China will unify the army, navy, air force and strategic missile corps under one command

Chinese President Xi Jinping announced a major overhaul of China’s military to make the world’s largest army more combat ready and better equipped to project force beyond the country’s borders.

Under the reorganization, all branches of the armed forces would come under a joint military command, Xi told a meeting of military officials in Beijing, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. Bloomberg in September reported details of the plan, which may also seek to consolidate the country’s seven military regions to as few as four.

This will emulate the military structure of the United States.

China will unify the army, navy, air force and strategic missile corps under one command.

The command system is seen as necessary to improve communications and coordinate modern forces across the various arms of the military. The organizational changes would aid China’s shift from a land-based military to one able to project force far from its coastline.

The plan also seeks to tighten the Communist Party’s grip over the 2.3-million-member military, with Xi insisting the People’s Liberation Army maintain “correct political direction” and stressing “the Communist Party of China has absolute leadership of the armed forces,” Xinhua reported.

China’s navy has been the most visible demonstration of the modernization drive, with advanced Chinese warships participating in anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden and extracting nationals from conflict zones in Libya and Yemen. On Thursday, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that China was in talks with Djibouti about building logistical facilities to help resupply military vessels operating off the East African coast.

SOURCES – Bloomberg