Created: 6/11/1970

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iat.onal intelligence estimate


^Communist China's










Eulrnt of the

Impact on Training and Moral*


Disposition of Forces and Defensive 7

Manpower snd Conscription 0

Military Equipment

The Chinese Communist

Air and Air Defense



Combat Readiness and

Policy. Doctrine, and



The High

Air Force-0




the problem

To assess the strength, capabilities, and disposition of tbe Chinese Communist general purpose and air defense forces with particular reference to the impact of domestic political developments and Sino-Soviet tensions.


years have now been expended in Communistto strengthen and modernize its armed forces. Peking'swillingness toarge share of its resources tohas yielded some creditable results. At the same time,the effort has been beset by difficulties caused byand political policies and by the ambivalencemilitary doctrine and the requirements for building amilitary force.

upheavals of the Cultural Revolution interferred withtraining and, degraded the combat capabilities and readinessChinese Armed Forces. But the extent of this degradationdegree of its persistence up to the present time is inand INR believe that the level of training is still well shortin the army because of continued heavy involvement inactivities and that progress in extricating the People'sArmy (PLA) from these tasks will be slow. DIA and NSA, onhand, believe that training in the army3 and that any residual degradation in combateffectiveness isiscussion of the evidence on theseissue is contained in paragraphs

deteriorating course of Sino-Soviet relations, whichChina of extensive military assistance and then in recent

years ted to an omnious buildup of military forces and pressure against China, has added another dimension to China's defense problem. Although Peking's reaction has so far been cautious and limited in scope, the Soviet buildup is almost certainlyajor impact on Chinese military planning.

its problems, the PLA has the capability fora formidable defense of the mainland. Its principal strengththe size of the ground forces (about two and one-half million)fighting potential as an infantry force. Although China'sis basically defensive, its forces could overwhelm itsSoutheast Asia or Korea if not opposedodern outsideas it is demonstrating in Indochina, Peking can provideto insurgent groups across its southern borders.

conventional combatodern opponent,branch of the PLA would have critical weaknesses. Armybelieved to be seriously deficient in motorized transport andthe air defense system probably lacks an adequateand data processing capability and could notlarge-scale, sophisticated air attack; and China's navy, whilestill little moreoastal defense force.

estimated, current and projected production programsfor many years, provide sufficient quantities of (he variousweapons and equipment needed to remedy materielto raise the PLA to modem combat standards. But the Chinesealmost certainly will continue to do so undera fairly broad range ofalong the following lines:

Ground Forces. Although the army is deficient in firepower and mobility and seems to have made less progress in modernization than might have been expected, the firepower of Chinese combat units is increasing. Already well supplied with small arms, ground units are receiving more tanks and artillery'.

Air Forces. All elements of China's air defense apparentlybeen improved. Command and control capabilities have probablymore and better radars have been deployed at an increasing rate, androduction probably has recovered from the Cultural Revolution. SAM deployment, however, has been proceeding slowly

and we are increasingly uncertain about Chinese plans for producing thehere is some evidence that an aircraft of native design based on theas been produced in China.

aval Forces. With few exceptions, naval shipbuilding programs appear to have recovered fully9 from the Culturaland current expansion of shipyards indicates that new programs could be planned. Greater emphasis is being placed on production of larger, longer range ships capable of extended patrols. Constructionlass submarines now averages about twoear, and China has begun to build destroyers. Old destroyers are beingto carry cruise missiles.


wenty years ago the lightly equipped People's Liberation Army (PLA) entered Korea and iought in its first and only warell-equipped modem force. Although Chinese leaders had reason to be satisfied with the

that Chinas security and pretensionsreat power roleubstantial effort to strengthen and modernize its armed forces. Such an effort was initiated in the midst of the war and has continued to the present day.

The PLA has made impressive progress in some fields and it is today an organization of considerable size and defensive potential,apability to mount substantial offensive operations in the adjacent areas ol Southeast Asia and Korea. Nonetheless there are the striking fads that the PLA's overallhas been somewhat limited and uneven and that much of its time and energy has been absorbed by political and economic functions-

In the broadest sense, the PLA's progressrofessional, modem force has been limited By the fundamental weaknesses of China's industry andBeyond that, however, its development has been strongly shaped by Mao's tendency to give priority to the political role and mission of the army, by his concepts for the defense of China tluough die strategy of People's War, and by the consequences of his challenge to the leading role of the USSR.

The modernization of the PLA suffered its first major upset whenb' Great Leap Forward broughtollapse of Industrial production in China. These difficulties were compounded by the withdrawal of Soviet military and economic assistance

It was also at the turn of the decade that Lin Piao took over the leading mihtary positions in both the party and theove which usherederiod of renewed efforts at political and Ideological "rectification" of the PLA Military production programs never lost their strong claim on resources, but the resurgence of the Maoist ideological approach to army building may

have caused some pulling and hauling over priorities, which in turn would help explain some of the anomalies which can he seen in China's military establishment today. In any case, the effort to politicize the military was intensified in the mid- andnd culminated in the official designation of Lin Piao as Mao's successor and the PLA's takingentral role in the Cultural Revolution.


The PLA's involvement in the political and social upheaval brought on by the Cultural Bcvolution6 continues, and it has become increasingly apparent that (his involvement was greater in the first two years or so than we earlier believed. As the authority of the party and government apparatus declined,A was called upon first to maintain general order and stability, then to assume the role of peacemaker and arbiter between faclional groups, and finally to assume leadership of the so-called Revolutionary Committees which now control government organizations, business and industrial enterprises, and schools throughout China. In the process the PLAide variety of administrative, security, and propaganda functions which extended deeply into almost every aspect of Chinese society.

Over the past few years major elements of at leastf China'srmies were moved away from their home bases for reasons relating to the political problems or disturbances of the time, in most instances these moves wererotational in nature and did not resultet shift of forces. Most of these units remain in their new areas and some at least are widely dispersed carrying out political and administrative tasks. Similar use is being made of many other PLA units which remain closer to their home garrisons.7 to the present approximatelyercent of Chinese ground force units have been identified as participating at one time or another in these non-military activities. The actual total may be considerably higher.

The PLA hasictim as well as an instrument of the CulturalThe purge at the higher levels of the PLA was particularly heavy ui the earlier stages. Some of those purged apparently favored constructing China's Armed Forces along conventional and professional lines, and ran afoul of Mao's ideaighly politicized military establishment. Differences alsoover priorities and programs for developing China's economic andstrength, issues which had been exacerbated by the damaging effects of Mao's disastrous Great Leap Forward and his handling of Sino-Soviet relations. Other PLA figures seem to have been brought downesult of factional struggles that developed In the course of the Cultural Revolution rather than because of past policy differences.

In any case, about half of the top military leadership was purged. The Military Affairs Committee, the highest official body responsible for military planning, lost almost half of its standing members and was reorganized. The

General Staff Department, which is responsible for coordinatingimilar level of casualties. Commanders of the armored forces, the railway corps and apparently the artillery corps were purged, as were the political commissars of the air force, navy, and railway corps. The casualty list at the top was split about evenly between military professionals and political specialists.

here waseavy toll at the military region and military district levels. At these levels it was mostly political officers who fell.ew notable exceptions, purges and factional activity were limited at the army level and below.

onetheless, the PLA has emergedore powerful political force despite the buffeting it has received. Nine of theull and alternate members of the Politburo chosen at the Ninth Party Congress in9 were PLA members. Military officers now are the top men or hold powerful positions in nearly all of the Revolutionary Committees governing Chinas majorareas. The military is prominent in municipal and county governments

as well. In addition, the PLA is still the only effective nation-wide instrument of control available to Peking;esult the PLA isignificant if not predominant role in the political reorganization and party rebuilding that iscarried forward. The PLA is thustrong position to expand its power at local levels and probably at tbe national level as well Despite this enhanced political position, all the available evidence shows that

Impact on Training and Morale

raining. As indicatedarge number of army units have been identified with non-military activities. The key questions are, of course, the

their uninvolved comrades have participated in meaningful military training. The evidence on these points is neither clear nor firm and it is subject to widely ranging interpretation. These interpretations, in turn, are central to judgments concerning the current combat readiness and effectiveness of the PLA.

basic problem is that our data base on training in the PLA haslimited. In particular, we have never been able to follow the activitiessufficient number of army units to establish the extent and nature ofpatterns. This deficiency applies in some degree to all the services,severely to the army.

major portion of evidence available consists of the following:

from individuab entering Hong Kong and letters frommainland whichixed picture of PLA activity:

continuing mass of Chinese press and radio reporting detailingof Chinese Army units and individuals in propaganda and


political work, and in administrative tasks throughout the government, the economy, and the school system.

Logically, the growing Soviet threat should haveapidof PLA personnel from Cultural Revolution tasks at leastthe PLA to concentrate on combat readiness. DIA and NSA believe that the evidence on the resumption of training8 indicates that this did happen, probablyonsiderable extent. Moreover. DIA and NSA do not findreferences to PLA involvement in non-military activities to be persuasive evidence of the actual numbers of troops involved and the time expended in such activities.

All USIB members agree that training in the Chinese Air Force and Navy probably is at normal levels (which are low by LTS or Sovietut the continued and constant references in the news media to army involvement ui aclminlstrative and propaganda tasks lead CIA and INK to believe that the level of army training is still well short of normal.

These arc differences of degree and they cannot be quantified in any meaningful way on the basis of present evidence. Thus, DIA and NSA emphasize indicators of the resumption of training. CIA and INR emphasize indicators of the continued involvement of the army in non-military activities.

orale. Morale and discipline must have been adversely affected by the disruption and divisiveness that the Cultural Revolution brought to Chinese societyhole.ime PLA leaders appeared divided at various levels and its personnel were subjected to physical abuse from factional groups.attacks against many senior officers could only have added to the overall problem. To some extent morale probably continues to surfer. Although there has been time to repair the worst of the damage caused by the purge oflevel military officials. PLA commanders down to the military region level are probably still operatingense and uncertain political environment. Top level civilian leaders areonsiderable degree still preoccupied with internal political problems. Due to this condition we believe that overall policy guidance and military pUnning is still subject to some uncertainty and delay.1

' Lt. Cen. Donald V. Bennett, the Dim-tor. Defense Intelligence Agency, note) that the last known major military puree occurred over two yean ago and key military positneu now appear to be filled by capable officer* loyal to the central government Voder such circuirutances. he believe* it t< reasonable to conclude that PLAo longer operating under tha abnormal stress and uncertainty which eharactcitzed the Cultural Revolution.

Although the government is undoubtedly concerned with Internal politicalhe national defense programs described in Section II surest that Chinese militaryimely, purposeful, and hag depth.

Vice Adm. Noel Cayler. the Director, National Security Agency;eo. Joseph A. McChrisnan. the Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Department of the Army; Cipt. William N. Hatch, for the Assistant Chief of Naval Operaboc*epartment of the Navy; and Bng. Ceo. Edward Rstkovfch, for the Assistant Chief of Staff, Intelligence. United States Air Forte, alio loin in did footnote

II. THE PEOPLE'Sv TODAY Disposrfion ofnd Defensive Meotvras

Fiom the outset, Chinese Communist military policy has been to provide first of all for the defense of the mainland. Until recent years, at lean. Peking viewed tbe US at its principal enemy The poiinonmg of Urge ground forces opposite Taiwan and adjacent to Korea, and strenuous efforts to build up air defcnies in east China and toapability to defend coastal waters alloncern about the potential of US military power

US intervention in South Vietnam and the bombing of the North5 caused Peking to emphasize the development of air defenses along the southern border and to strengthen naval forces in the area from Canton south. While there has been no significant strengthen uig of ground forces in southariety of reports indicate that tbe Chinese are busy improving and expanding rail and road nets, and establishing military storage facilities in areas near the borders ol North Vietnam. Laos, andesser extent, Burma.

We are not certain what to make of this comtnictioo activity. Some of the road and rail work can be explained as necessary to economic development and political consolidation in the remote and sometimes turbulent border regions. The activity may alsoeneral concern for defense againsl foreign aggression, although it seem* doubtful that Peking would expect more than minor harassment* in this area. Some of the road construction does, however, lead to the borders of Lao* andthe case of Laos, road construction continues across the border. These roads do, of course, enhance Chineseto support InaurgeiKV or to project their own forces into mainlandAsia.

incehe USSR has been steadily building up Its military strength along the Sino-Soviet border. In the springerious border clashes occurred along the I'lsuri River, and in the ensuing months there were further border incidents and Moscowsychological campaign that raised the specter of some son ol major Soviet attack against China.Peking now regards the USSR as atoequal of the US as China's enemy Indeed, the Chinese probably now view the Soviets as tbe more immediate and direct threat.

lthough it is clear that Peking was aware of the Soviet buildup soon after it began, Chinese military' reactions downt least, were cautious and limited in scope6 they began to extend and improve their air defense warning system along their northern frontier, but notrash basis There were no significant movements of major ground force units toward the Sino-Soviet frontier In fact the major portion of two armies were moved out of Manchuria to deal with problems connected with the Cultural Revolution, and the vast areas of Sinkiarig and Inner Mongolia continue to be very thinly manned with regular forces,odest reinforcement of these arcav


lthough the events9 cleaily heightened Peking's concern, Chinese nulituiy reaction apparently has continued to be cautions and primarilyin character.nner Mongolia was divided among the Shenyang. Peking and Lanehou Militaryn action which provides firmer com' mand and control over the northern border area. Deployment of radars in the area has been increased. The reported increase in the level of training,among air and naval units, is almost certainly linked with Sino-Soviet tensions. Along with these military preparations. Peking hastrident "war preparations' campaign which includes new efforts to increase industrial and agricultural production and to disperse population and small industriallongstanding goals of the regime. The campaign alsoation-wide- program of air raid shelter construction and food storage for emcr-gency uio.

part from their purely military aspects, these activities clearly serve the regime's economic and social goals and help unify the countryong period of internal turmoil. They also serve to put the Soviet Union on notice that China is prepared, if it must, to fight

Other Dejermve Measurer. The Chinese have longrogram for placing some of their military and mditary related facilities underground. Some navalow under construction are being provided with undergroundsome of which are reported to be protected berthings for submarines and smaller craft. Construction now underway at some airfields could provide underground hangers for part of China's jet fighter force.

A general pattern of digging in would make sense in terms of passiveagainst air or naval bombardment, particularly in view of the vulnerabilities of China's active defenses against such attacks. The logic behind theof the huge earth-mounded structures, which have been reported in east China, ts lesslausible explanation for tSese facilities is that they are designed to provide defensive strong points for important strategic and political centers. This function would fit with the extensive work being done to build cave and tunnel strong points along the coast where the terrain favors such defenses. But the tactical utility of the large moundsodem, mobile enemy invader is open to question and wc arc not yet confident that wethe reasoning which lies behind their construction. Some measure of their importance to Peking is evident, however, In the sacrifice of good agricultural land in east China.

Manpower and Conscription

eking for the third time in four years altered the length of service for newhe PLA The terms of service in the army, navy and air force were increased to three, four and five years respectively. The return to longer terms of service probablyesire to raise live level of skilled manpower in the services.


he PLA evidently assumed control over Public Security Forcesnd7 took over the paramilitary Production and Construction Corps (PCCt. Subsequently some increased military training may have been conducted within these organizations, particularly among PCC units located in border arras. Over the last few years some additional but very basic training also may have been provided to certain militia units. While we doubt that this training has been sufficient to make these organizations effective front line adjuncts of the PLA. they doeadily available source of organized manpower that could be used in defensive and delaying actions along the Soviet border.

MiUlaiy Equipment Propromj

he limitations of China's scientific, technical, managerial, and industrial capabilities and the disruptive effects of Maoist political and economic policies of the past decade are highly visible in the programs for production ofmilitary hardware. In terms of design and development, the high priority given to nuclear weapons systems seems to have absorbed much of the available talent. With few exceptions, the Chinese appear to have done little original design work on conventional weapons.onsequence, most of their production of military hardware is based on Soviet equipment and production technology acquired prior

e see no early end tn the bindesources despite the high priority on such resources that military programs will continue to enjoy. Some additional time may be necessary to overcome the adverse effects of factionalism and political cUsputes which good evidence shows developed during the Cultural Revolution in the National Defense Scientific and Technological Commission. In any event* there hasour year disruption of scientific and technical education and there is yet no signesumption of such educationound basisroad scale.

Military production, even where design and other technical problems have been solved, has in many cases fallen below levels that we would have considered desirable* from Peking's point of view and within their capabilities. This has been due. in part, to the economic disruptions of the Creat Leapears ago and more recently to the Cultural Revolution. For example. It isthat fighter aircraft production dropped significantly. and various sourcesecline in naval shipbuilding during the same period Although there is little directs likely that some other types of military product von also declined because of the Cultural Revolution

The particular disruptions of the Cultural Revolution have now been largely overcome, indeed it appears that military production0 on an overall basis will equal the previous highonetheless, we do not yet see an end to the longstanding uneven pattern of military procurement. These patterns arc notxplained bv economicnd we are somewhat puzzled by the ordering ol priorities if. as we believe likely, resources and plant facilities

arcremium. For example, the Chinese Army is being supplied with tanks from domestic production; but information at hand indicates that the army is receivingery few of the other types of vehicles and supporting equipment required by an armored force. China produces trucks; yet the army probably is woefully short of wheeled transport. No effort has yet been seen toedium size transport aircraft which China badly needs, not only for domestic economic reasons, but also to support both air and ground operations.of patrol vessels continuesubstantial rateime when the principal threat to China would seem to be overland from the USSR. In sum, we are not certainirm overall authority is providing continuous and coherent direction to China's military production program.1

The Chinese Communis* Army

China's principal military strength still lies in the size pf the army and its fighting potential as an infantry force. The numerical strength of the Chinese Communist Army (CCA) cannot be estimated with confidence on the basis of current data,igure of about two and one-half million is probably accurate within plus or minusercent. This strength has not changed substantially over the past decade. The overall deployment of the army has also remained substantially the same with the bulk of the ground forces still deployedile-wide band extending from southern Manchuria southward along the coast to the borders of Vietnam.

Considering its importance, the CCA probably has made less progress in modernization than might have been expected.


oel Cayler, tbe Director, National Security Agency; Mai. Gen. Joseph A. NfcChrisOan, the Assistant Chief of Staff for Intellisence. Department of tbe Army; Cap* WiBttn. N. Hatch, for the Assistant Chief of Navaleportment of tbe Navy; and BriB. Cen. Edward Ratkovtch, for tbe Assistant Chief of Staff, Intelligence. United States Air Force, also loin in this footnote.


addition, the army's involvement in internal affairs raises seriousconcerning the ability of its commanders to assemble divisions quickly and coordinate their activities effectively. This factor and equipment deficiencies make it appear that the Chinese Army is mucheady and eflective force than we previously judged it to be and less able than we had thought to engage in conventional combat against modern opposition. Even though military training has moved forward in the past year, it still seems probable that the Chinese might encounter considerable difficulty in quickly projecting large forces towardthreatened border areas or even of concentrating and maneuvering ground forces effectively within their own regional bases.'

Little effort seems to have been expended in developing more exoticfor the ground forces. Although the Chinese probably have the required skills and technology toactical ballistic missile, there is no information which indicates that the Chinese are working onystem. This being the case, it is unlikely that the Chinese couldactical missile much before the, if indeed they have current plans to developystem. Evenmall chemical warfare research program apparently exists, there is no evidence that China has committed important resources tohemical or biological warfare program Military training emphasizes the defensive aspects of chemical warfare.

Air ond Air Defense Forces

Lt Gen. Donald V. Bennett, the Director. Defense Intelligence Agency, does not believe that the PLA'i involvement in Internal affairs at thi. time it so great at to significantly degrade Its military effectiveness, as previously indicated inonsequently, the PLA's nor,-military activities, are notignificant impediment to the assemblage and coordlna-BPb ol large numbers of ground forces

infantry division* probably

are wriuimvbi Wctrrn standards and by the reouirerneot* of

thr.FTO&Es. In actual practice,delic.encie* would be mitigated to adecree by uV employment of civilian trarrtportstion brigades and the capabilities of the army's independent motor transportation regiments, units not covered in the studv.

Deficiencies in air transportation limrt China'* capabilities to effect rapid military buildup ir. remoteut in those area* when; China would most likely assemble Urge numbers ofand highway networks are adequate for the rapid execution of these buildups.

Vice Adm. Noel Cayler. the Director. National Security Agency; Mai. Cen. Josephthe Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence. Department of the ArmyN. Hat* for the Assistant Chief of Naval fjprtatwnikovlch, for the Assistant Chief of Staff. Intelligence.

United States Air Force, also join in this footnote.

ll elements of China's air defense apparently have been improved during the pastonths, and training activity probably increased somewhat during


production evidently has^iuffered little from the Culturalmore and better radan have been deployed at an uxseaiing rate,filling in high- and medium-attitude detection capabilities,China's northern border. It is probable thatroduction haifrom the Cultural Revolution andignificant number werethe operational twee last year. Although It may increase somewhat during

overall rate of SAM deployment has been very low.

Despite these improvements, the air defense system stillimited capability for detecting low-altitude penetrations. It Is also believed to suffererious communications and data processing deficiency. In the eventarge-scale air attack using ECM. this deficiency could be expected to severely degrade air situation reporting and fighter control. As the number of attacking aircraft increased, the system would rapidly become saturated and henceMoreover, it is likely thatew of then China haw an all-weather capability, and probably no more (banercent of China's total jet lighter force hasapability.ow iuper-ionic capability, but the handful of Mig-Sls received from the Soviet Union are the only aircraft with morearginal capability for engaging other aircraft in supersonic flight.

Moreover, we are increasingly uncertain about Chinese plans fortheut note that the Chinese have had eight yean now to study, copy, or make design modifications to theiven them by the Soviets. It would appear, therefore, that the Chinese either have experienced great difficulties In reproducing thishich appears to be the most likely case) or that they have decided to bypass then tbe hopes ofa more advanced interceptor of their own design. If the latter is the case, such an aircraft probably would not be available in quantity for at least five years.

There is some evidence that an aircraft of native design based on theas been produced in China. We are unable to predict whether such an aircraft might be used in an Interceptor or ground attack role, or possibly both. In any event if thisn production, we believe it will be several years before it could be available in substantial numbers.

We now believe that production of the Soviet designedet medium bomber began at the Yenliang Airframe Plantomeombers could have been produced by now. The production rate could increase gradually andevel ofonth bynitial operationalof this aircraft probably has begun. It is likely that the Chinese willtherimarilyelivery vehicle for nuclear weapons.

Although little Is known of the Chinese doctrine on AAA employment, theyizeable AAA force which has benefitted from combat experience in North Vietnam. This force seems to be deployed primarily in eastern China, extending from the North Korean border southward down the coast and along

the borders with countries In Southeast Asia. It is probably deployed in point defense and to protect selected target areas against attack The Chinese AAA force will probably gain in effectiveness with deployment of additional weapons and continued training.

AM units have been activated much more slowly than we expected and there arc now aboutnits in the field. Deployments averaged about four per year9 and the deployment pattern nowetter defenseew important strategic targets. Nevertheless, theorce will not add significantly to China's overall air defense capability for some time to come. SAMs and AAA if located together would maximize the effectiveness of these air defense weapon systems.

here has been no significant change in the tactical strike and air support capabilities ol the Chinese Communist Air Force for many years. IL-2Ss are still the only jet bombers which the Chinese have in any quantity) and tlieir few ground attack fighter divisions are equipped withurchases of transport aircraft from the USSR have only marginally improved the airlift and airborne assault capability, and any improvement over

the next few yean is likely to depend almost entirely on such purchases. The

Chinese probably haveimited capability for the employment of ECM

in support of offensive missions.

Novo! Forces

he composition, deployment, and operations of the Chinese Communist naval forces all indicate that their primary mission continues to be coastal defense. Although naval strength is increasing, the navy* is now capable only of providing adequate defense against small surface forces intruding into coastal waters. Its antisubmarine warfare (ASW) capability is minimal by modern standards and limited to areas adjacent to naval bases where surface ships are readily available. Virtually no priority has yet been given to improving the capabilities of the naval air force or to construction of ships which would improve China's very limited seagoing amphibious capability.

ith few exceptions, naval shipbuilding programs probably recovered fully9 from the Cultural Revolution Coastal patrol craft, including missile boats, arc being turned out al an increasing rate. Constructionlass submarines now average about twoear and an additional shipyard probably has begun submarine construction- Old destroyers received years ago from the I'SSR are being converted to carry cruise missiles China has also begun toew class of destroyer which may be basedodified design of the Soviet Kotlin Particularly in view oi the conversion of the older destroyers, we think it likely these new ships will also be equipped with cruise missiles. It appearsreater emphasis is now being placed on programs which will provide larger, longer range ships capable of extended patrols In addition, shipyard expansion currently under way indicates that the Chinese may be planning additional naval programs.

Chinese coastal defense cruise missile program has developedTwo SAMLET sites were constructed in thetof the entrance to the Po Hai Culf. No additional sites have beenand there is no evidence which indicates that this weapon has beenat any of the many coastal defense sites which have been observed Ittherefore, that the Chinese have been working on anodification of the styx cruise missile which they areproducing.


Combo' ftaodines! and Conobi'rfies

As indicated above, the Cultural Revolution degraded Chinese military capabilities in terms of readiness, morale and discipline. Tlje resumption of trainingore regular scale which we believe occurred Inerved to overcome some of these deficiencies. This progress shouldif the current mood of moderation in Peking persists dunng the montlis ahead. But the process of extricating the PLA, particularly the? army, from its involvement in non-military activities will be difficult and slow, especially since Peking continues to be beset by political problems and is making only very slow progress in rebuilding the party and in accomplishing other orgamcational reforms. Heightened tensions between China and the Soviet Union during the past year seem to have had some sobering influence on Peking, but not enough to jolt the Chinese leadership into any crash effort to improve the army's corn-bat readiness. Thus, though developments seem to be tending toward returning the entire PLAore normal footing, much of the tune and energy, at least of army personnel, is likely lo continue to be diverted by non military activity and political stress for the next few years-*

Projected production programs will not. for many years, provide sufficient quantities of the various types of weapons and equipment needed to remedy serious materiel deficiencies and to raise the PLA to modem combat standards As the process of modernization goes forward, the Chinese will face steeply rising economic costs. Not only "ill outlays for equipment increase, but as mote equipment reaches the field, operations and maintenance costs will go up. Furthermore, although industrial production seems to be recovering from the

' Lt Can Donald V. Bennett, trie Director, Defense Iritp||iir*nce Agency, believes that the resumption of8 has allowed sufficient cane to overcome most of the Cultural Revolution-inspired drfkwncm in readiness, moral* and trainoreover, it Is his opinion that the PLA'i nerrnal postureonsiderable expenditure of Hm* sod energyoon-mJiary actrvasri. butot expected re substantially unfair eootbat readiness in Os* future

Vice Adas. Noel Gavin, the Director. Nat-anal Security Agency:ast.cChnsnan. the Assistant Chief of Staff for latelbrence. Department of the Army, Capeatch, for the .Uisunl Chart of Navalalotiaenc*f the Navy, aad Brig On Edward Batlclch. for the Asaotaat Ciurf of Staff. luteJUgence. t'niied Stiles Air Force, also join in this footnote.

disruption inflicted by the Cultural Revolution, the prospects for vigorousand growth ate not bright. And as the Chinese attempt to move ahead with original "capons HAD there willurther stretching of scarce scientific and technical resources The army will continue to be deficient in firepower and mobility at leastor will China be able to develop within that time frame an air defense system that would be able to copeajor air attack Naval constructprograms, although they will preside more and better ships In the future, cannot soon be sufficient to alter the fuel that the navy has the capability only for coastal defense against small intruding surface forces and an ASW capabibty only in the vicinity of naval bases.

these important weaknesses andhe PLA hasdefensive capability. This strength together with the sheetChina's population and territory wouldround war against Chinaformidable proposition evenreat power. The PLA could easilysituation likely to arise on the Smo-Indian frontier or anything theunassisted, could mount against the mainland And. of course,could overrun their neighbors in Southeast Asia or Korea in aattack if not faced with oppositionodern outside it is demonstrating in Indochina and with its logistical preparationsChina, Peking Is In an excellent position to meddle in insurgenciessituations across its southern border.

Policy, Doctrine, and Sfcfegy

military programs and force dispositions continue to reflectconcern for defense. Even their emerging nuclear capabilityinto this generally defensive posture, when viewedeterrent againstenemy. Maoist military doctrine teaches respect for the enemyneed to avoid direct encounters with superior forces; this basicto guide Chinese military polices today.

olitical uncertainties in China and Sino-Soviet tension, however, greatly complicate the proc&ss of making judgments regarding future decisions in Peking on mllllkiy policy. One thing that seems almost certainthat the military sector will retain its high priority in the allocation of resources. But, as we indicated above, the Chineseong way to go in filling out and modcrniring the equipment of the general purpose and air defense forces, and only gradual improvement across the wide range of requirements will be possible Competition from strategic missile and nuclear weapon programs, which have the highest priority of all, adds lo Ihc problem.

ao. though he concedes the need for modern equipment and for develop ing military skills, is clearly more interested in the continuing politici/ation of the PLA and in using it as the exemplcr and instrument for bringing about the ideological remodeling he seeks for all of Chinese society Military professionals, on the other hand, are likely to be more concerned with correcting China'sweaknesses and dealing with China's many pressing practical problems.

While ii ii evident, thai ihe PLA hat enhanced its position for influencing national policy, the extent to which its representative* areexert this influence is not so clear. About all that can be said with much confidence is that the designing of policies and programs for building andodem,military establishment will be difficult as long as Mao is on the scene.

ino-Soviet antagonism should provide the PLAowerful argument for its case in general. It could also lead to revisions in Peking's set of militaryexample, improving the equipment and firepower of the ground forces might get more attention, while nasal programs might be curtailed. The chances ofhift might increase if Peking also saw the US as altering its stance in Asia. But this is only speculation, and it is equally possible that Peking, caught up in its own internal problems, does not yet see its way clearly for

The basic restraint and caution Peking seems to be showing in the face of the Soviet buddup on the border probablyoncern not to make military movementscale that might provoke or alarm the Soviets.ore important reason the Chinese have not made important ground forcein the border areas is simply that they areirtue of necessity, tbe Chinese do not intend to push their armies up to the border where the Soviet forces would have the shorter tnes of communications and could use their ira-mense superiority in firepower and mobility to the greatest advantage. In the caseoviet cross border probe, the Chinese probably would react with whatever forces were locally available, but would not be easily provoked into sending large reinforcements to the frontier. In the eventarge-scale invasion attempt by the USSR, Chinese strategy appears to call for harassing and delaying actions and even of puttingtrenuous defense of selected strategic areas. In the main, however, the Chinese still appear to be willing to give up territory if necessary and toaoist Peoples War deep in China

It should be stressed, however, that Chinese concerns and preparations are not focused only against the Soviets. Military forces, especially air. have been slrengthened in the southern border areas, and defensive positions have been constructed there and along China's coastline as well. Peking's propaganda tells the Chinese people to prepare against attack not only from (he USSR but also from the US.

status of forces and trends


umber ofnow considerably less about the doctrine, strategy, tactics, training, and capabilities of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) than we do about those o( die Soviet Armed Forces. We have had ampleto observe Soviet units in Eastern Europe and evaluate at first hand their activities, equipment levels, readiness posture, and so on. On occasion, it has even been possible to obverse military units active inside the USSR itself. Ihe Soviets have also conducted several large-scale military exercises wluch have enabled us toetter feeling for their overall capabilities and the application of their doctrine and strategy Conversely, the Chinese have made it extremely difficultoreigner to get anythinguperficial glimpse of the PLA. and there is little evidence from which to derive judgments relative to strategy, tactics, or actual combat capabilities.

The Soviet Union has permitted publicationarge amount of materia] dealing with military doctrine and strategy. China, on the enher hand, hasvery little on this sub|ect. In addition, there has been some penetration into high military' levels in Ihe Soviet Union and acquisition of documents such as the Penkovsky paper* have provided considerable information.

Finally, the Soviet Armed Forces, because theyreater threat to the US, have had first claim on US analyticalhorough analytical effort has only begun to be applied to Chinese ground force units and it will be some time before we- are as confidrnl ol our judgments about many aspects of the Chinese Communis Armys wc now are about similar aspects of the Rod Army.

The High Command

Ministry of National Defensender thecontrol ofAffairs Committee of the Party Central Committee, is the seniorThe chief staff components of the MND arc its three generalthe General Staff Department, the General Political Department,General Rear Services Department Most combat arms and services,Ihe air force, navy, armor, artillery, and selected supportingrepresented at the MND level by separate headquarters However,no separate headquarters for the infantry forces, which are apparentlydirectly by the MND

administrative purposes, mainland China is divided into militaryare divided into subordinate districts. The number of Militaryrecently been reduced fromorhe InnerRegion has been divided among tbe Shenyang. Peking, andThough the evidence is less clear, the Tibet Military Region maysubordinated to the Cbenztu Military Region. These are territorialoperational commands and in most cases conform to provincial boundaries;.


The main field command organization of the CCA. is the army, of which there arehere is nothing in the CCA analogous to the Soviet combined arms or tankypical Chinese army at full strength wouldnfantryrtillery- regiment,nti-aircraft artillery (AAA) regiment and would number0 In addition to units subordinate to armythereumber ol separate combat, combat service, and service support units assigned to the headquarters of military regions.

We estimate that at full strength the standard infantry division would number0 officers and men. Its principal combat elements wouldnfantryrtillery regimentank.,'assault gun regiment. In addition to the standard infantry division, the Chinese have Hgbt divisions for use in mountainous and other difficult terrain. These type units are similar to the standard division but do not have the tank/assault gun regiment, are equipped with lighter artillery, and have less organic vehicular transport.

Continuing analysis has strengthened our confidence that the CCA hasombat9 infantry,order defense/military internalrmored,t the regimental level however, analysis has always been more problematicalesult, we cannot estimate with high confidence the strength of the CCA. We beheve. however,igure of two and one-half million is probably accurate within plus orSee


Army . . 34



3 Cavalry

Combat Support

ield Artillery

Scrvac* Support

ailwayReccuraO i

X Infantryavalry

Combat Support Repmr-nti l>




Organic to Military Regionrmy


Service Support Brituneoti <

otorailway Fngirwr

* Subordinate to the CCAF. but for Use purpose of this paper included wfch the CCA.

' Tfcn5radual recreateeipectedesuh of verifying "arts already in ensteaec and kJeeti'iinj;Urn tied comber of newlyoei


Air Support and Airborne Attaull Capabilities

he Chinese have no separate tactical all command, and we have no udormabon coisceriirog PLA doctrine on the use off aircraftlose support role. At present any tactical strike or ground support mission would fallonr son the Chinese Communist Air Force (CCAF) and Chinese Communist Naval Air Forcend the few fighterin the CCAF, which have ground attack as their primary mission. The remainder of the operational lighter force is assigned to air defense, with ground attackecondary role.

Chinese barea an extremely limited airborne assault capability.linutarjoo on Ihe employment of Chinese airborne forces is theof the Chinese air transport fleet which consists largely of lighta few medium transports. The medium transportsrom the Soviet I'nlon, which are the only rear extractionthe Chinese inventory. Fiseolee light transports, purchasedUSSB constitute the only notable addition to the inventory in the last 2have no evidence that the Chinese are preparing toediumtransport. During peacetime anderiod of no moreays,daily totalirlift capability of thetransport force augmented byercent of the civil air fleet isbeully supplied and equipped troops. For supplies only,daily maximum isons. Similarly calculated, theft capability is estimated to be0 fully equippedtroopsons of supplies alone. It is unlikely, however, thatcapability could be achieved.

Air Force

CCAF exercises its administrative and operational controltactical air districtsimited number of air elements assignedHeadquarters CCAF. Although there is no "Air Defense Command- in the

Finn ii Mbid)

US or Soviettaff clement of CCAF Headquarters coordinates and controls all air defense operations, including those involving air control and warning. AAA, SAMs, and fighters supplied from the CCAF and CCNAF.

The CCAF and CCNAF. numberen and are equipped withircraft of whichre subordinate to the CCNAF. (See TABLE II for estimated numbers of military aircraft In operationalbe Urges! active operational unit in tbe CCAF is the Air Division, with each division consistingegiments

The present strength of the jet light bomber force is. The number ol sorties flown per month by the averageilot Is probably adequate to maintain proficiency. Moreover, the fact that many pilots have been flying these same aircraft for up toears would probably provide the bomber force with sufficient experience to conduct medium- or low-altitude bombing missions. At least half of the force is probably equipped for radar bombing.

The strength of the fighter force is estimated to have increased byircraft during the past IS months This increase is based upon continuing production of, The iorce sire will continue to increase as morere produced since the phasing out of the olderndrobably is proceeding slowly.egiments currently have aboutircraft per unit and fighter regiments aboutircraft.






... .




. .

Because ofoncerning therogram no projection made

Although information is limited, we estimate that no more thaner* cent of China's fighter force is equipped with uubome intercept equipment. The large majority of these are. The Soviets may have provided the Chineseimited number of heat-seekingype AAMs when they delivered thend the Chinese possibly are producing some of these missiles and perhaps bearn-nder missiles as well.

The extensive air surveillance and control network is comprised ofadar sites withadars.7 the deployment ol new radars (including some new models of Chinese design) has increased Qualita-five improvement ol China's air defense radar network probably will continue toigh priority.

Although radar deployment generally was widely dispersed,Suildup of new radars probably occurred in areas adjacent to the Sino-Soviet and Sino-Mongohan borders. The net effect of this buildup would be to provide considerably increased long-range high- and medium-altitude early warning and ground control intercept coverage in northern China Radarprobably was also increased about strategic areas throughout China Despite the recent improvements, China's air defence radar network continues to have significant weaknesses It apparently lacks an operational advanced datasystem and thus would have to rely upon manual morse and voiceLow altitude and surface search coverage remain far from adequate, and defense against electronic coiintermrasurc* still is hmitcd-

The anti-aircraft forces include aboutir force AAA divisionsrmy AAA divisions which arc more lightly gunned. These AAA divisions are operationally subordinate to the CCAF District Headquarters in the area in which they arc located. AAA defenses are distributed along the entire East Coast from Hainan Island to the Korean border, and heavy concentrations of AAA defend important coastal airfields opposite Taiwan. Other sigriificant AAAare located near the Xorth Vietnamese border Selected airfields, urban complexes, military installations, and production areas throughout China can also be expected to be defended by these weapons.

In addition to their conventional AAA, the Chineseimited SAM capability. The Chinese practice of moving units about makes it difficult to determine thef the force, but we believe there are aboutAM battalions currently in the Held. There should also be additional SAM equipment in RftD or training facilities. Production and deployment rates have remained low since the inception of the4 units per year. Whether the Chinese intend to step up the pace of SAM deployment depends in pan on their evalua-tioo of the present equipment. It is possible that they are working on further refinements or Improvements in the system. In any event, it seems likely that the SAM force will fall well shortnitsnd the air defense system will continue to rely primarily on fighter aircraft.

The emphasis in SAM deployment is believed to have shifted from anti-reconnaissance to defense of strategic targets Most of the new battalions de-

ployed7 have been added In key areas that already had some SAM protection. Nevertheless, some percentage of the SAM force will continue to be kept relatively mobile In an effort to interdict and deter aerial reconnaissance and the intrusion of other aircraft.


Administrative and operational control over the navaj forces is exercised through the headquarters of the Chinese Communist Navy (CCN) located in Peking. Orders from the Minister of Defense are passed to tbe nasy'sin chief via the General Staff. Three fleet area commands are directly subordinate to naval headquarters: the North Sea Fleet with headquarters in Tsingtao; the East Sea Fleet, with headquarters in Shanghai; and the South Sea Fleet, with headquarters In Chan-chiang (Fortmmediatelyto the three fleet headquarters are district and sector headquarters which are responsible for theu respective segments of the coastal area.

The CCN now Includesestroyer escorts, aboutydrofoil motor torpedo boats,uided missdo patrol boats andther patrol craft. Personnel strength is estimated aten, of which0 are in the naval air force {See TABLE III for estimated numbers of nasal combatants and support ships.)

ver the past year or so. the most significant changes in tbe composition of the Chinese naval forces have been the equipping of destroyers in the North Sea Fleet with missile launchers and the addition oflass submarines to the East Sea Fleet The South Sea Fleet was further strengthened by the additionourth iviangnan-class destroyer escort, but compared with the North and East Sea Fleets, it continues to be weak in patrol escorts and does not yet have any submarines. There is evidence, however, of continuing efforts to equalize fleet strengths, including the number of submarines assigned to each.

Construction and expansion of naval facilities and shipyards continues, especially in the East and South Sea Fleet areas.

The CCN sea lift capability remains negligible. Only about two plus infantryroops) or one infantry and one artilleryroops: could be transported at any given time and amphibious training receives little attention. In port-to-port operations, passenger ships of thefleet could deliver up0 troops. There arecean-going cargo ships, some of which probably could be employed in transporting troops or supplies. In addition. In operations where the use ofships and craft is feasible, tbe Chinese could employ literally thousands of junks for nans porting troops and light equipment The amphibious force is aging and replacement will soon be required if the present capability is to be maintained.

The CCNAF is predominantly an air defense farce. It includes at leastighter regimentsf aboutighters each, andet light bomber regimentsfoircraft each. Some

of therc usedeconnaissance role. Naval operational fighters are primarily assigned to air defense. Although administratively controlled by CCNAF headquarters at Peking through tlie fleet headquarters, in their air defense role fighter units are operationally controlled by the CCAF. The bombct regiments are used for patrol and bombing activities in coastal areas and are controlled by the fleet headquarters Atf theegimentsimited torpedo attack capability.




IVirxipal CcaibatanU

Guided Muni? Dwttvver (DDCS-SSM eeJy)

Escort (DE)


MissJe Sobmanw (SSB!




Escort <PF)

Chaser (PC)


Missile Patrol Boat (ITC/PTFC) . .


Cunboat (PCM/PCH)

. '

Boat (PT/PTH)




> .

Ships and Crmit



Ship (AK/AK1.) .

Carriers (AO/AOL/AW) .

Tug (ATA)



. 3


. rrprevrU nr.entualli be m


' Aboutorpedo boa Itinboab are equipped with hvHroloili

Original document.

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