CSR 2019: Organizational Reform as a Key Driver of Chinese Military Science and Technology Innovation

By Brian Hart

Since Xi Jinping rose to power in November 2012, he and the top leadership of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) have initiated significant reforms to all three pillars of the Chinese polity: the party, military, and government. Some of the most sweeping reforms are taking place within the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). At the Third Plenum of the 18th Central Committee in November 2013, the CCP announced a sweeping reform plan, which made clear that reforms to the PLA were needed.[i] However, the full details of specific PLA reforms were not announced until January 1, 2016 with the release of “Central Military Commission Opinions on Deepening the Reform of National Defense and the Armed Forces.”[ii] The most important reforms of the “CMC Opinions” include the restructuring of offices under the Central Military Commission (CMC); the reorganization of seven military regions into five new theater commands; and service reforms, including the elevation of the Second Artillery Force to a full-fledged service known as the PLA Rocket Force, and the creation of an entirely new service, the Strategic Support Force. Through these organizational reforms, and a number of other defense-related organizational reforms, Xi Jinping has instituted the most sweeping changes to PLA and national defense organizations since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.[iii]

These reforms have been a major focus of many recent studies of the PLA; however, most of the attention of these studies has focused on their impacts on “jointness” between PLA services and tightening political control over the PLA — especially with respect to Xi Jinping’s strengthened leadership over the command and control structure.[iv] While these two impacts of the reforms are undoubtedly critical to the present and future of the PLA, there is a lack of focus on another critical impact of the reforms: their contribution to China’s efforts to promote military innovation. As such, the purpose of this paper is to provide details on three newly created groups within the CCP and PLA, and consider their respective roles in promoting Chinese military technology innovation. The three groups in question are the Central Commission for Integrated Military and Civilian Development, the CMC Science and Technology Commission, and the Military Science Research Steering Committee. In order to better understand these organizational reforms, this paper places them within the broader history and contemporary context of China’s efforts to become a science and technology superpower (keji qiangguo 科技强国), considers their potential impact on military innovation, and discusses their relevance to U.S. interests.

China’s Innovation Drive in Context

Before discussing the specific details of the newly created and reformed organizations in question, it is important to understand the context behind China’s push for military innovation, as well as the need for organizational reform. Since the early years of the People’s Republic of China, Chinese leaders have made the development of its “strategic innovation system” a priority. Tai Ming Cheung defines a strategic innovation system (SIS) as encompassing “a national network of organizations that interactively pursue science, technology, and innovation-related activities to further the development of a country’s national security interests and capabilities, especially related to strategic, defense and dual-use civil-military activities.”[v] Cheung says that since the 1950s, Chinese leaders have pursued a state-dominated “techno-nationalist” approach to developing China’s SIS, with varying degrees of intensity and priority depending on the nature of China’s external strategic environment.[vi]

China’s techno-nationalist roots date back to the 1950s and the early years of the People’s Republic, when foreign threats led Chairman Mao Zedong to conclude that China could not depend on foreign technologies for its security.[vii] But China’s current drive to develop its SIS and promote dual-use science and technology (S&T) innovation can be traced back to the late 1990s. At that time, Chinese leaders perceived a marked shift in China’s external security environment as a result of three major developments: a global revolution in military affairs demonstrated by U.S. technological dominance in the Gulf War; renewed cross-strait tensions with Taiwan during the Third Taiwan Strait Crisis; and the 1999 U.S. bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade.[viii] Following these developments, the incoming Hu Jintao administration initiated the drafting of the “The National Medium- and Long-Term Program [MLP] for Science and Technology Development (2006-2020),” promulgated in 2006.  The MLP emphasized the importance of improving China’s capacity for “indigenous innovation” (zizhu chuangxin 自主创新).[ix] A core feature of the MLP was its focus on developing strategically important dual-use technologies, which are technologies that have both civilian and military applications. The MLP marked a renewed emphasis on the techno-nationalist approach, but with a distinctly commercial nature that was markedly different from historically military-dominated techno-nationalist approaches.[x]

Since the release of the MLP in 2006, China has also released a number of other plans that seek to promote S&T innovation, most notably the Made in China (MIC) 2025 Plan and the “Next Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan.” These documents detail China’s plans to fund and support world-leading S&T innovations. Both documents also emphasize the importance of dual-use technologies and military-civil fusion (discussed below).[xi] Taken together, the issuance of the MLP, Made in China 2025, and the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Development Plan over the past several years signifies China’s serious commitment to promoting military S&T innovation. And the data show that Beijing is backing up these places with serious money. Government funding for Chinese R&D has increased from just $3.1 billion in 1997 to an estimated $40 billion in 2013, with roughly $5 to $7 billion of that dedicated to defense-related R&D.[xii] By 2016, the Chinese government was spending (in nominal terms) $70.8 billion on R&D, with much of this helping to produce dual-use technologies like the Tiangong-2 space station and the world’s first quantum satellite, called “Micius.”[xiii]

Thus, unlike decades ago, access to funding is no longer the primary weakness in developing China’s strategic innovation system and industrial base. Instead, the major problem is weak institutional support and coordination. In 2014, Zhang Youxia, former head of the CMC General Armaments Department and current second-ranked vice chairman of the CMC, made clear that bottlenecking problems in weapons development are no longer due to lack of funding, but instead, “institutional systems and mechanisms have become the greatest hurdle.”[xiv] These problems have historical roots. Following the establishment of the People’s Republic in 1949, China imported the Soviet approach to defense industrialization, bringing with it all of the bureaucratic and institutional weaknesses of the Soviet’s top-down style. China’s institutions tend to be overly segmented and stratified. The resulting compartmentalization requires coordinating committees and agencies that are often inefficient and prone to bargaining, which creates significant challenges to coordination and development.[xv] And as China’s military and national security interests have expanded, so too have its organizational challenges, heightening the need for reform.

New Key Organizational Drivers of Innovation

China’s political and military leadership appear to be placing a high priority on military innovation. But policy guidance and heavy government funding can only do so much; without needed organizational reforms, inefficiencies and coordination problems will persist. A number of recent organizational reforms suggest that the CCP and PLA understand this. In recent years, they have made organizational reforms a key component of their efforts to strengthen China’s strategic innovation system and promote military innovation. What follows is a discussion of the three most important relevant organizational reforms that have taken place over the past few years. Because these reforms are so recent — and to some extent ongoing — it is not yet possible to do any post facto analysis of their impact on improving efficiency. As such, the discussion below seeks only to trace recent reforms, place them in the larger context of China’s military innovation efforts, and analyze what impacts they may have. In the future, further study will need to be undertaken in order to determine what actual impact they have on improving military innovation.

The Central Commission for Integrated Military and Civilian Development

The most import organization driving Chinese military S&D innovation is the Central Commission for Integrated Military and Civilian Development (zhongyang junmin ronghe fazhan weiyuanhui 中央军民融合发展委员会), which was established in January 2017. The Civil-Military Integration (CMI) Commission is the most important group for a number of reasons. Unlike the other groups studied in this paper, the commission is set up under the CCP’s Politburo and its Standing Committee — rather than under the PLA. Perhaps more importantly, the group is chaired by Xi Jinping himself, giving it the highest level of influence and authority.[xvi]Additionally, Wang Huning and Han Zheng — both members of the party’s Politburo Standing Committee — serve as vice chairs of the commission.[xvii] As will be shown, the importance and effectiveness of the CMI Commission is largely based on the rank and influence of its members.

The purpose of the CMI Commission is to serve as the central-level decision-making and deliberative coordinating body on major issues relating to the development of military-civil fusion (junmin ronghe 军民融合, MCF), and to unify the CCP’s leadership over MCF’s in-depth development.[xviii] MCF is a process that seeks to combine defense and civilian industrial bases to support both military and commercial demands, and also promote greater integration of civilian and military resources to support military operations.[xix] Some analysts argue that CMI and MCF are distinct in that MCF is a Chinese-specific concept going beyond broader conceptions of CMI.[xx] Because of this, this paper uses the term MCF, except when referring to the CMI Commission, which official English translations refer to as the Central Commission for Integrated Military and Civilian Development.

Military-civil fusion has long been a goal for China. It was first raised as an official concept in 2009 by Hu Jintao and elevated to a national strategy by Xi Jinping at the Third Plenum in 2013.[xxi] In recent years, it has become an increasingly important effort cross-cutting the party, PLA, and government. The efforts towards MCF make sense given China’s growing emphasis on the role of information in warfare in its most recent military strategy.[xxii] Brian Lafferty, Aaron Shraberg, and Morgan Clemens provide a helpful explanation for why MCF is an increasing priority for China and Xi Jinping:

Modern information-based warfare has made the development and deployment of new, breakthrough technologies imperative to a country’s ability to stay ahead, necessitating a long-term focus on the pursuit of technological superiority. In addition, the pace of modern technological change has dramatically increased, such that lagging development of advanced S&T capabilities can have progressively dire effects on a country’s security. Cutting-edge technology, meanwhile, is increasingly compatible with both civilian and military applications, enabling civilian-use technologies to be adapted or directly transferred to military use.[xxiii]

Some Chinese analysts predict that as much as 85 percent of current technologies have civil-military dual use applications, providing a significant opportunity to successfully employ MCF as a driving force for national economic, industrial, and technological development.[xxiv]

But in order to make MCF work, China’s leaders have known for years that it will require organizational reforms. In 2010, the State Council and CMC jointly promulgated “Document 37,” which sought to create a strategic framework for MCF policy related to science and technology development. “Document 37” lists six broad areas of MCF work needing improvement, two of which relate to inadequate coordinating mechanisms and the need to deepen reform of institutional mechanisms.[xxv] These institutional and organizational weaknesses reflect the coordination problems within China’s strategic innovation system discussed earlier.

They also reflect the broader coordination efforts that have long plagued Chinese policymakers in all areas of policy. Despite its authoritarian nature, the Chinese system is too large to be centrally run; thus, governance is significantly “fragmented,” with decision-makers at all levels fighting for influence over the policymaking process.[xxvi] To mitigate the negative impacts of this fragmentation, Chinese leaders employ a number institutional and organizational tools to increase coordination and increase efficiency. David Lampton refers to these as “cross-system integrators,” and lists “leading small groups” and committees as examples.[xxvii] These organizations allow leaders to settle disputes, which are kicked up the hierarchy from lower levels, and they also provide leaders with permanent staff and resources to address related issues.[xxviii]

The CMI Commission is a perfect example of a “cross-system integrator.” And as previously mentioned, the fact that it is a party — not government — commission, led by Xi Jinping and two other Politburo Standing Committee members, suggests that it will likely be successful in this role. Coordination committees can sometimes be weak and risk-averse, creating additional bottlenecks and policy paralysis.[xxix] But with the highest levels of authority leading this commission, it is unlikely to suffer from these problems. Instead, it seems poised to successfully drive military innovation and guide overall MCF coordination and development.

The CMC Science and Technology Commission

The second-most important organization considered in this study is the Science and Technology Commission of the Central Military Commission (中央军委科学技术委员会), which has historically served as the PLA’s nexus of civil-military cooperation on defense technological issues. The commission is a focus of this study because it was reformed and upgraded as part of the sweeping PLA organizational reforms announced in January 2016.[xxx] Previously, there were four departments directly set up under the CMC: The General Staff Department, General Political Department, General Logistics Department, and General Armaments Department. Under this setup, the CMC’s S&T Commission was not directly under the CMC, but was set up at a lower level within the General Armaments Department (总装备部, GAD), which was the PLA’s chief organ in charge of performing research, development, testing, and evaluation of armaments; overseeing procurement management; and overseeing information systems building for the PLA.[xxxi]

Under the new CMC setup, the GAD was renamed the Equipment Development Department (zhuangbei fazhan 装备发展部, EDD) and the S&T Commission was spun off to become one of the 15 new organs directly under the CMC. This puts the S&T Commission on an equal administrative rank as the EDD and the other organs under the CMC. According to Wuthrow and Saunders, “The commission will continue to be responsible for guiding and advising PLA leadership on weapons development and serving as a nexus for collaboration between the armed forces and defense industry.”[xxxii] The specific details of the division of labor between the EDD and S&T Commission does not appear to be known yet, but their respective names suggest that the EDD will focus on maintenance and administration of China’s procurement system, while the commission will be the PLA’s internal driver of S&T innovation and military-civil fusion.

And based on the commission’s leadership, it appears to be poised for success. The director of the commission is Liu Guozhi (刘国治), who previously led the commission when it was set up within the GAD. Liu is a technical expert, not a career bureaucrat. He graduated from Tsinghua University, one of China’s top schools, and led a career through the PLA’s weapons development system. He was previously a physicist working on high-power microwave weapons at the Northwest Nuclear Technology Institute (xibei hejishu yanjiuyuan西北核技术研究所), a key lab in charge of Chinese nuclear weapons research and the development of other high-power technologies.[xxxiii] Liu’s background indicates that the commission will be led by someone with technical knowledge and a deep understanding of China’s strategic innovation system. Additionally, at the 19th Party Congress in 2017, Liu became a member of the CCP’s central committee, making him one of the highest-ranking political leaders in China. Taken together, Liu’s technical background and political status suggest the S&T Commission is poised to play an important role in strengthening military innovation.

Overall, the upgrading of the S&T Commission from an organ under the GAD to a commission directly responsible to the CMC reflects the high priority that the PLA leadership places on military S&T innovation.[xxxiv] And the selection of Liu Guozhi as head of the commission shows their commitment to providing the necessary organizational authority to — in theory — effectively drive innovation. In the same way that the party’s CMI Commission was set up to overcome structural bureaucratic issues and facilitate better coordination, the upgraded CMC S&T Commission should provide the PLA with enhanced organizational capacity to innovate and develop its strategic innovation system.

The Military Science Research Steering Committee

The third and final organization considered in detail is the secretive Military Science Research Steering Committee (junshi kexue yanjiu zhidao weiyuanhui 军事科学研究指导委员会), a new agency that reports directly to the CMC. However, the details of this setup are unclear, as it is not one or the 15 administrative organs under the CMC. Instead, reports suggest that the committee will report directly to the CMC in a separate manner, providing a “consultative role,” while the other 15 CMC organs handle the funding and implementation of projects.[xxxv] This organization was secretly created in early 2017 and announced publicly in July 2017 in a CCTV documentary entitled “Carrying Reform Through to the End” (《jiang gaige jinxing daodi 将改革进行到底》).[xxxvi] Few details about the agency have been made public, but reports suggest that it is envisioned as a Chinese version of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), an American defense agency set up in 1958 to drive technological innovation for the U.S. military.[xxxvii] DARPA is famous for producing some of the world’s most important technological innovations, such as the Internet, which have applications outside of traditional defense applications. If this agency is indeed similar to DARPA, it will likely focus on driving the development of advanced technologies that have both military and commercial applications, further supporting China’s efforts towards military-civil fusion.[xxxviii]

One technology that the agency may focus on is Artificial Intelligence (AI). The promulgation of China’s previously mentioned “Next Generation AI Development Plan” demonstrates the high priority that Chinese political and military leaders place on the development of AI. The PLA acknowledges that the incorporation of AI into weapons and military technology is likely to radically transform the nature of combat and national defense. Military writing on AI makes clear that the PLA is committed to the idea that incorporating AI into the military will allow the PLA to be smaller, more efficient, and more effective. [xxxix] And, AI will, of course, also have huge non-military commercial applications. In fact, an expert at the Chinese Academy of Engineering has said that AI will be the most important dual-use technology of the next several decades.[xl] If the Military Science Research Steering Committee does, in fact, serve a similar function to DARPA, it seems very likely that it will focus heavily on the development of AI technologies.

In terms of organizational reforms, the Military Science Research Steering Committee seems to be markedly different from the two previously discussed groups, which were created in order to comprehensively oversee and coordinate defense innovation bureaucracies. As a party group, the CMI Commission is tasked with overseeing overall national MCF coordination, and the CMC’s newly upgraded S&T Commission is set up to oversee high-level MCF coordination from within the PLA. This new agency, however, will likely focus less on bureaucratic coordination and more on strategic technology guidance. That is, it will likely be focused on designating key military technologies, identifying new technology innovators in the commercial sector, and connecting these nascent technologies to the PLA’s defense innovation network.[xli] In this way, the new agency will help to drive bottom-up technological innovation for the defense sector.

In short, these three organizations serve a variety of roles and represent significant advances in China’s capacity to innovate. The party’s new CMI Commission, with Xi Jinping as its leader, will have the power to more successfully coordinate overall national MCF efforts, removing key bureaucratic coordination weaknesses identified by China in 2010. The CMC’s newly promoted S&T Commission will solve some of the same bureaucratic and coordination issues within the PLA. And the new Military Science Research Steering Committee will play a new role in identifying early-stage technologies for the PLA, driving bottom-up military innovation in a system that has historically been heavily top-down.

But much is still unknown about these groups, the latter two in particular. As new information becomes publicly available, future research should seek to find out more about their specific roles, how they interact with each other, and whether or not they appear to be successful at improving coordination and promoting military innovation. In particular, more information is needed regarding the specific role of the Military Science Research Steering Committee. Because of its likely bottom-up focus, this agency seems poised to play a unique role in military innovation.

Additional Groups for Future Consideration

These three organizations are not the only organizations playing a role in military S&T innovation within China’s massive party-state-military apparatus. They were chosen for this study because they represent the three most significant developments in recent years. But other organizations are worth mentioning here as well, and warrant further study.

First, the CMC’s newly reformed Equipment Development Department (briefly mentioned above) plays an important role in the PLA’s weapons research, development, and procurement. It was not included in the limited scope of this study because the functions of its predecessor, the General Armaments Department, were largely retained through the 2016 reforms. The spin-off and promotion of the CMC Science and Technology Commission thus represented a more significant development in overall organizational reform with regards to S&T innovation. However, as the PLA continues to implement the 2016 reforms, new developments relating to the EDD should be studied further.

Second, this study did not focus on two important government organizations that play a role in China’s military S&T innovation, but they too are worth mentioning here. The State Administration for Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (SASTIND), situated within the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, has played a role in developing and managing China’s defense industrial base. However, since its creation as part of a State Council reorganization in 2008, the SASTIND has become less important as other organizations like the EDD have taken on a greater role.[xlii] Last, the National Science and Technology Leading Group plays a key role in coordinating numerous government ministries and agencies in devising national S&T strategies and policies.[xliii] The group, which is led by Premier Li Keqiang, recently removed “Education” from its name, reflecting an increased focus on S&T development. Given that Liu Guozhi, Chairman of the CMC Science and Technology Commission, is a member of this government leading group, it is likely that the group will play some role in promoting military S&T development.[xliv] However, it was not a focus of this study because military innovation will only be a part of its larger focus.

Conclusions and Broader Implications

China’s capacity to innovate has long been an important priority for its leaders, and through heavy government funding and policy support, China appears to be making some progress in this area. A 2017 report by Scott Kennedy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies concludes that, “Whether one looks at China in isolation or puts the country in comparative perspective, China’s innovation performance has gradually improved over the last decade along a number of indicators.”[xlv] While significant problems remain for China’s innovation efforts, Xi Jinping’s organizational reforms, which span party, military, and government, seem poised to aid China in pursuing its S&T development goals. Xi and the rest of the CCP leadership seem committed to embracing the “techno-nationalist” mold for developing China’s civilian and military tech industries, and they are undertaking the necessary policy and organizational reforms to achieve their goals.

But China’s S&T innovation efforts do not exist within a vacuum: they are already having an impact on U.S.-China relations. In the past several years — especially during the presidency of Donald Trump — strategic and economic competition between the United States and China has increased significantly, with science and technology competition emerging as one of the greatest sources of tension between the two countries. In the United States, leaders worry that China’s innovation efforts are rapidly chipping away at America’s existing technological edge, especially in defense-related areas. For example, a September 2018 report by the U.S. government called for the U.S. to take serious action to rebuild its defense industrial base. China’s defense industrial base, and the challenges it poses to the U.S., were major themes of the report.[xlvi] Such discussions about long-term efforts to rebuild the U.S. defense industrial base come as the Trump administration is also taking aggressive action against China in the near-term to thwart Chinese technology innovation. In April 2018, the U.S. Commerce Department placed an export ban on Chinese telecom giant ZTE, temporarily crippling the company and making clear China’s serious vulnerabilities to its leaders.[xlvii] Months later in October 2018, the U.S. Justice Department accused Chinese chipmaker Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co. of stealing American technology, and the Commerce Department banned the company from purchasing chip components from U.S. firms.[xlviii]

These episodes demonstrate how critical science and technology will be for both countries going forward. If U.S.-China competition continues to increase, both countries will likely double down on their efforts to innovate. China, over the past few years, seems to be already doing this. Xi Jinping’s organizational reforms appear to have established stronger and more diverse organizational support for its strategic innovation system, which will likely provide future innovation dividends. But this approach is heavily state-driven. The U.S. system is markedly different: it owes its existing innovative edge to a market economy — albeit with some government support. But to compete with China in the realm of S&T innovation, the U.S. government will need to find ways to maximize its innovative strengths. President Trump’s recent executive order on AI, along with the U.S. Defense Department’s AI strategy appear aimed at doing just this.[xlix] But U.S.-China technological competition is still in the early stages. In the twenty-first century, long-term competition between the United States and China may hinge on which country can successfully win the innovation race and lead in the technologies of the future. China clearly recognizes this fact, and is acting to shore up its strengths. If the United States wants to maintain its edge and compete successfully with China, it must do the same.


[i] “Communiqué of the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China [中国共产党第十八届中央委员会第三次全体会议公报]中国共产党第十八届中央委员会第三次全体会议公报],” People’s Online, November 12, 2013, http://cpc.people.com.cn/n/2013/1112/c64094-23519137.html.

[ii] “Central Military Commission Opinions on Deepening the Reform of National Defense and the Armed Forces [中央军委关于深化国防和军队改革的意见],” Xinhua, January 1, 2016, http://www.xinhuanet.com/mil/2016-01/01/c_1117646695.htm.

[iii] Joel Wuthnow and Phillip C. Saunders, Chinese Military Reforms in the Age of Xi Jinping: Drivers, Challenges, and Implications (Washington, DC: National Defense University Press, 2017), 4.

[iv] Phillip C. Saunders and Joel Wuthnow, “China’s Goldwater Nichols? Assessing PLA Organizational Reforms,” Strategic Forum, no. 294 (2016): 5-8, http://ndupress.ndu.edu/Portals/68/Documents/stratforum/SF-294.pdf; Joel Wuthnow and Phillip C. Saunders, “From Green to Purple: Can the Chinese Military Become More Joint?” War on the Rocks, March 30, 2017, https://warontherocks.com/2017/03/from-green-to-purple-can-the-chinese-military-become-more-joint/; James Mulvenon, “The Cult of Xi and the Rise of the CMC Chairman Responsibility System,” China Leadership Monitor, No. 55 (2018), https://www.hoover.org/sites/default/files/research/docs/clm55-jm-final.pdf.

[v] Tai Ming Cheung, “Continuity and Change in China’s Strategic Innovation System,” Issues and Studies 51, no. 2 (2015): 141-2.

[vi] Ibid, 143.

[vii] Evan A. Feigenbaum, “The Deep Roots and Long Branches of Chinese Technonationalism,” Macro Polo, August 12, 2017, https://macropolo.org/deep-roots-long-branches-chinese-technonationalism/.

[viii] Cheung, “Continuity and Change in China’s Strategic Innovation System,” 151-2.

[ix] “The National Medium- and Long-Term Program for Science and Technology Development (2006- 2020) [国家中长期科学和技术发展规划纲要 (2006—2020年)],” Central People’s Government of the People’s Republic of China, January 9, 2016, http://www.gov.cn/jrzg/2006-02/09/content_183787.htm.

[x] Cheung, “Continuity and Change in China’s Strategic Innovation System,”158.

[xi] “State Council Notice on the Issuance of ‘Made in China 2025’ [国务院关于印发《中国制造2025》的通知],” Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, June 19, 2015, http://www.miit.gov.cn/n973401/n1234620/n1234622/c4409653/content.html; “State Council Notice on the Issuance of the Next Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan [国务院关于印发新一代人工智能发展规划的通知],” Central People’s Government of the People’s Republic of China, July 20, 2017, http://www.gov.cn/zhengce/content/2017-07/20/content_5211996.htm. For an English translation of the AI Plan, see “A Next Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan,” China Copyright and Media, translated by Graham Webster, Paul Triolo, Elsa Kania, and Rogier Creemers, July 20, 2017, https://chinacopyrightandmedia.wordpress.com/2017/07/20/a-next-generation-artificial-intelligence-development-plan/.

[xii]Richard A. Britzinger and Michael Raska, “Chapter 5: Capacity for Innovation: Technological Drivers of China’s Future Military Modernization,” in The Chinese People’s Liberation Army in 2025, ed. Roy Kamphausen and David Lai (Carlisle Barracks, PA: United States Army War College Press, 2015), 145.

[xiii] “Is China a Global Leader in Research and Development?,” China Power, accessed March 28, 2019, https://chinapower.csis.org/china-research-and-development-rnd/.

[xiv] Chase et al, China’s Incomplete Military Transformation: Assessing the Weaknesses of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) (Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2015), 127.

[xv] Ibid, 128.

[xvi] “Central Commission for Integrated Military and Civilian Development Is Established, Xi Jinping Appointed Chairman [中央军民融合发展委员会成立 习近平任主任],” PLA Daily, January 22, 2017, http://jz.81.cn/n2014/tp/content_7462794.htm.

[xvii] “Xi Presides Over the Second Meeting of the Central Commission for Integrated Military and Civilian Development [习近平主持召开中央军民融合发展委员会第二次会议],” Xinhua, October 15, 2018, http://www.xinhuanet.com/politics/leaders/2018-10/15/c_1123562440.htm.

[xviii] “Central Commission for Integrated Military and Civilian Development Is Established.”

[xix] Greg Levesque and Mark Stokes, “Blurred Lines: Military-Civil Fusion and the ‘Going Out’ of China’s Defense Industry,” Pointe Bello, December 2016, 6. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/569925bfe0327c837e2e9a94/t/593dad0320099e64e1ca92a5/1497214574912/062017_Pointe+Bello_Military+Civil+Fusion+Report.pdf.

[xx] Ibid.

[xxi] Ibid.

[xxii] “China’s Military Strategy [《中国的军事战略》白皮书 (全文)],” State Council Information Office, May 2015, http://www.scio.gov.cn/zfbps/ndhf/2015/Document/1435161/1435161.htm.

[xxiii] Brian Lafferty, Aaron Shraberg, and Morgan Clemens, “China’s Civil-Military Integration,” SITC Research Briefs, 2013(2013-10), 2, https://escholarship.org/uc/item/1712q1h0.

[xxiv] Ibid.

[xxv] “Opinions on Building and Improving a ‘Combining the Military and Civilian Sectors’ and ‘Locating Military Potential in Civilian Capabilities’ Research and Production System for Weapons and Equipment [国务院中央军委关于建立和完善军民结合寓军于民武器装备科研生产体系的若干意见],” Ministry of Defense of the People’s Republic of China, October 24, 2010, http://www.mod.gov.cn/policy/2015-01/07/content_4562869.htm.

[xxvi] For more on China’s “fragmented authoritarianism,” see Kenneth Lieberthal and Michel Oksenberg, Policy Making in China: Leaders, Structures, and Processes (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1988).

[xxvii] David M. Lampton, Following the Leader: Ruling China, from Deng Xiaoping to Xi Jinping (Berkley: University of California Press, 2014): 85.

[xxviii] Lieberthal and Oksenberg, Policy Making in China: Leaders, Structures, and Processes, 41.

[xxix] Chase et al, China’s Incomplete Military Transformation: Assessing the Weaknesses of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), 128.

[xxx] “China Reshuffles Military Headquarters,” Xinhua, January 11, 2016, http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2016-01/11/c_134998692.htm.

[xxxi] Wuthnow and Saunders, Chinese Military Reforms in the Age of Xi Jinping, 62.

[xxxii] Wuthnow and Saunders, Chinese Military Reforms in the Age of Xi Jinping, 64.

[xxxiii] “Liu Guozhi [刘国治], Baidu Baike, https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E5%88%98%E5%9B%BD%E6%B2%BB/82405; “Northwest Institute of Nuclear Technology (NINT),” Nuclear Threat Initiative, July 26, 2012, https://www.nti.org/learn/facilities/711/.

[xxxiv] Ibid.

[xxxv] Minnie Chan, “Chinese military sets up hi-tech weapons research agency modelled on US body,” South China

Morning Post, July 15, 2017, https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2104070/chinese-military-sets-hi-tech-weapons-research-agency.

[xxxvi] “‘Carrying Reform Through to the End’ Part Eight: The Road to a Strong Army’ [《《将改革进行到底》 第八集 《强军之路》(下)],” CPC Online, accessed March 28, 2019, http://news.12371.cn/2018/02/03/VIDE1517610540870462.shtml.

[xxxvii] Adam Ni, “China Reveals New Military Technology Agency,” The Diplomat, July 28, 2017, https://thediplomat.com/2017/07/china-reveals-new-military-technology-agency/.

[xxxviii] Meia Nouwens, “Xi Looks to China’s Private Sector as He Pursues a Slimmer, Smarter PLA,” International Institute for Strategic Studies, February 23, 2018, https://www.iiss.org/blogs/military-balance/2018/02/china-smarter-pla.

[xxxix]Ming Zhao, “Get on the Express Train of Military Intelligenized Development [搭上军事智能化发展的快车],” People’s Daily, November 14, 2017, http://www.81.cn/jfjbmap/content/2017-11/14/content_191788.htm.

[xl] “Dual Variations of Military-Civil Fusion and Artificial Intelligence [军民融合与人工智能的双重变奏],” PLA Daily, September 15, 2018, http://www.81.cn/jfjbmap/content/2018-09/15/content_215934.htm.

[xli] Ni, “China Reveals New Military Technology Agency.”

[xlii] Britzinger and Raska, “Chapter 5: Capacity for Innovation: Technological Drivers of China’s Future Military Modernization,” 135.

[xliii] “China Sets Up National Science and Technology Leading Group,” State Council of the People’s Republic of China, August 8, 2018, http://english.gov.cn/policies/latest_releases/2018/08/08/content_281476253686450.htm.

[xliv] “State Council Notice on the Establishment of the National Science and Technology Leading Group [国务院办公厅关于成立国家科技领导小组的通知],” Ministry of Science and Technology of the People’s Republic of China, July 28, 2018, http://www.most.gov.cn/mostinfo/xinxifenlei/fgzc/gfxwj/gfxwj2018/201808/t20180808_141136.htm.

[xlv] Scott Kennedy, The Fat Tech Dragon: Benchmarking China’s Innovation Drive (Washington: Center for Strategic and International Studies), August 2017.

[xlvi] “Assessing and Strengthening the Manufacturing and Defense Industrial Base and Supply Chain Resiliency of the United States,” U.S. Department of Defense, September 2018, https://media.defense.gov/2018/Oct/05/2002048904/-1/-1/1/ASSESSING-AND-STRENGTHENING-THE-MANUFACTURING-AND%20DEFENSE-INDUSTRIAL-BASE-AND-SUPPLY-CHAIN-RESILIENCY.PDF.

[xlvii] David J. Lynch, “U.S. Companies Banned from Selling to China’s ZTE Telecom Maker,” Washington Post, April 16, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/business/wp/2018/04/16/u-s-companies-banned-from-selling-to-chinas-zte-telecom-maker/?utm_term=.7030dbd1207e.

[xlviii] David Lawder, “U.S. restricts exports to Chinese semiconductor firm Fujian Jinhua,” Reuters, October 29, 2018,

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