Updated 9:12 AM EST, Tue, Jan 05, 2021

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College Students Being Trained to Help China Win Information War against the US

New war

(Photo : PLA) Chinese cyber warriors.

A reform of China's military-affiliated academies will see college students being traught about information warfare, a step that recognizes the huge impact this discipline will have in any future war.

The focus of the new curriculum will be on early-warning; command and control and combat data.

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Chinese state-controlled media said eight new military-affiliated academies will implement the new curriculum for the first time this fall. This comes after the launch of military academy reforms in 2016, which are intended to help China win an information war against the United States and its allies.

In contrast, traditional combat programs will be reduced in this year's curriculum.

Twenty-six military-affiliated universities and academies plan to enroll 12,000 high school graduates this year. Establishing academies for the armed services will better manage and train soldiers for theater commands.

The People's Liberation Army Ground Force (PLAGF) formerly had no specialized academies since the PLAGF had no commanding organ. This has changed.

Of the eight new academies merged with other universities and academies, six belong to the PLAGF.

The reform of military-affiliated academies intends to reduce the number of academies and students to be recruited in line with China's comprehensive military reform. 

This reform will see the People's Liberation Army (PLA) shed 300,000 personnel by the end of 2017.

"Meanwhile, to win the future information war, academic programs such as computer science, information technology and intelligence studies will become more prominent," said Li Daguang, a professor at the National Defense University of the PLA.

The reform will also improve aerospace studies, said Li.

In March 2016, president Xi Jinping called for reforms and innovation in military-affiliated colleges and academies to build a world-class army as part of the military overhaul launched in 2015.

Under the reform, academies were encouraged to closely follow global military developments; research the role of information technology in military operations and address the issues in the country's combat readiness.

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