The Chinese Army Today: Tradition and Transformation for the 21st Century, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Chinese Army Today

Tradition and Transformation for the 21st Century, 1st Edition

By Dennis J. Blasko, Dennis J. Blasko


260 pages

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pub: 2005-12-14
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The Chinese Army Today is a completely unique and comprehensive study of all elements of the Chinese military, focusing on its ground forces to a degree not found in any other contemporary works.

In 1999, the military modernization program of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army that had been underway for twenty years increased in intensity and achieved a focus not seen in the previous two decades. Based primarily on actual Chinese sources, this book details the changes implemented since 1999 and puts them in the context of the many traditions that still remain.

Written by a retired professional military officer who has served in China, this book presents the reader with the key developments since 1999. Its discussion on training and doctrine provides a level of detail not found in other works, but is essential to understanding the progress made in China’s military modernization and the obstacles yet to be overcome. The author uses first-hand observation of the Chinese military and three decades of military experience to weave many disparate threads from official Chinese statements, documents, and media reports into an integrated whole.

This text defines exactly what forces make up the People’s Liberation Army and examines in detail ground force organization and structure, personnel policies, doctrine and training, new equipment entering the force, and missions routinely undertaken in support of society.

This is an essential book for all students and scholars of China and Asia, political science and international relations and of contemporary military affairs and strategic studies.


'Dennis Blasko has written the definitive study of China’s ground forces, but this book also illuminates many other aspects of China’s military today. The author brings to this assessment a career worth of knowledge and experience in the U.S. Army, as a specialist on the Chinese military. Few, if any, know the Chinese army better than Blasko. His judgements are careful and nuanced, his research and sources are thorough, and his presentation is comprehensive—all necessary correctives to the frequent media hype on the subject. A ‘must read’ for anyone seeking to understand the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and its impact on Asian security and U.S. national security interests.' - David Shambaugh, George Washington University, USA

'Probably the most complete, best referenced and most accurate analysis available of the ground forces of the PLA … It should be part of the library of any scholar or analyst of the Chinese military.’The China Journal

'Blasko's book is an authoritative primer on the PLA for national security professionals. His background as an Army intelligence officer and China foreign area officer, and his intimate knowledge of primary sources enable him to provide thoughtful analysis. His book should be on every PACOM officer's 'must read' list.' - Military Review

‘This is an excellent introduction to the PLA and can serve as a starting point for

any scholar interested in China’s modern military. It will also be an excellent tool for

orienting professionals who may be working in the area. ..The

Chinese Army Today makes a valuable contribution to the challenging area of PLA

studies.’ Jerremie Clyde, Journal of Military and Strategic Studies

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 2. What is the PLA? 3. Who is the PLA? 4. Where is the PLA? 5. How Will the PLA Fight? 6. What Equipment Does the PLA Use? 7. What Does the PLA Do? 8. What Does the PLA Do? (Support to National Economy/Other Missions) 9. Assessment 10. The Ghosts of Tiananmen

About the Authors

Dennis J. Blasko is an Independent Analyst and former Senior Military Fellow, National Defense University and former Military Attaché in Beijing, China and Hong Kong.

About the Series

Asian Security Studies

Few regions of the world are fraught with as many security questions as Asia. Within this region it is possible to study great power rivalries, irredentist conflicts, nuclear and ballistic missile proliferation, secessionist movements, ethnoreligious conflicts and inter-state wars. This series publishes the best possible scholarship on the security issues affecting the region, and includes detailed empirical studies, theoretically oriented case studies and policy-relevant analyses as well as more general works.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Military / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / General