The 43-year-old will succeed Yin Tiesheng, who has run the national team since December on an interim basis, according to a short announcement on the CFA's official website.
The press had identified Gao as the frontrunner to lead the national side in its campaign for the upcoming AFC Asian Cup 2011. He has coached club teams in Beijing, Guangzhou and Singapore and has proven popular with players.
Gao will take over a national side that was eliminated from 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualifying in the preliminary rounds late last year.
Chinese football appeared to be on the rise in 2004, when the side coached by Dutchman Arie Haan finished as runners-up in the Asian Cup on home soil.
"It is the most important mission and challenge in my life, coaching the national team of the motherland is the highest honour for a football coach," said Gao.
"If I were not confident that I could revive Chinese football I would not have applied for this job. I will take up the historical task of football revival in China together with my team."
Gao's first match in charge will be against Germany in Shanghai on 29 May, followed by further friendlies against Asian sides Saudi Arabia and Iran in early June.
"The three friendlies are certainly the most practical goal for us, but only a short-term goal," he continued. "If the new national team want to be supported by the people, we have to display positive changes in the matches to show that we are going in the right direction."