Contents and AbstractsIntroduction: PLA Influence on Chinese National Security Policymaking chapter abstractThe Introduction examines four trends that have reshaped civil-military relations in China and affected the role of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) in policymaking. It presents two analytic approaches-one focused on the nature of the issue under consideration, where decisions on that issue are made within the Chinese system, and what role the PLA plays in those decisions, and one focused on the PLA's ability to exert influence at different stages in the policymaking process. After brief chapter summaries, the Introduction presents ten findings, concluding that civilian Communist Party leaders remain in control of the military, but that over the last two decades the PLA appears to have more influence on purely military issues, much less influence on political issues, and to be more actively engaged in policy debates on mixed civil-military issues where military equities are at stake. 1Reconsidering the PLA as an Interest Group chapter abstractIn this chapter Isaac Kardon and Phillip Saunders examine whether the PLA can be thought of as an interest group, finding that factors which previously limited the PLA's ability to act as a coherent policy actor have diminished. Today's PLA demonstrates numerous characteristics of an interest group, including professionalization, growing coherence of its corporate interests, an expanding monopoly on national security expertise and information, and enhanced capacity to articulate and defend institutional goals and equities in order to shape public debate and influence policy. 2The PLA in the Party Leadership Decisionmaking System chapter abstractIn this chapter Alice Miller explains the political logic behind the transformation of the Chinese leadership's decisionmaking system, emphasizing a deliberate effort by Deng Xiaoping in the 1980s to establish an effective collective leadership system with checks and balances to prevent attempts by any individual member-and especially by the party general secretary-to dominate the others. She argues that these reforms have transformed civil-military relations from subjective civilian control to objective civilian control as the PLA's influence on political decisions has narrowed into institutional mechanisms focused on security issues. These structural changes limit the ability of PLA leaders to exert influence on political issues or to exploit potential splits among top civilian leaders. 3The Riddle in the Middle: China's Central Military Commission in the Twenty-first Century chapter abstractIn this chapter Tai Ming Cheung uses new sources to describe the inner workings of the secretive Central Military Commission (CMC). He identifies key political and organizational principles guiding the CMC's development; describes its current structure, workings, and responsibilities; highlights the critical role played by the CMC vice-chairmen; evaluates Hu Jintao's role as CMC chairman and problems in civil-military relations during his tenure; and conducts an initial assessment of Xi Jinping's early tenure as CMC chairman. Cheung stresses Xi's emphasis on the role of military power in a strong China dream, efforts to impose stricter political and fiscal discipline, and decision to restructure the military command system to improve its ability to conduct joint operations. 4Top Leaders and the PLA: The Different Styles of Jiang, Hu, and Xi chapter abstractNan Li's chapter assesses how Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao exerted influence over the PLA, and analyzes why their methods differed. He distinguishes between two approaches: currying favor by catering to PLA interests and imposing will by forcing the PLA to do things it would not otherwise want to do. He argues that Jiang curried favor early in his leadership and then imposed his will, while Hu curried favor throughout his tenure. Nan Li suggests Xi Jinping is likely to curry favor initial
Phillip C. Saunders is Director of the Center for the Study of Chinese Military Affairs at the National Defense University. Andrew Scobell is a Senior Political Scientist at the RAND Corporation.