This presentation will provide an overview of trends in China’s military diplomacy over the past three decades to include the types of activities, trends in senior leader visits abroad and hosting counterparts, bilateral and multilateral combined exercises with foreign militaries, involvement in United Nations Peacekeeping Operations (UN PKO) and military operations other than war (MOOTW), and education and academic exchanges.
The PLA’s participation in the Gulf of Aden anti-piracy mission, UN PKO missions, and combined training with other militaries often is assumed to have improved its combat capabilities. These missions have been assigned to units from all major commands so that every major command gains experience in the organization, execution, and support of overseas missions. However, only a small percentage of personnel and units have participated in most of these activities and the tasks performed fall short of what is necessary to conduct advanced joint combat operations against a modern foe. The senior PLA leadership constantly reminds the troops that the PLA has not fought a modern war and must raise its current combat readiness level if deterrence fails and the PLA must fight.
About the Speakers
Kenneth W. Allen, Major, U.S. Air Force (Retired), has been the Research Director for the US Air Force’s China Aerospace Studies Institute (CASI) since May 2017. For the past 25 years, his primary focus has been on China’s military organizational structure, personnel, education, training, and foreign relations with particular emphasis on the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force. During 21 years in the U.S. Air Force (1971-1992), he served as an enlisted Chinese and Russian linguist and intelligence officer with tours in Taiwan, Berlin, Japan, China, Washington DC and Pacific Air Force (PACAF) Headquarters. From 1987-1989, he served as the Assistant Air Attaché in the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. He was inducted into the Defence Intelligence Agency’s (DIA) Defence Attaché Hall of Fame in 1997. He has B.A. degrees from the University of California at Davis and the University of Maryland and an M.A. degree from Boston University. He has written multiple books, monographs, chapters, journal articles, and online articles on the PLA.
Dennis J. Blasko, Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army (Retired), served 23 years as a Military Intelligence Officer and Foreign Area Officer specializing in China. Mr. Blasko was an army attaché in Beijing from 1992-1995 and in Hong Kong from 1995-1996. He also served in infantry units in Germany, Italy, and Korea and in Washington at the Defense Intelligence Agency, Headquarters Department of the Army (Office of Special Operations), and the National Defense University War Gaming and Simulation Center. Mr. Blasko is a graduate of the United States Military Academy and the Naval Postgraduate School. He has written numerous articles and chapters on the Chinese military and defense industries and is the author of the book, The Chinese Army Today: Tradition and Transformation for the 21st Century, second edition (Routledge, 2012).