Leadership: The Blind Leading The Blind In China


June 12, 2015:   China has been trying to improve the combat skills of its army personnel but despite all the grand plans and pronouncements those skills have not improved. Some recent studies of the issue made this painfully clear. So now the government has mandated that troops spend more time on the basics of tactics and operating in a combat zone. The combat troops are now expected to spend up to five months a year practicing the basics. Note that the military is heavily influenced by provincial officials and this often leaders to corruption and ignoring orders from the national government. So in this case the central government will send inspectors to encourage compliance. This sort of constant drill is pretty standard stuff with the more successful armies and the professional combat troops in the West regularly do this. It is not that much of a tradition in China, where the military tends to be more a source of corruption than combat ready troops. Not only will the central government double check but this mandate stipulates frequent inspections to ensure that the training was performed satisfactorily.

When this program was first ordered the Chinese discovered that this type of drill had been neglected for so long that there was no standardization and that many of the senior officers responsible for implementing it had not practiced these basic combat moves for a long time. In other words, many senior officers were no longer familiar with what was to be taught. To solve this problem some Military Area Commands organized five day training sessions for senior commanders and staff officers, to reacquaint them with the basics. Attendance was mandatory.

The 850,000 personnel in the Chinese Army are organized into seven MACs (Military Area Command): Shenyang (16th, 39th, and 40th Combined Corps), Beijing (27th, 38th, and 65th Combined Corps), Lanzhou (21st and 47th Combined Corps), Jinan (20th, 26th, and 54th Combined Corps), Nanjing (1st, 12th, and 31st Combined Corps), Guangzhou (41st and 42nd Combined Corps), and Chengdu (13th and 14th Combined Corps).  Each Combined Corps contains two or more divisions, plus independent brigades. In peacetime these units are used to back up the police in maintaining public order and standing ready to help when there is a natural disaster. Some units with better equipment and training are designated as available to quickly go to some border area to deal with an enemy threat.



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