Jeremy Rausch
Assistant Director
Political and Security Affairs

[email protected]

The People's Liberation Army (PLA): An Executive Education Course for Analysts and Practitioners

August 2022

The National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR) offered the third iteration of its three-day executive education course exploring the history, strategic culture, and increasingly global impact of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on August 17–19, 2022. Participants in this graduate-level course in Washington, D.C., joined a series of interactive seminar-style classes and lunch discussions, as well as a simulation exercise, as part of a curriculum shaped by world-class PLA specialists on one of the world’s most formidable militaries. Session topics ranged from technological modernization, doctrine, and operational concepts to recruitment, education, and the PLA’s five primary service branches. Chad Sbragia, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for China, served as senior mentor, providing key context and takeaways to participants throughout the course.

Chad Sbragia

Chad Sbragia
Course Senior Mentor

Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for China


The course’s varied curriculum, interactive format, and condensed schedule are tailored to meet the needs of military and civilian practitioners, industry leaders, and research professionals working on China-related security issues, allowing participants to develop a unique skillset to apply to everyday work in government and industry alike.

Session List (August 2022)
PLA History and Strategic Culture David Finkelstein, CNA Corporation
Civil-Military Relations Timothy Heath, RAND Corporation
Recruitment, Training, and Education Morgan Clemens, Exovera
Strategy, Doctrine, and Operational Concepts Chad Sbragia, Institute for Defense Analyses
PLA Organization and Reform Phillip Saunders, U.S. National Defense University
The PLA’s Air, Ground, and Naval Services Andrew Erickson, U.S. Naval War College
The PLA Strategic Support Force John Chen, Exovera
The PLA Rocket Force Tong Zhao, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Modernization, Technology, and Military-Civil Fusion Peter Wood, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command
The U.S. Factor in PLA Strategy Kristen Gunness, RAND Corporation