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Chinese and Russian militaries share a potential weakness

China’s military leaders share a potential weakness that has undermined their Russian counterparts in Ukraine and could hamper their ability to wage a similar war, according to a new report from the US National Defense University.

The report identifies a lack of cross-training as a possible Achilles’ Heel within the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), but analysts remain wary of underestimating China’s capabilities and warn against comparisons with Russia.

The report delved into the backgrounds of more than 300 of the PLA’s top officers across its five services – army, navy, air force, rocket force and strategic support force – in the six years leading up to 2021. It found that in each service leaders were unlikely to have operational experience in any branch other than the one they began their careers in.

In other words, PLA soldiers stay soldiers, sailors stay sailors, airmen stay airmen. Rarely do they venture outside those silos, the report said, noting a sharp contrast to the US military, where cross-training has been a legal requirement since 1986.

The 73-page report went on to say that this “rigidity… could reduce China’s effectiveness in future conflicts,” particularly in conflicts requiring high levels of joint-service action, and suggests PLA forces would become bogged down by the same sort of problems that have bedeviled their Russian counterparts in Ukraine, “where the overall cohesion of forces was low.”

Since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of its neighbor seven months ago, deficiencies in the Russian military structure have become plain to outside observers.

In the recent rout of Russian forces by a Ukrainian counteroffensive, Moscow’s ground forces lacked air cover, analysts say, while earlier in the war, logistical problems played havoc with Russia’s ability to resupply its forces – its trucks lacked suitable tires for the terrain and kept breaking down from a lack of maintenance.

According to the report’s author Joel Wuthnow, the PLA’s senior leaders could face similar problems due to their lack of cross-training.

“Operational commanders, for instance, rarely have career-broadening experience in logistics, and vice versa,” said the report by Wuthnow, a senior research fellow at the university’s Center for the Study of Chinese Military Affairs.

“Operational commanders who never needed to gain a high level of understanding of logistics or maintenance might fail to use those forces optimally, paralleling another Russian failure in 2022.”

In a comparison of four-star rank commanders in 2021 – such as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs or the head of Indo-Pacific Command in the United States or leaders of the Central Military Commission or theater commands in China – all of the 40 US officers had joint-service experience compared to 77% of their 31 Chinese equivalents, the report found.

It also noted another key difference: In the US, almost all the four-star commanders had operational experience. In China, almost half were “professional political commissars.”

Don’t underestimate the PLA
Carl Schuster, a former director of operations at the US Pacific Command’s Joint Intelligence Center in Hawaii, said the new report “is the best assessment of where China is at and going that I have seen.”

But he cautioned against using it as a predictor of how the PLA might fare in a Ukraine-like war as it had numerous other advantages over the Russian military.

China gives better training to new recruits and no longer relies on conscripts, he said, whereas the Russian army “relies on seven-month conscripts for 80-85% of its enlisted personnel.”

And, unlike Russia, China has a professional non-commissioned officer corps, he added.

Schuster, who now teaches at Hawaii Pacific University, estimated that China is about four or five years behind the US in terms of joint operation abilities – but warned recent exercises “suggest they are catching up.”

He cited recent Chinese operations like those around Taiwan after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island in early August as demonstrating this.

“The study’s unstated implication that the PLA may be unable to do effective joint ops is misplaced,” Schuster said.

The report by Wuthnow, who is also an adjunct professor at Georgetown University in Washington, also found demographic differences between Chinese and US leaders.

“Senior (Chinese) officers were homogenous in terms of age, education, gender, and ethnicity,” the report said.

Among the four-star ranks, Chinese officers were older on average than their American counterparts (64 vs. 60) and had more years in the military (46 vs. 40).

“US leadership was also more diverse, with two women and three African Americans, compared to a homogenous PLA leadership (entirely male and 99% Han Chinese),” the report said.


And one final stark difference: 58% of the US officers had served in a foreign country while none of the Chinese officers had overseas experience.
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Croatia and Japan to Meet in 2022 World Cup Round of 16
December 1, 2022 - Croatia and Japan will meet in the 2022 World Cup round of 16 on Monday, December 5. With a 0:0 draw against Belgium in the 3rd round of Group F, Croatia secured a spot in the 2022 World Cup round of 16 on Thursday night. Morocco topped Group F with seven points, Croatia finished in second with 5, and Belgium and Canada were knocked out of the tournament. After Croatia and Belgium finished, the Group E matches were played. And what a crazy way we got to find out Croatia's next World Cup opponent. Japan beat Spain 2-1 and topped Group E, meaning they play Croatia as the second-placed team min Group F. Spain thus finished second in Group E and will play Morocco, who finished first in Group F. Germany and Costa Rica have been knocked out of the tournament. You can find all of the possible scenarios of how Croatia learned about its opponent below. https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/65095 https://datastudio.google.com/reporting/e7661867-8761-4b72-8608-6db164141000 https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/65335 https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/65385 https://datastudio.google.com/reporting/951e63e2-44a7-4726-bc9d-da8857af7ef4 https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/65415 https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/65480 https://datastudio.google.com/reporting/1bd29f83-4edb-4572-b9ff-c0aa9c7359e9 https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/65545 https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/66119 https://datastudio.google.com/reporting/ee1c008d-4f78-4140-a7ef-4210a09d4905 https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/64722 https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/66369 https://datastudio.google.com/reporting/fb57db4a-2bc9-4f77-b4f8-e781d848bc6f https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/65027 https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/66644 https://datastudio.google.com/reporting/af11de1f-ac67-4bc3-b377-976564acffd9 https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/66724 https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/66165 https://datastudio.google.com/reporting/38cd0885-347f-4e9a-8aec-559e27cc2805 https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/66873 https://new.c.mi.com/ng/post/64881
Nearly 2,000 evacuated after Indonesia's Mount Semeru erupts
Indonesia’s Mount Semeru erupted on Sunday, blanketing roads and homes in volcanic ash and prompting evacuations of nearly 2,000 residents in East Java province, according to authorities in the country. A statement Sunday from Indonesia’s disaster management agency (BNPB) said no injuries or deaths have so far been reported and evacuees have taken shelter in public facilities, including village halls and schools. More than 20,000 face masks have been handed out to mitigate respiratory health risks from volcanic ash, it added. Mount Semeru, which lies around 640 kilometers (400 miles) southeast of the capital Jakarta, began erupting at 2:46 a.m. local time Sunday (2:46 p.m. ET Saturday), according to BNPB. Videos shared by BNPB showed nearby villages covered in gray ash. Indonesia’s Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, PVMBG, said in a statement the alert level of volcanic activity had been raised to the highest Level 4. The agency warned residents to stay at least 17 kilometers (10.5 miles) away from Semeru’s eruption center, adding that volcanic ash had reached as far as 12 kilometers (7.4 miles) from the epicenter. Japan’s Meteorological Agency said the plume from the eruption reached 15 kilometers (about 49,200 feet) into the air. The agency said in a statement Sunday there had been no tsunami impact following the eruption. Indonesia, an archipelago of 270 million people, sits on the “Ring of Fire,” a band around the Pacific Ocean that sets off frequent earthquakes and volcanic activity. Standing at 3,676 meters (12,060 feet), Mount Semeru is the tallest volcano on Java – and one of its most active ones. More than 50 people were killed and thousands more displaced when it erupted last year. Compared to the 2021 eruption, PVMBG chief Hendra Gunawan said the agency saw the potential for a larger volume of magma from the eruption Sunday. “Therefore Semeru’s hot clouds could reach further (this year) and at that distance there are many residences,” he said. The eruption in East Java on Sunday follows a series of earthquakes on the west of the island, including one last month that killed more than 300 people. The deadly November quake that hit West Java’s Cianjur was a shallow temblor of 5.6 magnitude. A much deeper quake on Saturday in the town of Garut of 6.1 magnitude sent people running from buildings but did not cause major damage. https://colab.research.google.com/drive/1-SLXKr0Tc-RBudsSJTTX3QAjZ4Di9PIB?usp=sharing https://colab.research.google.com/drive/103udLdSy0eDTn28CelGJwwJ_U7o3xLm-?usp=sharing https://colab.research.google.com/drive/116RfOSWOi96ZrjRjR_1zXitQLcYYQniB?usp=sharing https://colab.research.google.com/drive/12VHrsE8AsQO51Qn_AtyNL7GRUfuna_7C?usp=sharing https://colab.research.google.com/drive/15-qDV3MNjiLYQvIJQY46w-JM3y6CiO96?usp=sharing https://colab.research.google.com/drive/15mHlOEcvhbV6Gjo9sWTDJYoLy0T4I40z?usp=sharing https://colab.research.google.com/drive/16CJnIuCmlzFmmR4epkr69EMj1ANO3AWW?usp=sharing https://colab.research.google.com/drive/16swRXRWjUjvtxMTZlGDQ6V3OJtA2yRaB?usp=sharing https://colab.research.google.com/drive/193jgU-OKQ5-GiRKxboNQCZS2C_uIhsBu?usp=sharing https://colab.research.google.com/drive/19ND_7q2iyLZhgxkAbprzRXrD0JSLVMqJ?usp=sharing 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