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Melanie Berry
Senior Project Manager
Political and Security Affairs

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

Spring 2022


Chad Sbragia

Chad Sbragia
Course Senior Mentor

Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for China

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) held the second iteration of its three-day executive education course exploring the history, strategic culture, and impact of the PLA on April 20-22, 2022. Chad Sbragia, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for China, served as the course’s Senior Mentor.

This graduate-level course in Washington, D.C., comprises a series of interactive seminar-style classes, lunch discussions, 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 PLA Conference, the course convenes world-class PLA specialists to shape the curriculum and lead each session. Topics covered range from technological modernization and recruitment to strategic doctrine, operational concepts, and contingency scenarios.

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 (Spring 2022)
PLA History and Strategic Culture
Civil-Military Relations: The Role of the PLA in the Chinese Party-State
Recruitment, Training, and Education
Strategy, Doctrine, and Operational Concepts
Organization and Reform
The PLA Air, Ground, and Naval Services
The PLA Rocket Force
The PLA Strategic Support Force
Modernization, Technology, and Military-Civil Fusion
The U.S. Factor in PLA Strategy