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Ministry of National Defence


The Ministry of National Defence (MND), acting for the State Council, was set up according to a decision adopted by the 1st Session of the 1st National People's Congress in 1954. Its primary responsibilities are to exercise unified administration over the building of the armed forces of the country such as the recruiting, organisational setup, equipment, training, military scientific research of the people's armed forces and the ranking and remuneration of the officers and men. However, in reality these responsibilities are carried out by the four General Headquarters of the PLA, which are under the control of the Central Military Commission (CMC). Therefore the MND itself does not have any power and is merely serving as a liaison body representing the CMC and PLA in foreign military exchange and cooperation.

Despite the fact that the MND only exists in name, the Minister of National Defence role has always been viewed as one of the most important positions in the country’s political system. Usually the Minister of National Defence is also acting as the Vice Chairman of the CMC, the State Councilor, and a member of the Communist Party’s Central Committee Politburo, enabling him to take part in the decision making in the PLA, the Government, and the Party.

There are a number of organs under the umbrella of the Ministry of National Defence:

  • General Office
  • Foreign Affair Office
  • Peace Keeping Office
  • Conscript Office

The Ministry of National Defence General Office of the is in fact the same organ as the General Staff Department General Office. Other offices are also staffed by personnel from the General Staff Department.

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