Learning from China – Dr Farrukh Saleem


Military-Civil Fusion (MCF) as a National Security Strategy (NSS) and as a National Development Strategy (NDS). This is what we need to learn from China. Military-Civil Fusion is a “national strategy of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to develop the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) into a ‘world class military’ by 2049.” What we need to learn from China is how to fuse Pakistan’s economic development plans and our social development plans with our National Security Strategy in order to come up with an ‘Integrated National Security System’.

Military-Civil Fusion is about the “elimination of barriers between China’s civilian research and commercial sectors, and its military and defense industrial sectors.” Military-Civil Fusion is about the simultaneous development of the civilian economy and the military. Military-Civil Fusion is a “strategy to enlist the private sector to help modernise the country’s defences and develop cutting-edge technologies.”

Military-Civil Fusion “encompasses six interrelated efforts: (1) fusing the China’s defence industrial base and its civilian technology and industrial base; (2) integrating and leveraging science and technology innovations across military and civilian sectors; (3) cultivating talent and blending military and civilian expertise and knowledge; (4) building military requirements into civilian infrastructure and leveraging civilian construction for military purposes; (5) leveraging civilian service and logistics capabilities for military purposes; and (6) expanding and deepening China’s national defence mobilization system to include all relevant aspects of its society and economy for use in competition and war.”

Military-Civil Fusion aims at harnessing “the capability of the country’s civilian sectors, including science, and technology, to advance China’s military, economic, and technological prowess.” We need to learn ‘civil-military integration’. We need to learn how China is breaking down the “barriers between the private sector, academia, research and technology and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA)”

President Xi Jinping established the Central Commission for Integrated Military and Civilian Development – and then took personal charge of the Military-Civil Fusion drive. The Military-Civil Fusion is now a key pillar of China’s National Security Strategy, the 13th Five-Year Plan, Made in China 2025, the National Innovation-Driven Development Strategy and the 13th Five-Year Plan for Integrated Development of Economic Construction and National Defense Construction. President Xi is pushing to ‘fuse the defence and commercial economies’ like it has never been done before.

Minds are at war. Pakistan faces multi-domain threats. We must learn from China. President Xi’s Military-Civil Fusion is a grand strategy to create a ‘techno-security state’. The war of the future will be a fusion “between artificial intelligence, biotechnology, space and machine learning.” The US has already formed the United States Army Futures Command. The US Department of Defence already has more than 22,000 robotic systems. The AI arms race has already attracted a hundred billion dollars.

War history stands witness that technologies are weaponized. China has her ‘China Brain Project’. Cold War II is about cyberspace, control of networks, cloud services and human-machine fusion. The character of war has moved from ‘informatization to intelligentization’. We must learn from China. We must learn to “leverage academic and commercial developments” in pursuit of our National Security Strategy.