A changing Chinese military strategy and planned troop reductions in the People's Liberation Army are having an impact on the number and type of students military academies will be recruiting and training.
Recruitment of students needed to bolster China's combat capability will be increased, even as the overall number of military school students will be reduced, officials said at a military school recruitment conference in Beijing that ended on Tuesday.
Compared with last year, 24 percent fewer students will be admitted to studies related to the army, including the infantry and artillery, while logistic and support departments will see their recruits fall by 45 percent, said a news release from the Central Military Commission's Training Management Department.
In comparison, students studying in aviation, missile and maritime fields will increase by 14 percent. The number of recruits in sectors where there is an urgent need, such as space intelligence, radar and drones, will rise by 16 percent, the release said.
The changes were announced in line with ongoing military reforms and were made after rounds of negotiations with the army, navy, air force, rocket force, regional military commands and military academies, PLA Daily reported, citing an unidentified officer from the department's Training Establishment Bureau.
The department has pledged to intensify supervision of military schools' admissions, the officer said, adding that officers and applicants' parents will be invited to monitor the admission process.
It also plans to revise the regulations on military schools' recruitment and students at such schools, PLA Daily said.
A researcher in the Human Resources Department at the PLA Xi'an Political Academy said the military reform will lead to an adjustment in the proportion of each PLA service and corresponding changes to the military's training systems.
As the PLA moves to implement President Xi Jinping's order for a troop reduction of 300,000, it is natural for the military to reduce the number of new officers, said the researcher, who asked not to be identified.
However, it must address the shortage of officers who have a deep knowledge of joint combat operations and advanced equipment, he said.
"We have developed and deployed many cutting-edge weapons, including some that are the best in the world, but there are not enough soldiers to use many of those advanced weapons," he said.
"In some cases, soldiers lack knowledge and expertise to make the best use of their equipment."