beijing, participating in a military parade and a mass pageantry to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the PRC. This carefully choreographed event, designed for both domestic and foreign consumption, showcased more than 160 aircraft and 580 pieces of equipment. 

  • Understanding the "People" of the People's Liberation Army: A Study of Marriage, Family, Housing, and Benefits

    This study focuses on the People of the People’s Liberation Army. Without people, there is no army, and without highly trained people, there is no modern army. This is true not just for China, but for nations all over the world, the United States included. U.S. military periodicals and journals often feature articles and exposes detailing a myriad of ‘people problems’ facing the Department of Defense today. Obesity of potential recruits, low levels of civilian unemployment, and massive pilot shortage, are just a few of the challenges that the U.S. facing with recruiting, training, and retaining the best and brightest for the U.S. military.  China’s Communist Party faces many of the same challenges in trying to fill and maintain the ranks of the PLA; however, some are uniquely Chinese, and may come as a surprise to those not familiar with certain aspects of Chinese culture.

  • Brigadization of the PLA Air Force

    In 2016, China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) began to implement its 11th large-scale reorganization, including a 300,000-man force reduction. One key component of the reorganization was the PLA Air Force's (PLAAF) shift away from its traditional Division-Regiment system to a Base-Brigade structure for its fighter and ground attack aircraft. This transition originally began in 2011 but implementation was apparently delayed soon after it began and did not restart until 2017. This paper discusses the evolution of the PLAAF's fighter and ground attack combat aircraft units and flight colleges to a brigade structure. 

  • The PLA’s Unmanned Aerial Systems: New Capabilities for a “New Era” of Chinese Military Power

    The People's Republic of China (PRC) is the world's largest producer of UAVs at this time and captures a vast portion of the commercial market, as well as the military one. While it is important to keep the commercial aspects in mind, this particular paper will focus on military UAVs, their development, deployments, and current and potential uses on the battlefield of today and tomorrow. The paper seeks to serve as a starting point to understand this growing field, and to give analysts a common baseline from which to work, and from which to judge growth, both rapidity and complexity, in the future.