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Central Military Commission
2004/10/27

The Central Military Commission (CMC) is the highest military leading organ of the PRC. It directs the armed forces of the country.

The chairman of the CMC is elected by the NPC, and the choice of other members is decided on by the NPC or its Standing Committee according to the nomination by the chairman of the CMC. The CMC chairman assumes overall responsibility for the work of the CMC and is responsible to the NPC and has the power to make final decisions on matters within the functions and powers of the CMC.

The armed forces of the PRC are composed of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), both the active and reserve components, the Chinese People's Armed Police Force and the militia. The CMC of the PRC directs and assumes unified command of the nation's armed forces. The Ministry of National Defense under the State Council directs and administers national defense work.

The active components of the PLA are the country's standing army, which mainly undertakes the task of defensive military operations and helps maintain social order, if necessary, in accordance with the law. Its basic organizational structures can be categorized into the general headquarters/departments, the services and arms and the military area commands.

–The general headquarters/ departments. The PLA's general headquarters/departments system is composed of the General Staff Headquarters, the General Political Department, the General Logistics Department and the General Armaments Department, which are placed under the leadership of the CMC. The CMC, through these four general headquarters/ departments, directs all the military area commands and the services and arms. The routine work of the Ministry of National Defense is handled respectively by these four general headquarters/departments.

–The services and arms. The PLA is composed of three services–the Army, Navy and Air Force–and an independent arm, the Second Artillery Force.

–The military area commands. The military area commands (theaters of war) of the PLA are military organizations set up according to the State's administrative divisions, geographical locations, strategic and operational orientations, and operational tasks. Currently, the PLA has seven military area commands, namely, Shenyang, Beijing, Lanzhou, Jinan, Nanjing, Guangzhou and Chengdu.

The PLA has the Academy of Military Sciences (AMS), the National Defense University (NDU), and the National University of Defense Technology (NUDT). The AMS is the PLA's highest-level research institute and center of military sciences. The NDU is mainly responsible for the education and training of senior commanding and staff officers and researchers. The NUDT is mainly responsible for the education and training of senior scientists and engineers, and specialized commanding officers.

The PLA's reserve force is a force with its present organizational structure with the reserve personnel as the base and active personnel as the backbone. The reserve force, which is incorporated into the PLA's order of battle, receives military training in peacetime according to relevant regulations, and helps maintain social order, if necessary, in accordance with the law. In wartime, it may be called into active service in pursuance of a State mobilization order.

The Chinese People's Armed Police Force undertakes the task of maintenance of security entrusted by the State. It is under the dual leadership of the State Council and the CMC, and consists of internal security forces, and gold mine, forest, water and power, and transportation security forces.

The militia is a component of the State's armed forces. The militiamen and women, under the command of military organs, perform combat readiness support and defensive operations, and help maintain social order.

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