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Leadership: China Cripples Naval Officers


Valin

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July 18, 2020:

When dealing with Chinese navy or coast guard ships foreign naval commanders have learned to take into account the dual command structure of Chinese crews. In effect Chinese warships except for smaller (less than 2,000 tons) ones have dual commanders and a naval command system that is more premeditated and slower to respond to unexpected conditions.

(Snip)

Unlike the Russian naval zampolit, the Chinese counterpart, called a political commissar is considered the equal of the regular naval commander and when it comes to a “special mission”, like deliberately harassing foreign warships or opening fire on anyone. The political commissar is the same rank as the ship captain and can overrule the ship commander at any time and in any situation. It was not always that way.

An important change took place in 2018, when naval political commissars were given equal authority with the captain as “mission commander” and is expected to replace the captain if the captain is disabled by injury or sickness. The normal second-in-command (the XO or executive officer) becomes the XO for the political commissar and the captain and third, not second, in command. The practical problem with this is that the captain and XO have spent their entire careers (fifteen or more years) learning how to run a ship and supervise the crew. In contrast the political commissar learned enough tech stuff to be more annoying. The political commissar was a professional busybody, scold and snitch. The political commissar can end the career of the captain, XO or any other officer by simply making a series of uncomplimentary reports.

 

The 2018 change was part of a program that began in 2016 throughout the military as the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) sought to improve its control over the military.................(Snip)

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Dual Command...What Could Possibly Go Wrong!

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