President Jiang Zemin has completed most preparations for a rejuvenated Central Military Commission that will lead the 2.5 million-strong People's Liberation Army into the 21st century. The reshuffle will be finalised at the 16th Communist Party Congress in 2002 or earlier. According to diplomatic sources, while it is likely Mr Jiang will remain commission chairman, he will give more authority to the newly appointed first vice-chairman, Vice-President Hu Jintao. Two commission members, head of the General Armaments Department General Cao Gangchuan and Chief of Staff Fu Quanyou, are expected to be promoted to vice-chairmen. They will replace the two ailing incumbent vice-chairmen, General Zhang Wannian and General Chi Haotian. General Cao, 63, a Jiang protege, is tipped to be rewarded with Politburo membership. General Fu, who at 68 will be the oldest man in the military to be allowed to remain at the PLA's top echelon, will probably assume the post of defence minister concurrently. 'Generals Cao and Fu will help the 56-year-old Hu run the army and ensure that the tradition of the party's absolute leadership over the PLA be carried forward,' said a Beijing-based military source. Other commission members who will retire during or before the 16th party congress are Chief Political Commissar General Yu Yongbo, his deputy General Wang Ruilin and Chief of Logistics General Wang Ke. The military source said the two generals inducted into the commission together with Mr Hu last month, Guo Boxiong and Xu Caihou, would be given 'major responsibilities'. General Guo, 57, a noted military theorist, will replace General Fu as chief of staff. General Xu, 56, who once headed the Liberation Army Daily, will take over the General Political Department from General Yu. Another officer, the Commander of the Beijing Military Region, General Li Xinliang, will shortly be elevated to the commission. General Li impressed Mr Jiang with his successful organisation of the National Day military parade in Beijing on October 1. It is expected General Li, 62, will succeed General Wang as head of the General Logistics Department. Meanwhile, the commission is finalising the budget plan for next year as well as for the 10th five-year plan period of 2001 to 2005. The bulk of the budget increase is expected to go on armaments-related research and development.