Take A Rare Peek Inside China’s Expansive Joint Battle Command Center
The facility represents the changing capabilities and strategic focus of the Chinese military.
We at the The War Zone take a high interest in anything related to strategic command and control, especially when it comes to America's potential adversaries. We have seen inside Russia's massive command centers housed in the remodeled Ministry of Defense building in Moscow and now, thanks to newly released video, we get our best look into the Chinese Military Commission's Joint Battle Center.
The center was supposedly established around 2014-2015 as part of a series of reforms aimed at making the Chinese military more capable of unified operations and to facilitate more streamlined command and control at the highest rungs of China's leadership. Sitting atop that command structure is President Xi Jinping, who is not only the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, but also the chairman of the Chinese Military Commission. Recently he has also adopted the name "Commander In Chief," emulating the moniker assigned to American Presidents and has continued executing a series of consolidation of power plays that have given him tighter control over the military and less competition among China's political leadership.
We have seen glimpses of the command center before, most notably in early 2016 (top video) when a fatigue-clad Xi Jinping visited the facility. The most recent video, posted just days ago on November 3rd, 2017, gives us a less redacted, wider and more complete view of the installation (bottom video).
The command center is replete with rows of work stations, lots flat screen displays and plenty of red phones, not to mention a special throne-like desk for Xi Jinping. A huge map display system in located in the center of the room. It is unclear exactly what the capability of this map is or how it is really meant to be viewed. Logically it would be a situational map of the region, where the locations of units, ships and vessels could be displayed and particular areas could be zoomed in upon, but then again it could just be a big ass map in an awkward position. The whole place has something of a "set piece" or staged feel to it, similar to Russia's largest command center that was built around the same time.
During Xi Jinping's recent visit to the facility, he stressed readiness and improving the military's combat capability as well as the ability for the CMC to fight and win wars—pretty boilerplate stuff—but he also teleconferenced with deployed units, including troops stationed at China's new base in Djibouti which itself is more than meets the eye. The Horn of Africa outpost largely represents China's future military ambitions, which have morphed from regional to global in scale.
Who knows how effective this elaborate facility actually would be during a time of conflict, but maybe that's not the point. If anything else it represents what China strives to become militarily, and based on their track record over the last two decades, they will eventually achieve their goals.
Contact the author: Tyler@thedrive.com