Leadership: China Tries to Improve Officer Quality


November 4, 2005: China's leaders are seeking new leadership for their armed forces. The military is having a hard time recruiting (in a rapidly expanding economy) first rate officers, and many of those it does get are damaged goods. China's leaders know that, for centuries, Chinese military forces have tended to fall apart in peacetime, while continuing to appear effective. As China spends more money on its armed forces, the national leaders have been taking a closer look at what they are getting. The bosses are not happy with what they see.

Even the Chinese communists were not able to stamp out corruption in the military. Oh, the corrupt generals kept their heads down for a decade or so, but by the 1970s they were back in business. It's only gotten worse since then. And then there's the brutal competition for good officer material. There are plenty of good quality Chinese available to serve as troops (because of high unemployment at the bottom of the education scale) But when it comes to highly educated people, for officer jobs, there are far more economic opportunities to distract them. Few young men want to trade splendid career opportunities, in order to join the military. For many young, educated, Chinese, wearing a uniform is seen as a symbol of career failure.

Trying to turn all this around is going to be difficult. Moreover, it has to be handled carefully. You can't come right out and say, "our military is run by a bunch of losers, we need new guys who can do a better job." Instead, there is more money, and a not-subtle-promise that things will be different for a new, more capable, generation of officers. This is not likely to work, leaving China with lots of new weapons and equipment, and officers who are not able to make the most of it.


Article Archive

Leadership: Current 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close