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Friday, March 09, 2018, 13:33 (GMT+7)
Defensive zone exercise of Nam Dinh province - outcomes and lessons

Defensive zone exercise is an important part in the building and operation of the provincial and municipal defensive zone. Clearly understanding that, over the past years, Nam Dinh province has put much focus on the leadership and direction of specialized maneuvers via synchronous and practical solutions.

Thoroughly grasping the viewpoints of the Party, the Military Central Commission and the Ministry of National Defense on the building and operation of the provincial and municipal defensive zone, Nam Dinh province has focused the comprehensive leadership and direction on its assignments in order to successfully implement that important mission, with great importance attached to the maneuvers of provincial departments, branches, and localities. The Provincial Military Command (PMC) has offered counsels to the provincial Party Committee and People’s Committee in building and implementing the project “to organize district-level defensive zone maneuvers, combat support maneuvers of provincial departments and branches, and the commune-level defensive maneuvers in the 2017- 2020 period”. Accordingly, in 2017, the Province directed two types of specialized exercises which were highly appreciated by the Military Region 3, including: the defensive support exercises regarding the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Department of Health, and defensive zone maneuvers of Giao Thuy and Xuan Truong districts; and the exercise of disaster prevention and control, search and rescue of Nghia Hung district.

Handling the situation in the exercise of the Department of Agriculture
and Rural Development

In order to make the exercises successful, the PMC actively advised the provincial People’s Committee to promulgate plans and decisions on the establishment of steering boards, executing boards, and assisting sub-boards for the exercises. At the same time, conferences to grasp and assign tasks to the participating forces were held, while the work of propagation and education was promoted to render cadres, party members, civil servants, and people fully aware of the exercises’ purposes and requirements, thereby creating a sense of unity and responsibility, and building determination in task performance. As a result, the combined strength of the entire political system, levels, branches, forces and the entire people in the exercises was brought into play. Previous maneuvers revealed that although the staff of provincial departments and sectors grasped the operating order and steps, they exposed limitations in “role playing”, and the settlement of the situations was not relevant to reality, local particularities and nature of military and defense tasks. Therefore, the PMC advised the Provincial Steering Committee for Exercises to organize 3 training courses for nearly 700 cadres engaging in the exercises. The training contents were focused on process, order and steps of an exercise as well as measures to overcome the weaknesses of previous drills, with emphasis placed on concretizing the Prime Minister's Decision 17/2012/QD-TTg on March 26th, 2012, on "The regulations on the operation of the forces in the defensive zone". Simultaneously, the PMC also cooperated with the Departments of Health, and Agriculture and Rural Development as well as relevant agencies to work out the exercise’s intentions, then submit to the Military Region 3’s High Command for approval, and to draft hundreds of documents for directing and operating the maneuvers in accordance with regulations and the intentions. It is worth noting that, on the basis of the functions and tasks of departments, branches and local situations, the PMC advised the Provincial Party Committee and People's Committee to direct their agencies to organize exercises at their levels in a close, comprehensive but focalized manner. For the exercise of the Department of Health, focuses were on mobilizing forces and means to set up field hospitals; on receiving, handling and curing war invalids and diseased soldiers to ensure the combat in the provincial defensive area; on deploying the team of surgeons of the Department of Recovery and Surgery to provide emergency aid for wounded and diseased soldiers, and conducting the treatment of war invalids and diseased soldiers at Departments of Surgery, Internal Medicine, Radiology and Tests. For the exercise of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, focuses were on instructing fishermen to steer their boats and vessels to storm–avoiding and sheltering anchorage, and on conducting search and rescue operations on rivers and estuaries, and on repairing dykes, embankments, sewers in critical positions. For the defensive area exercises of Giao Thuy and Xuan Truong districts, the PMC advised the province to assign officials to participate in directing boards and to execute the exercises simultaneously in the same defensive direction of the province.

During the exercise execution, the Province instructed agencies and units to thoroughly grasp mechanisms in accordance with the Resolution 28-NQ/TW by the Politburo (10th tenure). The PMC advised the provincial departments to deploy their cadres into the exercise structure based on their assigned positions and responsibilities. At the same time, it actively gave instructions on content and method of the staff work to those cadres in each period; on content related to direction and organization of the forces of the provincial departments and branches whose operations were changed into the states of national defense, and to coordination and combat support. As a result, during the exercises, the mechanism in which the Party provides leadership, the authority is responsible for management, military and police offices, branches, sectors and organizations offer the counsels and directly perform the defense and security tasks was clearly demonstrated. Especially, following the guidelines of the Military Region on organization of the exercises in combination with construction of defense projects serving socio-economic development, the Province directed the combat support exercise of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to be attached to the improvement of critical dykes and embankments in key positions before rainy seasons. Similarly, the exercise of the Department of Health was carried out in tandem with the provision of free medical examination and medicine to policy beneficiaries in the area. And the defensive zone exercises of Xuan Truong and Giao Thuy districts were combined with the construction of trenches, fortifications, and battlefields within their defensive areas, and with the repair of roads, contributing to the building of new rural areas.

Search and rescue operations in the exercise of Nghia Hung district

Field training exercise serves as the integrated and comprehensive demonstration of the capacity of leadership, direction, operation and coordination of departments, branches and localities in ensuring the defensive zone operations. The Province selected appropriate content, especially in mobilizing part of the district agencies and departments, sectors, branches and organizations into headquarters; in fighting the air-landing enemy in a district-level defensive zone exercise; in deploying basic medical team in the field, practicing medical treatment for war invalids and people; in instructing fishermen to steer boats and vessels into sheltering anchorage, and conducting search and rescue operations on rivers and sea during the exercises of the departments. Those are also the elements requiring a lot of efforts and human resources with high intensity and the usage of a variety of weapons, equipment and means. However, thanks to careful preparation, the forces well cooperated with each other during the exercises, meeting the preset objectives and requirements, and ensuring the absolute safety of people, weapons and equipment.

Through the exercises, the Province has drawn theoretical and practical lessons on building defensive areas while examining and evaluating the leadership and operation capability of the party committees and authorities at all levels, the advisory role of departments and branches, as well as the level of commanding, coordination and cooperation among forces in the defensive zone. The process of preparation and practice of the exercise is the process of fostering and training the cadres in charge at all levels. This is also a chance for the local armed forces to show their capability of acting as consultants, as well as their key role in performing the military, defense and security tasks. Thus, that has contributed to strengthening the people's faith in the Party and local authorities, making the "people's hearts and minds posture" increasingly stronger, facilitating socio-economic development, and enhancing national defense and security potential in the area.

However, the work of propaganda to raise cadres, party members and people’s awareness of the task of exercise execution has yet to be extensive. Agencies and units’ grasp and preparation of the exercise content at the early stage was still slow while some documents were not relevant to the reality, the characteristics of the situation, the requirements and tasks of departments, branches and localities, thereby their feasibility was not high. In the exercise of the mechanism operation, the conferences have yet to show the urgency of wartime conditions while proposed content and measures have yet to be specific. When handling the situations, some forces were still slow while the coordination among departments was not harmonious and prompt. From the practice and the outcomes of the exercises, the Province has drawn a number of lessons as follows.

Firstly, to bring into full play the leadership, direction, management and administration of the Party committees and authorities at all levels in a timely manner to concretize the higher echelons’ directives, resolutions and guidance on national defense and security tasks into programs and plans relevant to characteristics and conditions of departments, branches and localities. That is the basis to conduct the work of political and ideological education, creating a sense of unity and responsibility among cadres, party members and people towards the task of building provincial defensive area in general, and the exercises in particular. Importance should be attached to improving the quality and efficiency of defense and security education, especially for officials of all levels and key cadres of departments, branches and localities.

Secondly, to make elaborate preparations from human resources to facilities and expense. In this regard, due attention should be paid to the introduction of the exercise, the assignment of specific responsibilities to each department, each member participating in the exercise, as well as the organization of training courses for the components. At the same time, it is necessary to implement the mechanism in which the leadership belongs to the Party, the operation and management belong to authorities, and the consultancy and execution belong to agencies, branches and sectors with the military and police forces as the core.

Thirdly, the timing of the exercises should be appropriate while the exercise content should be practical and relevant to the conditions of localities and units, avoiding wastefulness and formalism and not affecting the other tasks of localities and branches. Particularly, it is important to focus on selecting and setting up the situations, ensuring the practicality, and being in line with functions and tasks of each department and branch.

Fourthly, to reform form and method to organize exercises, making them suitable with practical requirements, and to intensify inspection and evaluation of the exercises in an objective and practical manner. After each exercise, it is vital to draw lessons to enhance the effectiveness of building and consolidating defensive area. At the same time, collectives and individuals with good performance in the exercises should be opportunely commended and rewarded.

Senior Colonel Luong Van Kiem, Deputy Commander, Chief of Staff of the Provincial Military Command

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