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Equipment Development Department
General Armament Department

In January 2016 China reorganized its four military headquarters -- staff, politics, logistics and armaments -- into 15 new agencies under the Central Military Commission (CMC). Like the former General Armament Department (GAD), the Equipment Development Department will perform research, development, testing, and evaluation (RDT&E) functions, and will oversee procurement management and information systems building for the armed forces, Joel Wuthnow and Phillip C. Saunders report.

However, the GADs Science and Technology Commission, which has been a nexus of civil-military cooperation on defense technological issues, will not migrate to the Equipment Development Department and will instead be placed directly under the CMC. According to the MND, the PLA aimed for a division of labor in RDT&E between the new CMC department, services, and theater commands, but how this would work in practice iwa unclear.

The General Armament Department, headed by a director, was responsible for production of armaments. The General Armament Department organized and lead the army's work in military equipment.

The state exercises unified leadership and planned control over defense research and production. The State Council leads and administrates defense research and production, as well as defense expenditure and assets. The CMC approves the military equipment system of the armed forces and military equipment development plans and programs, leads and administrates defense research and production in coordination with the State Council, and manages defense outlays and assets jointly with the State Council. The state practices a state military supplies order system to guarantee the acquisition of weapons and other war materials. The state practices a financial allocation system for defense spending. It decides the size, structure and location of the defense assets and the adjustment and disposal of these assets in accordance with the needs of national defense and economic construction.

On April 3, 1998, the Central Military Commission decided to establish the General Equipment Department of the Chinese People's Liberation Army. This is to implement Comrade Deng Xiaoping's thoughts on army building in the new period and Chairman Jiang Zemin's series of important instructions on army building, implement military strategy guidelines for the new period on the military commission, adhere to quality army building, strengthen the army with science and technology, and adapt to the development of the socialist market economy and the country Institutional reform requires a major measure taken unswervingly to follow the path of elite soldiers with Chinese characteristics. The establishment of the General Equipment Department is of far-reaching and significant significance for further strengthening the Central Military Commission's centralized and unified leadership of the entire army's weapons and equipment construction, and for promoting the modernization of national defense and the army. The first Minister of General Equipment was General Cao Gangchuan and Political Commissar Li Jinai.

On August 18, 2000 General Cao Gangchuan, director of the General Armament Department (GAD) of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) called for the acceleration of the pace of reforming China's military industry. The industry should be restructured bringing into consideration the new situation of building a socialist market economy in the country. Cao, who is a member of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks at a workshop attended by heads of PLA bureaus in charge of dispatching army representatives to military factories across the country. He urged to build up, as early as possible, the necessary mechanisms for competition, appraisal, supervision and encouragement. In his address, the general thanked all the military representatives for their contribution to the development of the defense industry over the decades. It was the first meeting of its kind ever held since the GAD was set up in April 1998.

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Page last modified: 02-01-2020 18:39:59 ZULU