A major policy to beef up the PLA's reserves includes quicker mobilisation and a bigger role in safeguarding social stability. Deemed a 'major strategic decision of the Communist Party and the Central Military Commission', the new policy - to be introduced in Shanxi province this year - would organise future reserve units across local administrative boundaries, bringing in 'a larger reserve force in both scale and manpower', the Shanxi Daily said. The decision was made in the light of a campaign to cut the military by 500,000 by next year and the need to build a reserve force which could respond rapidly to a crisis, the article quoted Shanxi Communist Party Vice-Secretary Liu Zemin as saying. All levels of party and government authorities were required to provide support for the formation and training of the new reserve units 'in order to turn them into a crack force to safeguard social stability and economic work', said Mr Liu. Military sources said the move was partly aimed at absorbing the large number of laid-off workers in major cities in Shanxi province, such as Taiyuan and Datong, by putting them under the military establishment. Decommissioned soldiers in Shanxi had already been absorbed into the paramilitary armed police force in 1996, as the 8650 unit based in Taiyuan, said the source. China had about 40 divisional-level reserve units by 1998, said a source. Two of them were in Shanxi's Xinzhou and Yanbei prefectures. The first batch of reserve forces were put together in 1983 on the basis of local administrative units, such as prefecture and county. Provincial-level reserve divisions came into being in the late 1980s in Guangdong, a practice which was followed in the 1990s by Zhejiang, Fujian and Hainan provinces, the source said. Another commission decision has set out a major reform of the PLA logistics support framework by putting the operations of all three services - ground, naval and air force - under a united command, said the semi-official Hong Kong China News Agency.