Presentation on theme: "The Role of the PLA in National Security Policy Making in China"— Presentation transcript:
1 The Role of the PLA in National Security Policy Making in China CNA CHINA STUDIESDave Finkelstein
2 THE FIRST ORDER OF BUSINESS IS… HUMBLED BE TO BE BEFORE THIS AUDIENCE.GRATEFUL THAT LONNIE & MARK ARE HERE.HUMBLED BEFORE THE CHALLENGE OF ANALYZING THE PLAI AM NOT HERE TO GIVE YOU GROUND TRUTH.BE WARY OF ANYONE IN THE CHINA ANALYSIS BUSINESS WHO BELIEVES THEY HAVE GROUND TRUTH…HUMILITY!
3 I. The Fundamental Questions What is the role of the PLA in the formulation of national security policy in the PRC?Where does the PLA “fit” in the process?How does the PLA make its voice heard?How does it behave as a bureaucratic actor?What is the current nature of the “Party-Army” dynamic?
4 Why Are We Asking These Questions? Update the state of our knowledgeOur understanding has always been very imperfectChina’s national interests are expandingWhat are the implications for the PLA’s policy making role?Concerns based on recent developments2007 ASAT testActions in South China Sea and EEZ“Assertive” policies of 2009, 2010, 2011Western media and “rogue PLA” storiesPLA officers in PRC media spouting tough talk
5 DataInterview activitiesSubject Matter Experts (SME)Review of relevant secondary literature
7 On Party-Army Relationship Q: Is the PLA a “rogue actor” off on its own, defying CCP policy, or imposing its will on a reluctant CCP leadership?A: No.The Party still controls the gun.“The PLA suggests, but the Party approves”The PLA is carrying out its ordersMoreover, the PLA’s role in domestic politics & policies has actually contracted
8 However — New Domestic Context Favorable to PLA Power and authority at the pinnacle of the system has become more diffusedThe PLA now has an institutional monopoly on military expertiseHu Jintao & civilian leaders depend on the PLA for military adviceThe PLA has unique access to Hu Jintao via CMCCivilian oversight of the PLA appears minimalThe PLA, like other bureaucracies, has emerged as an interest groupExpanding PRC security interests creating more “bureaucratic space” for the PLA to “weigh in” on policies with defense or security dimensionsPoor policy coordination in “the system”
9 Put Another Way, the Research Effort Suggests… Today, the voice of the PLA in PRC national security policy, defense policy, and some dimensions of foreign policy is likely amplified due to six factors —China’s expanding national security interestsIncreased demand signal for PLA inputPLA monopoly on defense expertiseCivilians stay out of defense “lane in the road”Direct access to Hu JintaoCMC as high-level CCP organNew operational capabilitiesAllows PLA to put more options on the tablePoor national-level coordination mechanismsBureaucratic room to maneuverMedia-Savvy PLAShaping domestic perceptions
11 Importance of the Central Military Commission Standing Committee of CMC is a high-level CCP committeeOnly CCP organ responsible for military & defense affairsHigh status with party & access to top leadershipThe Party Secretary General is usually also CMC ChairmanAs a CCP organ, status of CMC much higher than state-level ministries (such as Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and others
17 Pull-Push DynamicHu Jintao depends on CMC for advice on military and defense affairs and asks CMC for advice……and CMC can offer unsolicited advice on defense, military, and national security affairs……but it is unknown where line is drawn on types of issues where CMC can offer unsolicited advice…where the official mandate endsCivilians are said to be extremely reluctant to comment or offer advice on military and defense affairs
18 Who Is Advising CMC on How to Advise Hu & PBSC? Offices that staff the CMC bureaucracy (very little data)The four General Departments (GSD, GPD, GLD, GAD)Academy of Military ScienceSome elements of National Defense UniversityCommanders & Political Commissars of the Services & 2nd ArtilleryCommanders & Political Commissars of 7 Military RegionsPLA intelligence communityPossibly Foreign Affairs Office of Ministry of National Defense (speculation at this point)
19 Institutional Presence on Leading Small Groups Total Number of LSGs (领导小组) unknown — perhaps a dozen or so:Foreign Affairs Leading Small GroupHu Jintao, Xi Jinping, Gen Liang Guanglie, Gen Ma XiaotianNational Security Affairs Leading Small GroupTaiwan Affairs Leading Small GroupHu Jintao Gen Guo Boxiong, Gen Ma XiaotianPolitics & Law CommitteeGen Sun Zhongtong (DD GPD), Gen Wu Shuangzhan (CDR PAP)
21 Generally Speaking, Poor Horizontal Coordination The policy community in the PRC is self-described by officials within it as —Stove-pipedTurf-conscious, andHorizontally uncommunicative“All analysts in China understand and are worried that thecapacity of the Chinese government to coordinate foreignpolicy and national security decisions and policies is weak.”– PRC Intelligence Community Analyst
22 No Overarching Coordinating Body No NSC-like entity coordinating across the PRC “inter-agency”Even at Hu Jintao level, his Leading Small Groups are said to be stove-pipedSituation compounded by new actors such as State Owned Enterprises and local governmentsOn some security issues, lines of authority and responsibility are blurred or overlapping.Example: Besides PLA Navy, there are 12 Ministerial-level organizations in China that have some responsibility for some aspect of maritime security policy
23 MFA Viewed as “Weak Bureaucratic Actor” Institutional status of MFA relatively low compared to Party organs such as CMCFM Yang considered weak & marginal player whose party rank is relatively lowEclipsed by Dai Bingguo and Foreign Affairs Office of Central CommitteeMFA action officers often junior to counterpartsMFA “is the ministry others love to revile”MFA is “mired down in daily actions and requirements” and has no time for strategic thinkingMFA Yang Jiechi
24 PLA Views of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs PLA attitudes towards the MFA ranged from dismissive to derisiveReluctance to coordinate beyond minimal requirementsVignettes of PLA (and others) “attacking” MFA action officers at inter-ministerial meetings“The PLA operates in its own sphere. The PLA does not ‘ask” the MFA. The PLA ‘does’. It does not ‘ask.” Since the January ASAT test, the PLA has been better about informing the MFA, but it still does not ‘ask.’“-- PLA General Officer
25 PLA Coordination: “Two Disconnects” #1: PLA is reluctant to coordinate with other ministries# 2: Coordination within PLA often times poorOperations & Training Communities as example:Not inclined to coordinate its plans with MFA or other ministriesOPS & TNG communities hold high status within PLATherefore feels little need to coordinate with other parts of PLADismissive of PLA foreign affairs & intelligence communities
27 The PLA is One Among Many Interests Groups As a result of –Diffusion of power and authority at pinnacle of systemInstitutionalization of authorityLack of military experience by civilian party eliteMore complex domestic legal & regulatory environmentExpanding Chinese national interest setsResource requirements for military modernization program
28 Tools PLA Has to Shape or “Lobby”? Institutional venues such as CMC and presence on key Leading Small GroupsPLA delegates to National People’s Congress and CCP Party CongressesInternal papers and analyses sent through CMC to Hu JintaoIn-person briefings to leadershipEx: Politburo Standing Committee “Study Sessions”Use of PLA media complex to shape views of civilian leaders & publicIntelligence analysesAppearances in non-PLA media to shape views of public as well as CCP leadershipOperational activities (?)
29 But Not Always a Unitary Actor Vignettes suggest PLA is not always a “unitary actor”Uncertain how PLA divides on some security & foreign issues:By service?By professional communities?(ops, training, political, intel, foreign affairs, logistics, etc.)By Military Regions (continental MRs, maritime MRs)“Beijing PLA” versus “Field PLA”What are the various communities of interest within the PLA?
31 If The PLA Is Not Totally “Off the Reservation”… …then the tough PLA “lines” about the U.S. or its tough approach to the military relationship (“Three Obstacles”) may not be out of sync with the rest of Party-State leadership.
32 Smaller Portfolio But Louder Voice The good news is that the PLA’s role in providing policy advice is now more constrained than at any time in the pastThe bad news is that the issues on which the CCP leadership turns to the PLA for advice are issues that matter to the U.S. defense establishment:PRC defense policyPLA military modernizationForeign military relationsTaiwanPolicy in “the global commons”
33 As China’s Global Footprint Expands… …China’s global security interests will also expand. The PLA will likely be called upon more and more for regional security advice.
34 If Coordination is as Poor as Portrayed… …We can probably expect —Confusing signalsDisconnects between stated policy & actual behaviorTime lags or unresponsiveness to requests for clarificationUncertainty as to where to “enter the system”
35 The Three Critical Groups Members of the Central Military CommissionThose who advise the Central Military CommissionThe PLA operations community