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

November 3-5, 2021

China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is an increasingly global actor that is reshaping the geopolitical landscape, shifting the balance of power in the Indo-Pacific region, and stressing America’s global security commitments and relationships with allies and partners. In light of this growing role, the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR) offered a three-day executive education course exploring the history, strategic culture, and impact of the PLA on November 3–5, 2021.

This graduate-level course in Washington, D.C., comprised a series of interactive seminar-style classes, discussion sessions focused on research methods, and simulation exercises, as well as remarks from current and former senior defense officials. Drawing on NBR’s longstanding role as the facilitator of the annual Carlisle PLA Conference, the seminar convened world-class PLA specialists to shape the curriculum and lead each session. Topics covered ranged from technological modernization and recruitment to strategic doctrine, operational concepts, and land- and sea-based contingency scenarios.

The course’s varied curriculum, interactive format, and condensed schedule were 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.

Instructor List
Strategic Culture, History, and Geography

David Finkelstein, CNA Corporation

Civil-Military Relations: The Role of the PLA in the Chinese Party-State

Andrew Scobell, United States Institute of Peace

Strategy, Doctrine, and Operational Concepts

Alison Kaufman, CNA Corporation

Organization and Reform

Joel Wuthnow, Georgetown University

Services 1.0: Roles & Missions

Caitlin Campbell, Congressional Research Service

Services 2.0: Roles & Missions

Joe McReynolds, SOS International

Recruitment, Training, and Education

Dennis Blasko, U.S. Army (Ret.)
The U.S. Factor in PLA Strategy

Kristen Gunness, RAND Corporation

Modernization, Technology, and Military-Civil Fusion

Elsa Kania, Center for a New American Security

Maritime Strategy & Contingencies

Oriana Skylar Mastro, Stanford University

Land-Based Strategy & Contingencies

Cortez A. Cooper III, RAND Corporation