Knowledge Systems has developed a series of courses intended for the full range of national security and defense industry professionals, from frontline troops of the uniformed services to the seniormost corporate leaders and policy makers seeking to better understand critical topics such as Communist China’s armed forces and Taiwan’s armed forces.​

Instructor-led training is available to support and supplement web-based training. Further in-depth review, analysis and discussion can enhance the quality of training and can be available onsite at varying classification levels depending on government requirements.

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The training courses below establish a common, foundational baseline for newcomers to the Sino-US and Indo-Pacific mission sets, either as stand-alone instruction or in preparation for more in-depth, China-specific academic, warfighting, or tradecraft training.​ The three-part series on China and associated Introduction to Taiwan’s Armed Forces were created by defense and intelligence practitioners and informed by direct sources, including declassified intelligence, to most quickly, efficiently, and effectively raise an individual’s acumen on the armed forces of Communist China and its democratic rival across the Taiwan Strait.


Introduction to China’s Armed Forces: Ancient Empire to Communist Revolution

Academics often link key events in human history to the cultural or political powers that were dominant at the time.  In China, the periods marked by the rise, rule, and fall of imperial dynasties serve as the most common frame of reference up to the nationalist revolution of 1911.  The first part of this course will focus on those imperial time periods during which some of China’s most noteworthy and enduring developments in the military domain occurred. Studying this period is key to understanding the political and military doctrine in China. The second and third parts of the course will explore China’s tumultuous years of post-imperial transformation. After rejecting centuries of monarchy, politicians and warlords fought for dominance while foreign, colonial powers exploited China’s weakness.  China’s populace endured a near-constant state of socio-economic disruption fueled by political violence, civil war, and invasion.  The successes and failures of key leaders from the founding of the republic through World War Two, both on and off the battlefield, helped set the conditions that led to the ultimate victory of the Chinese Communist Party that rules the country today.​


Introduction to China’s Armed Forces: The Mao Era

Chinese Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong ruled the People’s Republic of China from 1949 until his death in 1976.  The second course in our introduction series highlights how Mao and his comrades’ revolutionary experience, political philosophy, and vision for post-War China shaped the evolution of its armed forces. From the CCP’s consolidation of power on the mainland, to its decisive role in the Korean War, the first module describes the People’s Liberation Army’s gradual transition from a patchwork of revolutionary formations to a deliberately structured national force. The second part explores China’s attempt to broaden its conventional capabilities and improve its overall military self-sufficiency during the early years of the Cold War   Finally, the third module highlights key military developments—and setbacks—during the decade of societal upheaval and isolationism instigated by Mao himself: The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.


Introduction to China’s Armed Forces: Modernization and Ascendency

The third course in the series will explore China’s path to military modernization. As China recovered from the tumult of the Cultural Revolution, it faced a growing array of national security threats that once again far surpassed its capabilities.  China’s new paramount leader, Deng Xiaoping, recognized the need to rebuild the country’s armed forces as well as reform and revitalize its economy.  The three modules of this course cover the drivers and milestones of China’s long march to a technically advanced military that can challenge the US across multiple warfighting domains. Beginning with its war against Vietnam in 1979 through subsequent clashes in the South China Sea and escalating crises on the Taiwan Strait, the instruction culminates in an overview of the characteristics and capabilities of the People’s Liberation Army today and potential flashpoints for conflict on the horizon.


Introduction to Taiwan’s Armed Forces

This course provides an overview of the leaders, crises, and geopolitical factors that shaped the priorities, capabilities, and identity of Taiwan’s armed forces since the Chinese Nationalists’ evacuation from the mainland in 1949 to the present day.  Beginning with the martial law era and Chiang Kai-shek’s dream of rebuilding a military that could reunite China by force, the three modules cover the implications of the Korean Conflict, cooperation with the US throughout the Cold War, and multiple crises on the Taiwan Strait in parallel with democratization and demographic change on the island.  The class can be taken as stand-alone instruction or best as a follow-on to Introduction to China’s Armed Forces: Ancient Empire to Communist Revolution.