China's National Defense in 2008

VII. The Second Artillery Force

The Second Artillery Force is a strategic force under the direct command and control of the CMC, and the core force of China for strategic deterrence. It is mainly responsible for deterring other countries from using nuclear weapons against China, and for conducting nuclear counterattacks and precision strikes with conventional missiles.

The Second Artillery Force sticks to China's policy of no first use of nuclear weapons, implements a self-defensive nuclear strategy, strictly follows the orders of the CMC, and takes it as its fundamental mission the protection of China from any nuclear attack. In peacetime the nuclear missile weapons of the Second Artillery Force are not aimed at any country. But if China comes under a nuclear threat, the nuclear missile force of the Second Artillery Force will go into a state of alert, and get ready for a nuclear counterattack to deter the enemy from using nuclear weapons against China. If China comes under a nuclear attack, the nuclear missile force of the Second Artillery Force will use nuclear missiles to launch a resolute counterattack against the enemy either independently or together with the nuclear forces of other services. The conventional missile force of the Second Artillery Force is charged mainly with the task of conducting medium- and long-range precision strikes against key strategic and operational targets of the enemy.

History of Development

The founding of the Second Artillery Force was a historical choice the People's Republic of China was forced to make to deal with nuclear threats, break nuclear monopoly and maintain national security. China began to develop strategic missile weapons in 1956,established research, training and educational institutions for strategic missiles in 1957, created its first ground-to-ground missile unit in 1959 and formally founded the Second Artillery Force on July 1, 1966. In the latter half of the 1970s, the Second Artillery Force set itself the objective of building a lean and effective strategic missile force with Chinese characteristics. In the 1990s it established its conventional missile force, entering a new stage marked by the coordinated development of its nuclear and conventional missile forces. With the advent of the 21st century it began to promote leapfrogging development of informationization. Through more than 40 years of development, the Second Artillery Force has grown into a lean and effective strategic force with both nuclear and conventional missiles, capable of both land-based strategic nuclear counterattacks and precision strikes with conventional missiles.

Structure and Organization

The operational command authority of the Second Artillery Force is highly centralized. The chain of command runs from the CMC, the Second Artillery Force and missile bases to missile brigades. The operations of the Second Artillery Force must follow the orders of the CMC in the strictest and most precise manner.

The Second Artillery Force is mainly composed of the nuclear missile force, the conventional missile force, the support force, educational institutions, research institutes and the headquarter organizations. The missile force is organized into missile bases, missile brigades and launch battalions. The support force is organized into technical and specialized support units such as reconnaissance, intelligence, signal, ECM, engineering, logistics and equipment units. The educational institutions include a command college, an engineering college and a school for NCOs. The research institutes include equipment and engineering institutes.

Force Building

Following the principle of building a lean and effective force and going with the tide of the development of military science and technology, the Second Artillery Force strives to raise the informationization level of its weaponry and equipment, ensure their safety and reliability, and enhance its capabilities in protection, rapid reaction, penetration, damage and precision strike. After several decades of development, it has created a weaponry and equipment system with both nuclear and conventional missiles, both solid-fueled and liquid-fueled missiles, different launching ranges and different types of warheads.

The Second Artillery Force is endeavoring to form a complete system for war preparations, optimize its combat force structure, and build a missile operational system suited to informationized warfare. Its nuclear and conventional missile forces are kept at an appropriate level of readiness. The Second Artillery Force is making steady head-way in the construction of its battlefield system, and makes extensive use of modern mechanical equipment and construction methods. Each completed project is up to standard. The Second Artillery Force is also dedicated to logistical reforms and innovations. It has created integrated data bases for field support and informationized management platforms for logistic materials, and improved support systems for the survival of combatants in operational positions. As a result, its integrated logistical support capabilities in case of actual combat have been markedly enhanced. To ensure the absolute safety of nuclear weapons, the Second Artillery Force strictly implements rules and regulations for nuclear safety control and accreditation of personnel dealing with nuclear weapons, has adopted reliable technical means and methods, strengthens the safe management of nuclear weapons in the process of storage, transportation and training, improves mechanisms and methods for emergency response to nuclear accidents, and has put in place special safety measures to avoid unauthorized and accidental launches.

In terms of training, the Second Artillery Force takes specialized skills as the foundation, focuses on officers and core personnel, centers its attention on systems integration and aims at improving overall operational capabilities. It actively conducts specialized training, integrated training and operational training exercises. Specialized training mainly involves the study of basic and specialized missile theories, and the training in operating skills of weapons and equipment. Integrated training mainly consists of whole-process coordinated training of all elements within a combat formation. Operational training exercises refer to comprehensive training and exercises by missile brigades and support units in conditions similar to actual combat. The Second Artillery Force has adopted a rating system for unit training and an accreditation system for personnel at critical posts. It enhances on-base, simulated, web-based and realistic training, explores the characteristics and laws of training in complex electromagnetic environments and integrated training of missile bases, and is conducting R&D of a new generation of web-based simulated training systems. Significant progress has been made in building the "Informationized Blue Force" and battle laboratories.

The Second Artillery Force places personnel training in a strategic position, and gives it high priority. It is working to implement the Shenjian Project for Personnel Training, and create a three-tiered team of first-rate technical personnel. As a result, a contingent of talented people has taken shape, whose main body is composed of academicians of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, missile specialists, commanding officers, and skilled operators and technicians.

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