China’s Military to Roll Out Civilian Service Modeled After the US

On Nov. 10, the Central Military Commission announced a newly revised People’s Liberation Army Civilian Service Regulations. Civilians hired by the military perform non-combat tasks and do not take orders from non-active duty military personnel.

The backdrop:

  1. According to various intelligence, China’s military reforms this year revolves around reducing non-combat personnel while boosting combat troops, as well as shifting the officer-enlisted personnel ratio from 1:2.7 to 1:3.5.
  2. China’s military personnel reforms include:
  • Trimming the 2.3 million-strong military by 300,000 troops.
  • Reducing the officer corps from 600,000 to 400,000.
  • Downsizing ground force troops from 1.15 million to 910,000.
  • Increase civilian services personnel from 40,000 to about 200,000~280,000. Civilian services are divided into management track and professional track.

Our take:

  1.  The PLA started growing its civilian service in 2005 and is now hiring non-active duty personnel and contractors.
  2. The current PLA civilian service is modeled after the United States military’s civilian service. The PLA’s newspaper carried a discussion of this issue in its Dec. 11, 2015 print edition.
  3. In general, the PLA is remodeling itself after the U.S. military in terms of structure and chain of command. The impetus for the change was the massive defeat of regular PLA red units to op-for blue units that adopt a U.S.-style command system and tactics in 2014 and 2015.
  4. The new Central Commission for Integrated Military and Civilian Development which was unveiled in January also takes after the U.S. military-industrial complex. The Commission will oversee the transfer of military technology for civilian use, and vice versa.