Monday, June 29, 2020

Professional publication of the day: Overview of the PLA Air Force’s Kongtian Yiti Strategy

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Introduction This paper examines the “integrated air and space capability” (kongtian yiti / 空天一体) component of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force’s (PLAAF) first ever service strategy, which was implemented to coincide with the PLAAF’s 10th Party Congress in May 2004 and represented a major milestone in China’s efforts to build a “Strategic Air Force.”2 Although the strategy has a second component – “coordinating offensive and defensive operations”3 (攻防兼备) – the paper will not discuss this in any detail. The PLAAF often combines the two components together in the phrases “ building a strong air force based on integrating air and space capabilities, and coordinating offensive and defensive operations” (建设一支空天一体,攻防兼备的强大人民空军) and “creating a modern air force with integrated air and space capabilities and coordinate offensive and defensive operations ” (空天一体,攻防兼备的现代化空军). It also uses “to change from an aviation-type [air force] to an air and space-type [air force]” (航空型向空天一体型转变). However, there is normally very little substance in the articles concerning what this means.4In May 2004, the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) Military Commission (aka Central Military Commission / CMC) implemented the strategy as one component of the reforms to the PLA’s “Military Strategic Guidelines” (军事战略方针)5 that were first implemented in 1956 and is linked to the PLA’s “active defense” (积极防御) strategy that dates back to the 1930

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