2012-07-17 — Qian Xuesen, distinguished scientist of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), had a vision on the educational background of talent phalanx of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in 1980s – the army corps commander has doctor degree, the division commander has master degree and the regiment commander has bachelor degree. Some people said with emotion that the vision of Qian Xuesen was almost a “myth”.
After years of unremitting efforts, Qian Xuesen’s “myth” is becoming the reality. Up to now, the PLA has had a large number of high-caliber company-level and battalion-level officers with master degree or doctor degree. The rate of training for the officers is up to 90 percent. 81.9 percent of the grassroots officers have bachelor degrees or above and 7.2 percent of them have master degrees or doctor degrees. “Nearly all the grassroots officers are college graduates, which helps to significantly improve the qualities of the officers and men, especially their information-based qualities.” a leader of the Central Military Commission (CMC) said delightedly at the PLA grassroots construction working conference which was held in late June 2012.
According to the information provided by various branch offices of the PLA Daily, the headquarters system of the Guangzhou Military Area Command (MAC) of the PLA has more than 500 officers with full-time master degree or doctor degree. A group army of the Beijing MAC of the PLA has a post-doctoral working station and a post-doctoral working office, and its nearly 1,000 combat-oriented equipment support talents, with 29 doctors and 109 masters as the main body, have become the backbones in such professional fields as radar, guided missile and electronic countermeasure (ECM). A guided missile brigade under the Second Artillery Force (SAF) of the PLA has successively cultivated 6 doctors and 69 masters and they have made impressive achievements of live ammunition launch with unfailing accuracy.
Captains with doctor degree in the PLA Navy and pilots with dual bachelor degrees in the PLA Air Force have come to the fore in large numbers. The first political commissar of a division with doctor degree appointed in August 2000 assumes the office of the director of the political department of a MAC of the PLA. Chen Guangjun, the first brigade commander of the SAF with doctor degree appointed in the year 2005, was promoted to the director of the secondary department of the SAF headquarters three years ago.
In the past decade, the state and the military have been constantly improving such policies of colleges and universities to cultivate national defense students, the military to receive local-college-graduated student officers and the military to promote local-college-graduated students to officers, and relying on the national education to cultivate military talents has gradually got on an institutionalized and standardized track.
From the year 2008 on, China has greatly adjusted the conscription targets, with the focus changed from rural youth and urban unemployed youth to college students of all kinds of colleges and universities at all levels. Annually, around 100 thousand college students join the army and some of them are directly promoted to officers after tempering themselves in grassroots units.
The CMC issued a document entitled the Military Talent Development Plan before 2020 in April 2011, which depicts a clear roadmap and magnificent prospect for the talent construction of the PLA. The PLA, from leadership to staff, has achieved a consensus on the concept that talents are the first element of combat effectiveness. Qian Xuesen’s vision is becoming the reality.