China has established a new combat force to safeguard its national security. It has no analogue in the world.
On December 31, China introduced three new military forces: a general command for the army, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Strategic Support Force, and the PLA Rocket Force. Replacing the Second Artillery Force, the PLA Rocket Force will be in charge of China’s nuclear arsenal.
Recently, a Russian defense expert Vasily Kashin has commented that the Strategic Support Force (SSF) has no analogue in the world because it is newly-created force and the national security tasks it is set to tackle.
The expert expressed that SSF might also include the former Second (Intelligence) Department of the PLA General Staff Headquarters who were responsible for collecting military information and overseeing military human intelligence collection. It will also incorporate the Foreign Affairs Bureau of the former PLA General Political Department, responsible for political warfare and propaganda operations targeted at the army and population of an enemy.
Vasily Kashin said, “Apart from the former Third and Fourth Departments of the PLA General Staff Headquarters, which were responsible for the technical reconnaissance, cyber intelligence, electronic warfare and offensive cyber operations, the new forces will be responsible for the military intelligence at large and for the psychological operations in particular.”
Each of the Chinese intelligence services are now united into one structure under SSF that provides necessary information for the military and political leadership.
China also named its new PLA Rocket Forces first commander. His name is General Wei Fenghe who has a long history with the Second Artillery Force. The new force is considered the fourth branch in China’s military, on equal footing with the PLA Army, Navy, and Air Force. The Rocket Force will command all three legs of China’s nuclear triad. The Rocket Force will also be in charge of conventional missiles. There are reports that the force has already held its first drills, practicing mobile combat operations and missile launches.
In the inauguration ceremony President Xi Jinping called the PLA Rocket Force the “core force of strategic deterrence, a strategic buttress to the country’s position as a major power, and an important building block in upholding national security.”