Military-Civilian Fusion (MCF) has emerged as a key national strategy to advance the Chinese Communist Party’s (CPC) goal of enabling its People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to become “the most technologically advanced military.” in the world “.
Hailed by the Chinese government as the cornerstone of national renewal, MCF’s main objective remains the transfer of dual-use technologies. There are arguments about the extent of development of military-civil fusion and the institutional obstacles it faces. However, it cannot be denied that China is not too far from its objectives vis-Ã -vis the degree of military-civilian fusion and the consequent capabilities that have already been achieved and integrated.
After all, China’s military and technological capabilities have surpassed most predictions over the past two decades.
Character of its military-civil merger
While at first glance, the Chinese MCF appears to be a concept corresponding to American civil-military integration, in reality this concept is much more complex. Moreover, it has been around since the time of Chairman Mao. Subsequently, from the early 1980s to 2017, the Chinese government made several attempts at military-civilian integration.
The main problem during these early undertakings was the inability of the civil and military authorities to formulate and implement a development strategy specific to military-civil integration. Therefore, it is not surprising that under Xi Jinping, China is trying to turn the page on military-civilian integration by developing a comprehensive MCF strategy with the aim of bringing technological advantages from all fields to the country. APL. The program goes so far as to compel the Chinese commercial and civilian sectors to help and support the PLA.
The Chinese MCF is working to fundamentally transform civilian research into military applications. A key element is the removal of barriers between civilian research and the military and defense industrial sectors, as well as work to blur their borders. Ultimately, the objective is to increase the connectivity of defense and commercial developments and applications in China.
The CPC actively implements this strategy, not only through its own research and development, but also by acquiring and diverting advanced technologies from the world. To this end, he uses all available means, including reverse engineering, espionage and theft, in order to achieve military domination. Beijing specifically seeks to harness the inherent dual-use nature of many technologies that have both military and civilian applications.
Xi Jinping is personally overseeing the implementation of the strategy as chairman of the Central Commission for the Development of Civil-Military Fusion. Interestingly, in March 2015, Xi elevated military-civilian fusion to a national strategy. Subsequently, in July 2016, the Chinese government released its Integrated development plan for economic construction and national defense, which provides clear direction for:
â¢ strengthen operational capacities; and
â¢ accelerate the formation of a new situation in which the Party, the government, the army, the police and the people work together to secure the borders.
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China’s long-term vision
As each successive five-year plan determines Beijing’s strategic goals, the last 14 and ongoinge The five-year plan (2021-2025) aims to deepen the military-civil fusion.
The 14the The FYP provides for the mobilization of military and civilian resources for defense, for both internal and external use, with civilian entities across China actively involved in supporting the military and defense apparatus. Earlier, in a statement issued in October 2020 by the CPC Central Committee, there were numerous references to the need to deepen and expand synergies between commercial and military technologies that would prove essential to advance the capabilities of the Chinese PLA. It is a strategy that has come to be officially called âcivil-military fusionâ.
It should be emphasized here that China’s MCF is a continuing political decision of the 13e Special five-year plan for the development of military-civilian integration which was presented in September 2017.
Overall, the MCF is an essential part of the national framework and the resulting strategy for the CPC to advance its regional and global territorial ambitions. The MCF aims to pave the way for China’s transition to the ability to wage intelligent and informational warfare as it develops relevant military capabilities.
In pursuit of a revisionist territorial agenda, Xi Jinping clearly seeks to integrate a political system within which all possible strengths can be integrated into the leadership of the Communist Party.
Beijing is likely to implement a merger of many military and civilian strategies as the centrality of China’s military-civilian merger strategy intensifies. It will seek to do so in a way that builds capacities that specifically respond to its national strategic priorities for the 21st century – more importantly, national rejuvenation, territorial expansion and the extension of Beijing’s sphere of influence across Asia.
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Pushing political force
Politically, Xi Jinping entered 2021, the CCP’s centenary year, with greater military stealth and a push across the Indo-Pacific. He appears all the more determined today as he kicks off the 2022 fall campaign, which will see him run for an unprecedented third term as CPC General Secretary and CMC Chairman.
The MCF is interpreted as a war cry by the CCP to be combat-ready in 2022 and beyond – an appeal the Party made soon after it came to power in mainland China in 1949. Make the PLA an army world class by 2049 remains the main objective. To this end, the developing land realities of China’s activities and aggravations in the border regions of the Himalayas, the South China Sea and the East China Sea are increasingly determined by a military-civilian merger of military, economic and political stealth.
Author: Dr Monika Chansoria
Dr Monika Chansoria is a Principal Investigator at the Japanese Institute of International Affairs in Tokyo. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the JIIA or any other organization with which the author is affiliated. she tweets @MonikaChansoria. Find more articles from Dr Chansoria here to JAPAN Before.