China’s military strategy for a ‘new era’ | 2022 | Publications

China’s military strategy for a ‘new era’: Some change, more continuity, and tantalizing hints

M. Taylor Fravel (with Joel Wuthnow)

Journal of Strategic Studies, March 2022



In 2019, China’s Central Military Commission adopted a new strategy for the People’s Liberation Army, titled the ‘military strategic guidelines for the new era.’ This was consistent with the past but framed by Xi’s political consolidation, growing threats from the United States and Taiwan, and a new military structure. This article documents the strategy and asks what would drive a more fundamental adjustment. It concludes that the strategy reflected a determination to focus the PLA on the necessary and the achievable, but a new direction could be influenced by changes in the strategic landscape, rapid modernization, or new operational concepts.