The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitics -

a de­ci­sive naval bat­tle in the near fu­ture,” re­ported the Hong Kong-based news­pa­per the Sun, which is reprinted in the Bei­jing-based Com­mu­nist Party news­pa­per Global Times.

The Com­mu­nist Party’s Cen­tral Mil­i­tary Com­mis­sion, the PLA’s high­est com­mand au­thor­ity, has ap­proved the launch of a na­tional cam­paign to hire civil­ians for a range of spe­cial­ties.

This is the first time the PLA has tapped the civil­ian sec­tor in a na­tion­wide re­cruit­ment drive. A spe­cial or­der ti­tled “Reg­u­la­tion on the PLA’s Civil­ian Per­son­nel Man­age­ment” was is­sued by the PLA’s four op­er­a­tional wings: the Po­lit­i­cal Af­fairs, Gen­eral Staff, Gen­eral Lo­gis­tics and Gen­eral Ar­ma­ments de­part­ments.

Ac­cord­ing to the reg­u­la­tion, the PLA was sched­uled to an­nounce job ads to the pub­lic on Oct. 19. Ap­pli­ca­tions will be ac­cepted via a spe­cial web­site be­tween un­til Nov. 5.

On Dec. 15, all ap­pli­cants must take a test con­sist­ing of two parts — gen­eral knowl­edge and spe­cialty knowl­edge.

Through­out much of its his­tory, the PLA has been a self-sus­tain­ing, se­cre­tive en­tity whose spe­cial­ists come from its train­ing and school sys­tem.

With China’s rapid mil­i­tary buildup in re­cent years, de­mand for ex­per­tise in tech­ni­cal and spe­cial­ized fields has sky­rock­eted. The de­mand now far ex­ceeds the sup­ply that can be pro­vided by the PLA’s ed­u­ca­tional fa­cil­i­ties.

Due to a lack of trans­parency and pub­lic scru­tiny, the PLA has be­come a mag­net for cor­rup­tion that re­sults from its se­crecy and spe­cial priv­i­leges.

Cor­rup­tion scan­dals among high-rank­ing PLA of­fi­cers are re­ported fre­quently, es­pe­cially since Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping was anointed supreme leader last year. Mr. Xi has vowed to root out cor­rup­tion and strengthen dis­ci­pline in the PLA. He has purged a few PLA of­fi­cials for cor­rup­tion, in­clud­ing Lt. Gen. Gu Jun­shan, deputy chief of the PLA’s Gen­eral Lo­gis­tics Depart­ment.

Re­cruit­ing mil­i­tary spe­cial­ists from out­side the PLA and re­quir­ing all ap­pli­cants to take stan­dard­ized tests are seen as the first steps to­ward cur­ing the ills af­flict­ing the PLA.

“[This open re­cruit­ment] is help­ful in in­creas­ing trans­parency and pub­lic trust in the PLA’s re­cruit­ment and em­ploy­ment of ta­lented peo­ple,” said the of­fi­cial Xin­hua News Agency. “It can min­i­mize in­ter­fer­ence from un­due hu­man fac­tors and bears great sig­nif­i­cance in per­fect­ing the mech­a­nisms of our per­son­nel re­cruit­ment and man­age­ment sys­tem and build­ing up an army of our PLA’s high-qual­ity civil­ian corps.”

Miles Yu’s col­umn ap­pears Fri­days. He can be reached at and @Yu_miles.

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