National Security and Defense

Military Services

Updated: Jul 25, 2019 Print
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The Chinese military services are composed of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Rocket Force, Strategic Support Force, Armed Police Force and Reserve Force.


The PLA Army is composed of mobile operational units, border and coastal defense units, guard and garrison units, and is primarily responsible for military operations on land.


The PLA Navy is China’s mainstay for operations at sea, and is responsible for safeguarding its maritime security and maintaining its sovereignty over its territorial seas along with its maritime rights and interests.

Air Force

The PLA Air Force is China’s mainstay for air operations, responsible for its territorial air security and maintaining a stable air defense posture nationwide. It is primarily composed of aviation, ground air defense, radar, airborne and electronic countermeasures (ECM) arms.

Rocket Force

The Rocket Force is a core force for China’s strategic deterrence. It is primarily responsible for deterring other countries from using nuclear weapons against China, and carrying out nuclear counterattacks and precision strikes with conventional missiles.

Strategic Support Force

The Strategic Support Force is a new-type combat force to maintain national security and an important growth point of the PLA’s combat capabilities.

Other Forces of the Chinses Armed Forces

Armed Police Force

In peacetime, the Armed Force’s main tasks include performing guard duties, dealing with emergencies, combating terrorism and participating in and supporting national economic development. In wartimes, it is tasked with assisting the PLA in defensive operations.

Reserve Force

The Reserve Force is an armed organization composed of the people not released from their regular work. As an assistant and backup of the PLA, the Reserve Force is tasked with participating in the socialist modernization drive, performing combat readiness support and defensive operations, helping maintain social order and participating in emergencies rescue and disaster relief operations.

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