Special operations forces in the People's Liberation Army and the development of an integral unconventional warfare mission
Smith, Xavier Gerard
Miller, Lyman H.
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The three objectives to this thesis are: to determine through historical investigation the primary motivations and impetuses behind the creation and development of special operations forces (SOF) within the People's Liberation Army (PLA) of China; to provide a detailed briefing of modern PLA SOF; to determine whether PLA SOF contingents will develop an American "Green Beret"-type Unconventional Warfare (UW) capability in the immediate future. The third objective will be ascertained through a brief investigation of the history, motivations and national strategy behind the United States Army Special Forces. It will also examine the doctrinal leanings of Local War Under High Tech Conditions, as well as the strategic and political objectives of the People's Republic of China (PRC), and how both factors pertain to and affect the missions of PLA SOF. Through the course of this thesis' research, it was discovered that doctrinal changes within the PLA, post-1979 PLA modernization and professionalization efforts, financial constraints on regional power projection goals, and the First Gulf War were the primary drivers behind the creation and development of PLA SOF. At present, an integral UW capability within PLA SOF is constrained by the Chinese military's current doctrinal emphasis--fighting a short war--and the PRC's strategic and political goals--translating regional economic interdependence into regional dominance.
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