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Chinese Military-civilian Integration Is Advancing on the Whole, Initially Forming Key Fields.

On the eve of the two sessions, the first plenary meeting of the 19th China’s Central Military-civilian integration Development Committee hosted by General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Xi Jinping passed a series of relevant documents and the list of the first innovation demonstration zone construction. During the two sessions, General Secretary Xi Jinping also stressed when attending the plenary session of PLA and Chinese People’s Armed Police that the military-civilian integration should be developed deeply and solidly to provide powerful dynamic and strategic support for realizing Chinese dream and Military Dream.

Why does military-civilian integration draw so much attention in recent years? How is the development of it at present? What handicaps should be overcome to realize the deep development of military-civilian integration? Our journalist interviewed relevant departments, enterprises and local governments on these issues.

In recent years, policies on development of military-civilian integration were successively promulgated. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the military-civilian integration development has been ranked as a national strategy by CPC, presenting a sound momentum of whole advancement and boosted development. The report of the 19th CPC National Congress suggests that in the new era, more attention should be paid to the military-civilian integration; the deep development pattern of military-civilian integration should be formed; and the integrated national strategic system and ability should be built.

Why should the military-civilian integration be paid more attention to in the new era?

Long Hongshan, chief engineer of State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense, said that the military-civilian integration means that the country should follow the close relationship between national defense and economic development, make clear two objectives of “making the country rich” and “making the military strong”, coordinate development and security, integrate economic power and nation defense power, transform the limited social resources to bidirectional interactive productivity and fighting capacity, realizing the goal of twice the benefit with half the investment. “The core point is to integrate national defense and military construction organically into the economic and social development system, making them mutually promote, interact, blend and support. The primary purpose is to set up strategic system and ability of an integrated country for the unification between “making the country rich” and “making the military strong.”

“The idea of deep development of military-civilian integration at the present stage is not only the urgent need to advance the modernization of national governance capacity, but the necessary choice to seek national security and development.” Long also said that currently, during the military-civilian integration, we still face conflicts and problems, for instance, the ideological cognition is unable to keep pace with; the operation system urges to be improved; the coordination and sharing of resources are not enough; and the policy and the system are relatively backward. He also thought that only through the promotion of the development of military-civilian integration can better unite the national overall power and form the virtuous development pattern promoted by central and local government, army, enterprises, and all sectors of the community.

Besides, as the market economy develops, many private enterprises in China rise abruptly. They master lots of advanced technologies, talents and achievements, and many of them are urgently required by scientific and technological industry of national defense. And the advanced technologies and achievements accumulated over years by scientific and technological industry of national defense have already applied to the normal life of ordinary people. “Depth means closer ties. The national defense and military construction can get solid material support and development momentum from economic and social development, vice versa, economic construction can also get powerful security and science support from national defense and military construction.” said Long Hongshan.

“Implementing the development strategy of military-civilian integration is also a long-term plan to lead China to grow bigger and stronger.” Long indicated that judging from the international advanced experience, the military-civilian integration and military-civilian general technology represent the general trend. We need to narrow the gap between China and military powers around the world, keep pace with them and even surpass them. We must learn the advanced mode, allocate military and civilian resources, make the development of the economy and national defense construction coordinated, balanced, and inclusive, thus realizing maximum benefit.

What is the current situation of military-civilian integration in China?

Long introduced that since the 18th CPC National Congress, Chinese military-civilian integration is advancing on the whole, initially forming key fields. “Especially in field of research and production of weapons and outfits, advantageous resources of all society are all absorbed. At present, among enterprises which possess licence on research and production of weapons and outfits, over 2/3 are civil enterprises, nearly half being strong private enterprises. The fields and levels of ‘civilian-join-military’ enterprises are expanding, with part of them starting to undertake general and subsystem mission. Some private enterprises are playing more and more important roles in cutting-edge technologies such as micro-miniature, unmanned system and micro-nano technology etc.”

The integration of military project into regional economic development gets new achievement. It is understood that currently, the ratio of military production to civil production in military industrial cooperation remains at 3:7, among which military high-tech industry gradually takes up over 50%. The Four Civil Industries (civil aerospace, civil aircraft, civil nuclear power and high-tech shipping) continue to develop, and military high-tech industries such as satellite navigation and remote sensing application, ocean engineering and scientific equipment, network information security, Wisdom City etc. are playing more and more important roles.

“Take astronautical technology for example, it is not only used for space exploitation, but applied to our daily life, playing vital roles in every field of national economy.” said Zhang Jianhuan, Vice President of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation. In people’s life, the application of astronautical technology is very common. “For instance, the blue railway ticket is made from thermo-sensitive magnetic ticket via aerospace film technology. In addition, the aerospace pipes that are put at seabed to solve the world problem are bi-metal mechanical composite sea pipes.” It is estimated that among 1,100 kinds of new materials in China, 80% are produced under the guidance of astronautical technology. Currently, China has over 2,000 astronautical technology achievements transplanted to departments of national economy. Civil aerospace output has occupied about half of the total aerospace output.

Besides, the effect of the coordinated innovation of military-civilian science and technology gradually yields. “It can be seen obviously in national major scientific special projects such as human spaceflight, lunar exploration project, high-score special projects, nuclear high-based projects etc. They are all great achievements that gather the R&D power with military advantages from military industries, research institutes, universities, enterprises etc.” Long told journalist that the mode of coordinated innovation of military subjects is more various. In emerging fields concerning national defense security like ocean, network, aerospace etc., the key missions of military-civilian integration are overcome tentatively. In basic science and technology field, all military parties jointly promote coordinated innovation, making breakthrough in cutting-edge technologies such as THz, quantum, laser etc.

How to start the work to realize the deep development pattern of military-civilian integration?

Although the military-civilian integration keeps developing, some experts indicate that Chinese military-civilian integration is still at the transitional stage from initial integration to deep integration, along with some structural conflicts, institutional handicaps, policy problems etc.

“Now the deep development of military-civilian integration is still facing some difficulties, primarily because of thought handicap and understanding deviation that make the integration work unable to be profound and integrate. Moreover, policies and regulations, management mechanism and operation mechanism are not perfect, thus affecting the quality and benefit of military-civilian integration.” Long said that the military-civilian integration involves many military departments, many benefit barriers and complicated relations, so some institutional issues such as segmentation and separation of military and civilian. In addition, operation mechanisms such as the dock of demand generation, military-civilian coordinated innovation, planning connection, resource co-construction and sharing etc. are not fully established. Especially at policy and regulation level, the laws on comprehensive regulations of military-civilian development and on key fields such as scientific and technological industry of national defense etc. are lacking. Some existing policies and regulations also have problems of insufficient connection, huge limitations etc.

“Civil enterprises, especially private enterprises, find it hard to undertake military missions.” During the interview, people in charge of some private enterprises said that at present, “civilian-join-military” mission channels are not smooth, thus making civil enterprises hard to understand the product demand from military enterprises. Even if some civil enterprises understand the demands and their technologies are urgently needed by military enterprises, they still face problems of difficult access, hard license issuing, lengthy cycle etc.

Long agrees with it. “This kind of situation really exists. It is also difficult for military departments to understand how far the technology of civil enterprises has developed. The information exchange system has not been established between military and civilian.” He also said that State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense has reached an agreement with military to further improve relevant systems of market access to military products. “The problems of repeated authentication and repeated examination reported by private enterprises should be addressed through military-civilian integration mechanism. From now on, dock platform of military demands should be built; demonstration project of military-civilian integration should be developed. The efficiency of “civilian-join-military” will be greatly improved once the measures above are done.”

Xiong Qunli, president of China Electronic Technology Group Corporation, said, “Under current situation, we should explore innovation in system, mechanism, and pattern of military-civilian integration, address the long-term systematic barrier, structural conflicts and policy issues, and accelerate the structural adjustment of the whole economic society. Of course, army, as the main part of national defense and demand side of national defense scientific research and weaponry, is under comprehensive and profound reform. Only through merging into the process of comprehensive and profound reform can the military-civilian integration be deep, improved, sustained and effective.”

Long thought that “all-factor, multi-field, high-benefit” are the inherent requirements of the deep development structure of military-civilian integration. “All-factor” refers to the sharing and compatibility of various elements including information, technology, talent, capital, equipment, service etc. “Multi-field” refers to the integration of weaponry research and production, economic layout, infrastructure, talents, mobilization, maintenance and security into fields such as army, navy, air force, electricity etc. “High-benefit” refers to the maximization of national defense benefit of economic construction and maximization of economic benefit of national defense, thus realizing the unification of “making the country rich” and “making the military strong”. “In the future, the strengthening of sense of overall situation, reform and innovation, strategic planning and legal protection should be done based on this goal, to form a management system that is led unitedly, military coordinated, smooth and efficient, thus promoting the military-civilian integration.”

Besides, the industry all think that the most important point in the promotion of military-civilian integration development is to develop the leading role of the nation. With the reform promotion method from top to bottom, plus top-level design, the general planning of military-civilian integration development and special planning of key fields should be drafted. Next is to pay attention to market operation, fully utilizing the market mechanism to optimize resource allocation. Competitive procurement proportion should be expanded; mature technologies of civil enterprises should be introduced; civil standards should be adopted; a fair and transparent market competitive environment should be built. Thirdly, laws and regulations should be emphasized. The multi-level and multi-field regulation system of military-civilian integration should be built in accordance with new situations, new missions and new demands to provide comprehensive regulation guarantee for the deep development of military-civilian integration.

Experts also advice that communication and coordination should be strengthened to avoid repeated or cross-cutting problems on policies between departments. Besides, feedback on policy operation and evaluation mechanism should also be built. The third party assessment work aimed at the effect of the policy should be carried out regularly. Relevant policies such as access and exit, taxation and finance, industry guidance, national defense intellectual property rights transformation and application etc. should also be improved.