China’s military leaders at the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) might belong to the most powerful, its Air Force might be rising, but is still lacking clout, learned Wendell Minnick at a conference last week in Taipei on the position of the PLA Air Force (PLAAF), he writes on his weblog.
Despite improvements in China’s ability to dominate the airspace in and around Taiwan and project air power into the South China Sea, the PLAAF faces challenges from Army-led leaders that often inhibit air power.
“The Army has always and will most likely continue to dominate the PLA’s joint leadership and structure,” said Kenneth Allen, a China military specialist at the Defense Group of the Center for Intelligence Research and Analyst, Washington.
All the uniformed vice chairmen of the powerful Central Military Commission (CMC), which has total authority over the military, have been Army officers, he said. This includes the head of each of the four General Departments and the commander of each military region. “In my opinion, there are no indications this situation will change,” Allen said.