The Ministry of National Defense (MOD) of the Government of the People's Republic of China is a ministry under the State Council. It is headed by the Minister of National Defense. The MOD was set up according to a decision adopted by the 1st Session of the 1st National People's Congress in 1954. In contrast to practice in other nations, the MOD does not exercise command authority over the People's Liberation Army (PLA), which is instead subordinate to the Central Military Commission (CMC). Instead, the MOD itself only serves as liaison body representing the CMC and PLA when dealing with foreign militaries in military exchange and cooperation.
Its official responsibilities had been to exercise unified administration over the development of the armed forces of the country such as recruitment, organization, equipment, training, scientific military research of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and the ranking and remuneration of the officers and servicemen. However, in reality these responsibilities are carried out by the four General Headquarters of the PLA, which are under the control of the CMC.
There are a number of departments under the Ministry of National Defence:
- General Office
- Foreign Affairs Office
- Peacekeeping Office
- Conscription Office
The Ministry of National Defence General Office is in fact the same body as the General Staff Department General Office. Other offices are also staffed by personnel from the General Staff Department.
Although the Ministry itself does not exercise much authority, the role of the Minister of National Defence has always been viewed as one of the most important positions in the country’s political system. The Minister is always an active military officer and is usually also a Vice Chairman of the CMC, a State Councilor and a member of the Communist Party's Central Committee, enabling him to take part in the decision making in the PLA, the Government and the Party.
List of Defense Minister