Chinese Threat

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For over two thousand years, China has been surrounded by enemies, adversaries, and other competitors. Invasion, occupation, raids, and other incursions into Chinese territory were commonplace. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) views protecting Chinese sovereignty and security as a sacred duty. China traditionally viewed military resistance as an affair for the entire population: mass resistance, guerrilla warfare, and winning a war of attrition.

The People’s Liberation Army Army (PLAA) has approximately 975,000 active-duty personnel in combat units. The PLAN is the largest navy in the world with a battle force of approximately 355 platforms, including major surface combatants, submarines, aircraft carriers, ocean-going amphibious ships, mine warfare ships, and fleet auxiliaries. The Air Force (PLAAF) and PLAN Aviation together constitute the largest aviation forces in the region and the third largest in the world, with over 2,800 total aircraft (not including trainer variants or UAVs) of which approximately 2,250 are combat aircraft (including fighters, strategic bombers, tactical bombers, multi-mission tactical, and attack aircraft). The PLA Rocket Force (PLARF) is the largest missile force in the world, operating well over 1,000 short-range, medium-range, and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and over 300 long-range cruise missiles.

OPFOR SMARTbook 1 - Chinese Military

Download a free PDF sample and learn more at: OPFOR SMARTbook 1 – Chinese Military (Forces, Operations & Tactics)

With a force that totals approximately two million personnel in the regular forces, the PLA has sought to modernize its capabilities and improve its proficiencies across all warfare domains so that as a joint force it can conduct the range of land, air, and maritime operations as well as space, counterspace, electronic warfare (EW), and cyber operations. Recognizing that joint operations, information flows, and rapid decision-making are vital in modern warfare, the PRC continues to place a high priority on modernizing the PLA’s capability to command complex joint operations in near and distant battlefields.

The PRC has stated its defense policy aims to safeguard its national sovereignty, security, and development interests. China’s leaders view these interests as foundational to their national strategy. In 2020, the PRC’s defense policy and military strategy primarily oriented the PLA towards “safeguarding” its perceived “sovereignty and security” interests in the region counter the United States. At the same time, China’s leaders increasingly cast the armed forces as a practical instrument to defend Beijing’s expanding global interests and to advance its foreign policy goals within the framework of “Major Power Diplomacy with Chinese Characteristics.”

OPFOR1 topics and chapters include the strategic environment (understanding China, defense & military strategy, strategic & operational environments, territorial disputes), force structure (PLA: Army, Navy, Marine, Air Force, Rocket Force, Strategic Support Force), system warfare, information operations, reconnaissance and security, offensive and defensive actions, antiterorrism and stability actions, equipment and capabilities (maneuver, fire support, air defense, aviation, engineer and chemical defense, network and communications, and special operations forces).

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About The Lightning Press SMARTbooks. Recognized as a “whole of government” doctrinal reference standard by military, national security and government professionals around the world, SMARTbooks comprise a comprehensive professional library. SMARTbooks can be used as quick reference guides during operations, as study guides at education and professional development courses, and as lesson plans and checklists in support of training. Browse our collection of Military Reference SMARTbooks to learn more.

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