Introduction: China’s Military Faces the Future
This chapter examines the modernization of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) logistics system during a period of far-reaching change in the Chinese economy and military establishment. In China's military hierarchy, the logisticians have traditionally been of second-class status. From the Korean War to the end of the 1980s, the logistics system was organized to support the PLA's operational doctrine of active defense that revolved around fighting large-scale positional defensive campaigns. The Chinese navy presently only has enough dedicated transport and landing ships to carry no more than two infantry divisions across the Taiwan Strait at any one time. The first large-scale exercise to assess the readiness of logistics units to take part in mobile wars under high-technology conditions took place in 1996. An all-army logistics training reform conference in October 1994 pointed out that more attention needed to be devoted to strengthening training in areas such as emergency mobile support and improving the high-technology knowledge of cadres.