Since 1949, China has issued nine national military strategies. By illuminating a state’s broader political objectives and how it plans to use force to achieve them, knowledge of military strategy plays an important role in understanding the dynamics of conflict among states. This project examines two related questions about the evolution of China’s military strategy. First, when and why has China pursued major change in its national military strategy? A major change in strategy occurs when a military prepares to wage war in a new way and is identified by shifts in operational doctrine, force structure, and training. Of the nine military strategies that China has issued since 1949, those in 1956, 1980, and 1993 constitute major changes. Second, what is the content of China’s current military strategy? China’s most recent military strategy was adopted in 2014, along with a significant reorganization of the People’s Liberation Army in 2016.
Past, Present and Future of China’s Military Strategy