On 31 December 2015, CCP supremo Xi Jinping announced the most sweeping reorganization of the People’s Liberation Army since the 1950s. Rumors of these tectonic changes had been brewing for months, following decades of periodically aborted discussions about the need to fundamentally reshape the structure of the military for modern joint operations. This article outlines what we know so far, speculates about the confluence of political and military factors that was finally allowed to occur, and assesses the implications of the reforms for civil-military relations and military modernization.
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China’s “Goldwater-Nichols”? The Long-Awaited PLA Reorganization Has Finally Arrived