Chinese Tactics > Introduction

ATP 7-100.3, as part of the U.S. Army 7-100 series and in support of AR 350-2, addresses the tactics, organization, and activities of the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC’s) military, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). The PRC is a near-peer competitor to the United States, with significant political and strategic interests worldwide, though the PRC’s primary geographic focus is Eastern and Southeastern Asia and the Western Pacific. The PRC has developed significant capabilities in all domains: land, air, maritime, space, and cyberspace. Capabilities in specific operational environments include a number of different unit and system combinations able to challenge the combat power of U.S. and allied forces. The PLA represents a significant competitor to U.S. and allied forces, especially in the Western Pacific. This publication provides a doctrinal description of PLA tactics and organizations in order to facilitate robust, realistic, relevant, and challenging conditions in which to train U.S. and allied forces. 


Chapter 1 describes the strategic environment, operational environments, China’s political objectives, and its associated strategy. It then delves into China’s military forces: its philosophical underpinnings, principles, approach to conflict, operational framework, and system warfare. 

Chapter 2 describes the PLA’s force structure for its land combat components, an overview of its theaterlevel capabilities, and a discussion of tactical-level units such as brigades and battalions. 

Chapter 3 provides an overview of PLA joint capabilities that can affect tactical operations, including air forces, naval forces, rocket and missile forces, and specialized support forces. 

Chapter 4 describes the PLA’s primary framework for operations: system warfare, planning processes, control measures, command posts, and combat groups. 

Chapter 5 describes how the PLA approaches information operations, with an emphasis on actions at tactical echelons. 


Chapter 6 describes the PLA approach to reconnaissance, counterreconnaissance, and security in support of tactical operations at tactical echelons. 

Chapter 7 describes PLA offensive operations at tactical echelons and how the system warfare approach is applied in these actions. 

Chapter 8 describes PLA defensive operations at tactical echelons and how the system warfare approach is applied in in these actions. 

Chapter 9 describes the PLA approach to stability operations at tactical echelons and how the system warfare approach is applied during stability actions. 


Appendix A describes the capabilities and limitations of PLA maneuver forces: infantry, armor, marine, and airborne. 

Appendix B describes PLA indirect fire capabilities, including mortars, tube artillery, and rocket artillery in support of group army and tactical operations; this includes an overview of integrated fires systems. 

Appendix C describes PLA tactical air defense forces controlled by its land forces, including an overview of integrated air defense systems up to the group army echelon.

Appendix D describes how the PLA aviation assets—primarily rotary-wing manned aircraft and unmanned aircraft—support tactical operations. 

Appendix E describes the use of engineers and chemical defense forces in support of tactical operations. 

Appendix F describes the PLA’s communications and network architecture at the tactical level. 

Appendix G describes special operations forces both at tactical and national/strategic echelons. 


Units of measure in ATP 7-100.3 are metric. The introductory table provides conversion data from one measurement system to another for units used in this publication. 

Introductory Table. Unit conversions

Type Metric English
Distance 1 meter (m) 3.28084 feet
Distance 1 kilometer (km) 0.62137 miles
Weapon Bore Size 1 millimeter (mm) 0.03937 inches
Weapon Bore Size 1 millimeter (mm) 0.03937 caliber
Weight 1 kilogram (kg) 2.2046 pounds
Weight 1 metric ton (t) 1.1023 (U.S./short) tons


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