By Chen Hui, reporter of Outlook Weekly (China Military Online)

May 16, 2013

BEIJING, May 15, (ChinaMil) -- China's digitalized troops used to be a core secret of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), but they were made known to the public in the Chinese white paper on national defense in 2013 through an authoritative channel.

The white paper entitled The Diversified Employment of China's Armed Forces published that the PLA Army is "prioritizing digitalized troops". The PLA Army is not "building" its digitalized troops but "prioritizing" them. Obviously, the Chinese military has had digitalized troops.

Supported by computers and networked by digital technologies, digitalized troops are essentially the ones that can acquire, transmit and process battlefield information, from individual soldier to commanders at all levels and from various combats and combat support to combat support systems. Digitalized troops can achieve the fastest acquisition of battlefield information, information resources sharing, the best combination of people and weaponry, and the maximum effectiveness of command by commanders over soldiers.

While military powers in the world are competing to develop digitalized troops, the Chinese military closely follows the world's military trend by building digitalized troops with Chinese characteristics. The reporter of the Outlook Weekly learnt that the digitalized armored force and the digitalized infantry of the PLA have begun to take shape following the building of the digitalized artillery test troops.

However, the Chinese military has its own orientation and direction, and is very different from western militaries, such as the United States Armed Forces, in developing digitalized troops. Due to low starting point and limited national strength, the Chinese military can not develop large-scale and complete test troops like the U.S. Armed Forces, but focuses on the key links in the building of digitalized troops, that is, "information acquisition, command and control, and collaborative support", and synchronize the development of mechanization and informatization.