Leadership: Chinese Generals Hung Out To Dry


October 23, 2006: The senior generals of the Chinese army (the PLA, or People's Liberation Army) are getting impatient at the slow speed of modernization and reform. The brass are particularly unhappy with how many division commanders retain the lackadaisical attitudes that have been common in the army for decades. This was made clear recently when the director of a military exercise (himself a Major General), publicly disclosed his critique of one of the division commanders. Among the lapses was a general failure to adhere to scheduled movements. This can be fatal in combat, and military exercises exist to show that commanders can move their troops around in a timely and efficient fashion. Also criticized was the condition weapons were in. For example, 60 percent of missiles fired missed their targets. Another sore point was the continued use of cell phones by officers and troops. They are supposed to use their military radios, which are more secure from enemy eavesdropping, and much more reliable in a combat zone. But the cell phones are so much more convenient, so the troops just leave the military radios alone, and use their personal phones. It's very rare for there to be public criticism like this, thus it appears that the senior generals are trying to send a message.


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