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Table 1.

China's Military Strategic Guidelines since 1949

Guideline ComponentsIndicators of Major Change
YearNamePrimary OpponentPrimary DirectionBasis of Preparations for Military StruggleMain Form of OperationsOperational DoctrineForce StructureTraining
1956 “Defending the Motherland” United States northeast U.S. amphibious assault positional defense and mobile offense drafting of operations regulations begins (1958) creation of new combat branches; reduction of 3.5 million troops; formation of general staff system; creation of military regions draft training program issued (1957) 
1960 “Resist in the north, open in the south” United States northeast U.S. amphibious assault positional defense and mobile offense (north of Shanghai) operations combat regulations issued (1961) — — 
1964 “Luring the enemy in deep” United States — U.S. amphibious assault mobile and guerrilla warfare drafting of operations regulations begins (1970) creation of Second Artillery; expansion to 6.2 million troops — 
1977 “Active defense,” “luring the enemy in deep” Soviet Union north-central Soviet armored and airborne assault mobile and guerrilla warfare operations regulations issued (1979) — training program issued (1978) 
1980 “Active defense” Soviet Union north-central Soviet armored and airborne assault positional warfare of fixed defense operations regulations drafted and campaign outline issued (1982–87) transition from army corps to combined arms group armies; reduction of 3 million troops (1980, 1982, 1985) training program issued (1980) 
1988 “Dealing with local wars and military conflicts” — — — — — — training program issued (1989) 
1993 “Winning local wars under high-technology conditions” Taiwan southeast warfare under high-technology conditions joint operations operations regulations and campaign outlines issued (1995–99) shift to brigades; creation of General Armament Department; reduction of 700,000 troops (1997 and 2003) training programs issued (1995 and 2001) 
2004 “Winning local wars under informationized conditions” Taiwan (United States) southeast warfare under informationized conditions integrated joint operations drafting of operations regulations begins (2004) further shift to brigades training program issued (2008) 
2014 “Winning informationized local wars” Taiwan (United States) southeast and maritime informationized warfare integrated joint operations reorganization of command and management structures; reduction of 300,000 troops (2017) 
Guideline ComponentsIndicators of Major Change
YearNamePrimary OpponentPrimary DirectionBasis of Preparations for Military StruggleMain Form of OperationsOperational DoctrineForce StructureTraining
1956 “Defending the Motherland” United States northeast U.S. amphibious assault positional defense and mobile offense drafting of operations regulations begins (1958) creation of new combat branches; reduction of 3.5 million troops; formation of general staff system; creation of military regions draft training program issued (1957) 
1960 “Resist in the north, open in the south” United States northeast U.S. amphibious assault positional defense and mobile offense (north of Shanghai) operations combat regulations issued (1961) — — 
1964 “Luring the enemy in deep” United States — U.S. amphibious assault mobile and guerrilla warfare drafting of operations regulations begins (1970) creation of Second Artillery; expansion to 6.2 million troops — 
1977 “Active defense,” “luring the enemy in deep” Soviet Union north-central Soviet armored and airborne assault mobile and guerrilla warfare operations regulations issued (1979) — training program issued (1978) 
1980 “Active defense” Soviet Union north-central Soviet armored and airborne assault positional warfare of fixed defense operations regulations drafted and campaign outline issued (1982–87) transition from army corps to combined arms group armies; reduction of 3 million troops (1980, 1982, 1985) training program issued (1980) 
1988 “Dealing with local wars and military conflicts” — — — — — — training program issued (1989) 
1993 “Winning local wars under high-technology conditions” Taiwan southeast warfare under high-technology conditions joint operations operations regulations and campaign outlines issued (1995–99) shift to brigades; creation of General Armament Department; reduction of 700,000 troops (1997 and 2003) training programs issued (1995 and 2001) 
2004 “Winning local wars under informationized conditions” Taiwan (United States) southeast warfare under informationized conditions integrated joint operations drafting of operations regulations begins (2004) further shift to brigades training program issued (2008) 
2014 “Winning informationized local wars” Taiwan (United States) southeast and maritime informationized warfare integrated joint operations reorganization of command and management structures; reduction of 300,000 troops (2017) 
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