According to a new report from the U.S. National Defense University, China’s military leadership shares the same Achilles heel with the Russian military. They are not cross-trained for live combat. In other words a soldier stays a soldier, a sailor remains a sailor. They do not venture outside their area of expertise. However, some experts believe that the CCP’s middle and low-level officers are gradually getting better, even so, the Chinese military still has two major and fatal weaknesses that erode the foundation of the military.
Analysis: Beijing is learning US military tactics, but there is a big gap
CNN said on September 16 that a six-year report by the U.S. National Defense University has studied more than 300 of the PLA’s top officers across its five services – army, navy, air force, rocket force, and strategic support force – in the six years leading up to 2021. It found that in each service leaders were unlikely to have operational experience in any branch which is a possible Achilles’ Heel within the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
Su Ziyun, director of the Institute of Defense Strategy and Resources at the National Defense Academy of Taiwan on September 18 told The Epoch Times, “The report from the U.S. National Defense University points out that the CCP’s high-ranking generals lack this ability, and if the CCP military wants to conduct cross-sea operations in the Taiwan Strait in the future, the outcome could be even worse than that of Russia.”
Su also noted that the PLA’s middle and low-level officers are gradually acquiring this capability. And they have included learning the tactics of the U.S. military.
Yao Cheng, a former lieutenant colonel in the Chinese navy, also said that the U.S. military doesn’t seem to know much about the Chinese military. In fact, since the early 1980s, the Chinese military has been conducting combined combat training of infantry, artillery, armored troops, air defense troops, and other types of combined operations. However, there is actually a big gap between the Chinese military and the U.S. military, mainly because China’s command and control system, which automates coordinated training, electronic warfare, and information warfare, cannot catch up.
Yao told The Epoch Times tat since the 1980s, the CCP has been building and expanding four modernization processes— increased professionalism of the officers, and officers have to go through military training at the academy. But in the CCP military, there are two systems, one is the military and the other is the political. While the military training is all about war, the political is mainly aimed at the army and the people, and the Party controls the army. But the Party’s leadership over everything will definitely affect the military’s fighting strength and development.
Analysis: US National Defense University report oversights China’s biggest military weakness
The report released by the National Defense University also points to another key difference between the U.S. and Chinese militaries: Most four-star U.S. generals have actual combat experience; while in China, nearly half of the four-star generals are “Party officials” or “Political commissars.”
According to The Epoch Times, Su Ziyun, said, “The biggest weakness of the Chinese military is that the Party commands the barrel, which is not mentioned in the report. What these political commissars focus on is the military’s political security, not combat command.”
Although in the future, a higher proportion of Chinese officers may receive cross-service training, it is not possible to escape the shackles of the so-called Party commands the barrel. If they actually enter a conflict these officers have limited experience in decision-making and they don’t dare take the initiative, so the Chinese military will be in a very passive situation. Su added that the Chinese military has another problem— serious corruption. There is evidence of lack of honest supervision and the prevalence of bribery and corrupt officials. After Xi Jinping came to power, although he vowed to vigorously fight corruption, he only punished officials from other factions. Corruption scandals are constantly being reported among Xi’s generals, and corruption is still eroding the military’s foundation.