2008:Non Combat Roles for the PLA: Lessons Learned

Non Combat Roles for the PLA: Lessons Learned

Jin Yinan, vice director of Strategy Education and Research at the PRC National Defense University (Prof. Jin’s web page at http://military.people.com.cn/GB/8221/51756/34950/index.html in an August 1, 2008 Zhongguo Qingnianbao article, “The Hero Arrives at the Disaster Scene: I Look at Non-Combat Activities for the PLA in the New Century” examines non-combat roles of the militaries of the U.S. and other countries in disaster relief and looks at the PLA and what it will need to operate more effectively in disaster relief. 

This article appeared in the August 1 issue of Zhongguo Qingnianbao and later in the New China Digest (Xinhua Wenzhai).  http://www.xinhuawz.com/zw.asp?title_id=54968

Begin summary:

 The U.S. Combat Strategy o作战纲要of 1993 and Guidelines for Joint Combat Operations  联合作战纲要 of 2001 which discussed 18 kinds of non-combat military roles such as control of weapons and other military materiel, fighting terrorism and disaster relief.  

  The big difference between the U.S. and China is the enormous capacity of the U.S. to use its over 1500 transport aircraft to transport troops and support materials anywhere in the world, supported by its network of bases around the world.  This difference was obvious in the 2005 Tsunami relief when Chinese supplies had to be carried sometimes by U.S. forces.  Although the U.S. go off to a slow start in Katrina relief, the many helicopters of the U.S. military combined with superb air traffic control led to quick and efficient rescue work.   The militaries of the developed nations have about 100 helicopters for every 10,000 troops.  China has far, far fewer helicopters than that.  Although China has launched the Chang’e satellite to the moon, it has few  remote sensing satellites in orbit.  This was a special problem after the May 2008 Wenchuan earthquake because China did not have radar reconnaissance satellites that could have pierced the fog and cloud cover over the disaster area.

After May 12,  China requested  satellite imagery.  Reuters reported the the U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency analysts were already working on spy satellite data. Japan responded first on May 13, followed by the Digital Globe Co. (US) on May 17 with high resolution satellite imagery from May 14, 15, and 16.  NGA provided unclassified imagery on May 19.  As of May 19, China had received satellite imagery from seven countries: USA, Japan, UK, France, Germany, Canada and Nigeria.



  5121530分,汶川大地震发生一小时后,中国国家航天局启动国际减灾合作机制,向《空间和重大灾害国际宪章》成员提出卫星数据申请。51314时,日本航天局向我提供ALOS遥感卫星拍摄的受灾地区雷达卫星遥感图片。517日,美国Digital Globe公司中国代理向我提供“快鸟”卫星拍摄的514日、15日、16日三天高分辨卫星影像数据。519日,美国国家地理空间情报局向中国提供首批非保密卫星图像。截止到519日,美国、日本、英国、法国、德国、加拿大、尼日利亚等7个国家,向中国提供地震灾区卫星遥感影像技术支持。


Military non-combat mission is not the most important role of the PLA. That mission is to win local wars on informatized battlegrounds.

:非战争军事行动能力并非军队的核心军事能力。就新世纪的中国人民解放军来说,核心军事能力依然是打赢信息化条件下局部战争的能力。我们依然需要牢记我军存在的“两个不适应”:现代化水平与打赢信息化条件下的局部战争的要求还不相适应;军事能力与履行新世纪新阶段我军历史使命的要求还不相适应。 Military non-combat missions can help identify shortcomings and help supplement capabilities needed to complete the primary mission of the military.


 The full text of the aricle is http://www.xinhuawz.com/zw.asp?title_id=54968


About 高大伟 David Cowhig

Worked 25 years as a US State Department Foreign Service Officer including ten years at US Embassy Beijing and US Consulate General Chengdu and four years as a China Analyst in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. Before State I translated Japanese and Chinese scientific and technical books and articles into English freelance for six years. Before that I taught English at Tunghai University in Taiwan for three years. And before that I worked two summers on Norwegian farms, milking cows and feeding chickens.
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