The Evolution of the PLA’s Enlisted Force: Conscription and Recruitment (Part One)
Publication: China Brief Volume: 22 Issue: 1
The Evolution of the PLA’s Enlisted Force: Training (Part Two)
Publication: China Brief Volume: 22 Issue: 3
This article is the first in a two-part series on the evolution of the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) enlisted force. Part one provides background and examines key issues in the PLA’s conscription and recruitment of enlisted personnel. Part two overviews the role of the enlisted force in the annual training cycle. The PLA’s yearly training cycle has always revolved around the annual conscription cycle, but each service and subordinate branch has been affected differently based on the size of the conscript force within the service/branch. Four major reforms have directly affected the conscript force: 1) the number and percentage of conscripts within the overall enlisted force; 2) the transition from an illiterate conscript force to a more educated force; 3) the creation of a two-year conscript force and a 28-year noncommissioned officer (NCO) corps; and 4) the change from a one to two-cycle annual conscription process.
This article addresses the following issues: key terms, guidance documents, force size and composition, gender, health issues, management and quotas, the annual conscription cycle, and compensation. Although the information applies to all PLA services, forces, and branches, the PLA Air Force (PLAAF) is used for specific examples.