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PLA Officer Corps

Officer Promotion and Assignment Procedures


As of 2007, officer promotions and assignments are managed through the political work system in a three-step process.
  • The first step consists of the organization's political office gathering information on the officer, including interviews with the officer's subordinates, co-workers, and bosses. Each officer receives three evaluations, including an annual evaluation, one every two to three years, and a promotion evaluation. The evaluations focus on four items: political character, general military and billet knowledge, achievements, and physical fitness.
  • During the second step, the political office makes a recommendation to the organization's Party committee. Depending on the level within the chain of command, the Party committee can either authorize the promotion or assignment or send the recommendation to the Party organization in the next higher command for approval.
  • Finally, the Party committee announces the promotion or assignment.

Based on the officer's grade, promotions and assignments are approved at different levels as follows:
  • The chairman of the CMC approves all promotions and assignments for officers at the division-leader grade up to the chief of the general staff and director of the General Political Department.
  • The general departments or military region leaders approve all promotions for officers at the division deputy-leader (brigade-leader) and regiment-leader grade.
  • The group army or jun-level leaders approve all promotions for officers at the regiment deputy-leader and battalionleader grade.
  • The division or brigade leaders approve promotions for officers at the battalion deputy-leader and below grades.

Promotion Cycle

PLA regulations specify the time-in-rank and time-in-grade requirements for officers before they are promoted to the next rank and grade. For all ranks except second lieutenant to first lieutenant, the time-in-rank requirement is four years. However, the time-in-grade requirement is three years. Furthermore, in the PLA, time in service begins the first day as a cadet in an academy, not the day of commissioning upon graduation. As shown below, the promotion cycle for grades and ranks is not a 1:1 ratio.

PLA Rank and Grade Promotion Cycle

Mandatory Retirement Ages

As shown below, the mandatory retirement age for PLA officers is based on their grade, not their rank or time in service. In 1994, retirement ages were added for military region deputy leader- and military region leader-grade officers. CMC vice chairmen and CMC members do not have mandatory retirement ages.
The mandatory retirement age for technical officers is slightly higher for each grade than for regular officers.

PLA Mandatory Retirement Ages



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Page last modified: 05-07-2013 19:01:09 ZULU