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Tuesday, March 12, 2019, 07:01 (GMT+7)
Foundation and operation of the standing militia force to protect southwest border

The southwest area has 204 kilometres of boundary line spreading over three provinces, namely Dong Thap, An Giang, and Kien Giang. It is adjacent to Cambodia and key to defence and security posture of the 9th Military Region. The political, security situation and social order and safety in this area still witness potentially complex, unforeseeable problems. The hostile forces usually exploit ethnic, religious issues to bribe, embroil, and incite people from ethnic minorities and religious followers in the border areas. Violations of cultivated land and residence, smuggling, crimes, illegal border crossing, etc., continue to witness complex developments.

Against such backdrop, the 9th Military Region Party Committee’s Standing Board determines that “strengthening the building and protection of borders is an urgent and enduring mission. Special attention must be paid to making border communes comprehensively strong in the realms of politics, economy, culture, society, national defence, security, and foreign relations; building robust local armed forces, especially the militia force in border communes, laying the foundation for building firm district and provincial defensive zones, which are capable of responding to any contingencies to protect territorial integrity, sovereignty, national border security, achievements, and people’s life.” To implement the aforementioned policy, the Military Region Party Committee’s Standing Board and the Military Region Command have invested efforts in resolving a number of issues, including instructing provinces of Dong Thap, An Giang, and Kien Giang to establish and maintain the operation of the standing militia force’s posts within areas inhabited by border residents with the aim of reassuring people, making contribution to building military postures of combat villages and communes and improving the defence of boundary lines.

Strictly adhering to instruction of the Ministry of National Defence and Military Region on the construction of defensive zones, border provinces have built their forces in line with practical situation, particularly the establishment, organizational consolidation, and staffing of mobile militia force in key border areas; and focused on building standing militia force’s posts in border districts and communes. The Military Region directs localities to establish border militia force’s posts according to the plans to build military postures and operational concepts of border provinces and districts in accordance with points d’appui, groups of points d’appui, defensive zones, and areas of battlefield and combat support for units of the main force, border guard, and local military force within the common posture to safeguard the southwest border of the Military Region. Having been instructed by the Military Region, the party committees and authorities of local departments, branches, unions, and people in the three provinces, especially 8 border districts and 33 communes, were unanimous in and actively expedited implementation. Local military organizations have taken initiative in advising party committees and authorities to lead, instruct, and work out projects and plans to build militia force’s posts in border communes. An Giang province establishes one platoon in each border district and one insufficient standing militia platoon (apart from the mobile militia platoon) in each commune. Beside the mobile militia platoons, there is a standing militia section in each commune or ward of Dong Thap province. Kien Giang province builds one mobile standing militia platoon in each border district and one or two standing militia sections in each border commune. Localities have completed the establishment of 31 militia force’s posts so far. Dong Thap province has built 3 posts in border communes, in which some posts are attached to groups of points d’appui of battalions of the local force. An Giang has established 20 military force’s posts in border communes, in which several posts are attached to posts of the border guard and fire posts of units of the local force. Kien Giang province has constructed 8 militia force’s posts, which are mainly along the boundary lines of Giang Thanh district and Ha Tien town. These posts possess basic elements such as accommodation and some defensive work, including command shelters, blockhouses, shelters, and communication trenches, satisfying technical and tactical requirements of the militia force’s combat activities.

The instruction and command of the standing border militia force and militia posts have become good order and witnessed fundamental changes. Military commands of border communes and militia force’s posts have fully developed readiness plans and documents, thereby improving political and security situation and social order and safety. The militia force’s posts have become the backbone of working people, enabling cross-border interactions and solidarity. Through their operation, the standing militia force and posts have well conducted coordination with local departments, branches, and unions to propagandize and mobilize people to realize guidelines of the Party and policies and law of the State on the protection of national borders. The militias from border localities regularly coordinate with the Border Guard, Public Security, and relevant forces to safeguard the national borders and landmarks; prevent violation of boundary lines and territories, illegal border crossings, immigration, residence, and exploitation of natural resources as well as acts that encroach upon national sovereignty and interests; proactively struggle to deter and defeat the hostile forces’ sabotage schemes; counter smuggling and illegal transportation of weapons, explosives, drugs, and harmful culture; and inspect imports and exports across the borders as provided by law and other crimes relating to violation of security, politics, order, and safety in border areas. In addition, the standing militia force and posts have well coordinated with other forces to help people overcome consequences of natural disasters, work, develop economy, and stabilize their life.

The establishment and operation of militia force’s posts to defend southwest border is application of realities of wars. It also derives from pragmatic demands of military and defence work in the building of defensive zones and maintenance of political security and social order and safety on boundary lines. Initial results of building the standing militia force’s posts are well worth considering. Nevertheless, there remain some shortcomings, namely direct influence of terrain, population, administrative units, economy, society, political security, and social order and safety on the development and operation of the militia force’s posts in charge of safeguarding borders. Some issues pertaining to the establishment, organization, and staffing of the militia force’s posts have not been fully regulated by legal documents yet. The staffing and organization of the standing militia force and posts responsible for defending borders are not consistent. Material conditions and budgets allocated for the construction of militia force’s posts remain limited.

In view of the above, it can be said that this is a feasible solution to the building of the masses’ armed forces at grass-roots level in peace time. To enhance integrated quality and readiness of the militia force, especially the posts on the southwest boundary line, in the forthcoming time, local party committees and authorities and military organizations of border provinces in this area need to promote instruction and well realize the following measures:

First, well performing ideological work to generate unified awareness and heighten responsibility of local levels, departments, branches, unions, and people for the building of standing militia force’s posts in border areas. The military organizations at all levels closely coordinate with functional agencies to strengthen propaganda and education to make party committees, authorities, and unions at various levels and people, particularly those in border communes, deeply perceive viewpoints and policies of the Party and State on the building of robust provincial and district defensive zones. Additionally, it is necessary to understand correctly the hostile forces’ sabotage nature and plots against our country, especially the border areas; and clearly comprehend the importance and necessity of the establishment of standing militia force’s posts in border areas, thus determining responsibility of local levels, departments, branches, unions, and people for implementing this mission.

Second, improving leading and combat strength of party organizations and managerial efficiency of local authorities in accordance with requirements of the building and operation of militia force’s posts in charge of defending the borders. It is also important to regularly lead and direct the coordination between forces within the defensive zones with a view to bringing into play the integrated strength to build and operate the militia force’s posts in the border areas while concentrating on robust militia force’s posts, who possess political steadfastness and strength and weapons consonant with capabilities of localities.

Third, closely aligning the planning of building the militia force’s posts with residential areas protecting borders within postures of provincial, urban defensive zones to set up attacking and retaining positions and create a firm, uninterrupted posture commensurate with terrain, weather, climate, hydrology, and operation in border areas. The construction of the militia force’s posts, including fortifications, battlefield, military trenches, communication trenches, accommodation, internal lanes, and production areas must be synchronous, meeting the requirements for tactics, techniques, and settlement of situations in both peacetime and wartime.

Fourth, developing training and drilling plans of the militia force’s posts responsible for defending the borders in a close alignment with the characteristics of anniversaries and operational areas, particularly in the realms of terrain, weather, people’s living conditions, and defence security situations. Local party committees and authorities need to pay attention to acquiring materials, weapons, and equipment; constructing training grounds; and creating favourable conditions for the militia’s posts to participate in large-scale exercises in the locality and exercises hosted by units of the main force deployed on the border lines. At the same time, it is necessary to carry out policies as may be prescribed by current legal norms. Military organizations at all levels are responsible for estimating and finalizing training budget while well implementing sound compensation and benefit policies and seeking appropriate solutions to “feed” the standing militia force at posts effectively and properly, thus encouraging and bringing into play the role of the standing militia force’s posts in safeguarding the borders in peacetime, contributing to firmly defending the national borders in any situations.

Major General Truong Minh Khai, Deputy Commander, Chief of Staff of the 9th Military Region

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