10 October 2013

The Relevant Organs: Institutional Factors behind China’s Gulf of Aden Deployment

Andrew S. Erickson and Austin M. Strange, The Relevant Organs: Institutional Factors behind China’s Gulf of Aden Deployment,” Jamestown Foundation China Brief 13.20 (10 October 2013).

Numerous institutional factors have driven and incentivized China’s participation in anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden. Central to executing China’s first instance of protracted Far Seas naval operations has been inter-agency coordination among the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) and other military and civil units and agencies. Beginning in 2008, Gulf of Aden operations have been designed and supported by an increasingly flat network of civil and military organs that collectively decide strategies, design and implement policies, and provide rear area support for the PLAN’s anti-piracy operations. This article will identify the main actors in this process, survey the gains achieved to date, and explain what these developments mean for broader Chinese military development.