The Central Military Commission (CMC) is the national military authority of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the leading military organ of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), responsible for directly leading the country’s armed forces – the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the People’s Armed Police (PAP), and militia and reserve forces.
The People’s Liberation Army Ground Force (PLAGF) is the land operations branch of the PLA and the largest and oldest service in the Chinese armed forces. Over the past three decades, the PLAGF has transformed from an infantry-oriented force towards a smaller, more rapidly deployable, modern combined arms force.
The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) is the naval branch of the Chinese armed forces. Over the past three decades, the PLAN has been transformed from a coastal defence force into one of the largest and most sophisticated naval forces in East Asia.
The People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) is the aerial warfare service branch of the Chinese armed forces, responsible for defending the country’s airspace, supporting ground and naval forces, air interdiction, and aerial transport and reconnaissance.
China’s strategic missile force, previously known as the PLA Second Artillery Corps, was created in 1966. It was renamed the PLA Rocket Force (PLARF) and became a full service branch on 31 December 2015. The PLARF controls China’s land-based nuclear and conventional missiles, with a total strength of 100,000 personnel.
The PLA Strategic Support Force (PLASSF) was created on 31 December 2015 as a newest branch of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). Introduced as part of China’s military organisational reform, the PLASSF is not a full service branch, but an independent service arm under the direct leadership of the Central Military Commission (CMC).
The People’s Armed Police (PAP) is a paramilitary police force tasked with maintaining law and order, dealing with riots and terrorist attacks, and responding to natural disasters and other emergencies in China. The force is composed of uniformed active-duty servicemen and follows PLA rules and regulations.
The China Coast Guard (CCG) is a government agency responsible for maritime search and rescue and law enforcement in Chinese territorial waters. The CCG was formed in 2013 by combining a number of maritime law enforcement agencies under the jurisdiction of different government departments.