As if taking a page out of former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's playbook, the Chinese military has decreased troop levels by more than 200,000 men and women, the official newspaper of the People's Liberation Army announced last week.
While liberals, Democrats and members of the news media openly showed distain for Rumsfeld when he served as President George W. Bush's top military commander, the Chinese military hierarchy viewed him as an innovator, especially when it comes to military structure and logistics.
China's Liberation Army Daily -- a state-controlled news service -- claims the first phase of their program to slim down China's military was completed at the start of 2008, and troop numbers are down to 2.3 million. China had 2.5 million serving in their military in 2003 when the cuts began. In 1987, it had about 4.2 million full-time military personnel.
The reforms included reducing layers in the command hierarchy, cutting non-battle units such as schools and farms, and rearranging officer duties.
"The personnel system reforms have brought heartening changes to our military development. They've compressed troop numbers and optimized the personnel structure," the Chinese paper said.
"Our military is marching toward the goal of an appropriately sized, structurally balanced, lean, command-responsive fighting force."
After the cutbacks, the proportion of military serving in the infantry had fallen to a "historic low," while the share in the navy, air force and Second Artillery Corps -- which maintains China's nuclear missiles -- had risen, the paper said.
The paper also said that "high-tech" forces had increased. China has accelerated developing or buying several advanced weapons, including surveillance satellites, missiles, and "blue water" naval vessels and submarines.
"[The Central Military Commission] Chairman Hu Jintao's instructions set a clear direction for completing adjustment and reform of the military personnel system," it said.
Last week, Hu visited the Liberation Army Daily and told its staff to "adhere to a correct political orientation."
China's military budget in 2007 was about $30 billion, a 12.6 percent rise on the previous years. The Liberation Army Daily also reported that more reforms to China's military were planned for 2008 and beyond, including further reducement in the numbers of commissioned officers.
The branches of the United States Armed Forces are currently undergoing a transitional program of their own. For example, more and more special forces units are being formed in an effort to create a leaner, more-mobile defense force.
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for a number of organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores. Kouri holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice and master of arts in public administration and he's a board certified protection professional.