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Thursday, January 11, 2018, 07:13 (GMT+7)
Ho Chi Minh City’s armed forces employ valuable lessons in building all-people national defense

In the 1968 Spring General Offensive and Uprising, Saigon – Gia Dinh was a focal and fierce battlefield where for the first time in the anti-American resistance war for national salvation, our people and armed forces had simultaneously, boldly and unexpectedly struck the enemy’s strongholds, dealing a heavy blow to the will of the American imperialists, leading their strategy of “local warfare” to failure, forcing them to negotiate with us at the Paris Conference, and bringing the Southern revolutionary movement to a new stage of development.

The 1968 Spring General Offensive and Uprising was marked as a shining symbol of revolutionary heroism in the history of our people’s anti-American resistance war for national salvation. Its victory, which was considered as the symbol of our people’s will of the Fatherland reunification and aspiration for peace, independence, and freedom under the Party’s leadership, was resulted from the people’s war policy and Vietnamese military art. The General Offensive and Uprising has taught us valuable lessons about promoting all-people strength in operations, of which the core element was the three-category armed forces. In the cause of today’s homeland building and safeguarding, those lessons, which still remain invaluable, are thoroughly used in building strong all–people national defense by Ho Chi Minh City’s armed forces.

First, bring into play strength of all people with the city’s armed forces as the core element in defense and security education, fostering the building of the strong posture of “people’s hearts and minds”. In the 1968 Spring General Offensive and Uprising, through the revolutionary movement of the masses, we brought into full play and closely combined the power of the armed forces with that of the people in military and political struggles. All activities of the armed forces were wholeheartedly supported by the people, especially during the process of preparation and fight inside the city. Local people were active in guiding the routes, supplying the foodstuff, evacuating casualties, caring for and hiding wounded soldiers, propagating and agitating the enemy, etc. Despite the violence of the war, tens of thousands of people took part in the campaign with unprecedented magnanimous impetus, being willing to sacrifice everything for the cause of revolution.

At present, Ho Chi Minh City’s armed forces continue to uphold that spirit to build strong all–people national defense in the area. It is necessary for military Party committees and agencies at all levels to raise their responsibilities in actively offering counsels to local Party committees and authorities on leading and directing the propaganda of the Party’s military and national defense policies and standpoints; and promoting defense and security education. Thereby, it helps consolidate the affection towards patriotism and socialism, the spirit of national unity, the faith as well as the attachment to the regime and the Party. Especially, the City’s promotion of the education of traditions is targeted at pupils and students so that they are able to penetrate with national history as well as the great losses and sacrifices of previous generations; to have confidence in and be proud of the Party, President Ho Chi Minh, and the heroic Vietnamese People’s Army and people. Therefore, the youth – the City’s future generation is motivated to bring into full play their pioneering and creative role in the cause of national building and safeguarding.

A defense and security course held by the City’s Council for Defense and Security Education on November 14th, 2017 (photo:

Besides, the City’s Party Committee and High Command also strengthen leadership and direction over their functional agencies in offering the counsels to local Party committees and authorities on the implementation of the Party’s guidelines as well as the State’s policies and laws on national defense, such as: the Law on National Defense, the Law on Military Service, the Policy on Military rear, etc., to achieve the consensus in terms of the awareness and responsibilities of cadres, party members and people on national defense task and national safeguarding. The City’s armed forces intensify their cooperation with local authorities to well implement public relations, help the people reduce poverty sustainably and build new rural areas; prevent and fight natural disasters as well as their consequences, carry out rescue and relief work; prevent and fight against crime, and build safe areas. Therefore, the close relationship between military and people as well as the people’s faith in the Army, the Party and the State are consolidated. At the same time, the City’s armed forces also effectively fight against and expose the wrong and hostile viewpoints which intentionally distort historical events and falsify the nature, the significance and the stature of the victory of the anti–American resistance war, for national salvation, including the 1968 Spring General Offensive and Uprising.

Second, the City’s armed forces proactively promote their key role in building strong defensive zone, making it the basis for building all–people national defense and people’s security. The most outstanding feature of the 1968 Spring General Offensive and Uprising was the resonant effect of surprisingly simultaneous attacks on all three strategic fields under the people’s war posture. Consequently, we carried out fights against the enemy both widely and intensively, reducing them to passivity. In particular, the city’s Rangers suddenly penetrated into and struck important targets that the enemy regarded as inviolable ones such as the US Embassy, the Presidential Palace, the Radio Station, the General Staff headquarters, etc. Applying that lesson, the City’s Military Party Committee and High Command strongly offer the counsels to the Municipal Party Committee and People’s Committee on accelerating the building of defensive zone in accordance with the 10th Politburo’s Resolution 28–NQ/TW, the 11th Secretariat Committee’s Directive 07–CT/TW and the Government’s Decree 152/NĐ–CP, promoting the combined strength of the entire political system in building strong defensive zone. Accordingly, the plans and programs on infrastructure planning served for the City’s economic, cultural and social development such as: industrial parks and clusters, clusters of residential areas, transportation network, are all assessed by the functional agencies so that they do not interfere with the task of national defense and security. The City’s authority pays special attention to the investment in the field of training as well as the research and production of products with high scientific and technological content. It also implement many dual-use projects and programs which serve both the task of economic development and the task of national defense and security when necessary, contributing to the enhancement of the defensive zone’s potential. The City’s High Command gives advice to its People’s Committee in the implementation of the Prime Minister’s Directive 12/2008/CT-TTg on developing plan to meet the demand for national defense in the first year of war. Simultaneously, it directs the functional agencies to survey the capacity of industry and small-scale industry within the city in order to figure out the orientation of supplementing and developing each type of product to meet the requirements of the task of national defense when necessary. Military units at all levels closely cooperate with functional departments and agencies, especially the Police and the Border Guard in preventing, fighting against, then leading all hostile forces’ plots and sabotages to failure. The cooperation should be ensured to deal with non-traditional security threats, making contribution to maintaining political stability, social order and safety as well as creating conditions for sustainable economic development.

Third, constantly improve the combined quality and fighting power of the armed forces. During the 1968 Spring General Offensive and Uprising, the armed forces have brought into play their pivotal role and closely cooperated with the masses in combat preparation and fighting. In the current cause of national safeguarding, their pivotal role is more important and decisive. Thoroughly grasping that, the City’s Military Party Committee and High Command place great stress on making the armed forces politically, ideologically, and organizationally strong, building them into a truly loyal and believable political force of local Party committee, authority and people. In agencies and units, the political and ideological education is regularly introduced, and the project of “Renovating political education at units in the new period” is effectively implemented. Party committees and organizations at all levels focus on improving comprehensive leadership capacity and combat capability, effectively implementing the Resolution of Party Central Committee’s 4th Plenum (12th  tenure) on Party building and rectification, the 12th Politburo’s Directive 05–CT/TW on the acceleration of studying and following Uncle Ho’s thought, morality, and lifestyle via practical and concrete activities; promoting the implementation of Patriotic and Determined to Win emulation movements. As a result, the City’ armed forces are built to possess strong political will and faith in the Party’s leadership; contributing to actively preventing the manifestations of degradation in political ideology, morality, lifestyle, “self–evolution”, “self–transformation” within its components.

The active units are made “revolutionary, standardized, elite, and gradually modernized”; whilst the “elite, compact, strong” orientation is applied to their organization in order to create balance among components, meeting the requirements of the tasks. The reserve force is built with high quality, first and foremost in political one. It also is strictly organized and managed to ensure timely mobilization when requested. The militia and self-defense force is built according to the Law on Militia and Self-Defense Forces with the guideline "strong and diffuse", ensuring quality, quantity and reasonable ratio. In particular, the city attaches great importance to the organization of coastal militia, self-defense and anti-aircraft defense and self-defense in enterprises outside the state sector. At present, the city is focusing on effective implementation of 3 projects on militia and self-defense forces; in which, greater importance is attached to the building of commune-level military command and staff as well as the training at college and university levels majoring in local military for the cadres; creating a breakthrough in quality of this force. Training and practice are always attached to the operational options in the area, especially the ones for prevention of riot and terrorism as well as of civil defense. At the same time, due attention is paid to strict maintenance of the combat readiness, regular building, discipline management, logistics and technical assurance, thereby improving the combat capability and strength of the City’s armed forces.

Fourth, promote defense diplomacy, actively contributing to the comprehensive development of the city. It was showed in the fact that the significance and stature of the 1968 Spring General Offensive and Uprising was multiplied thanks to the strong support from the socialist nations and progressive people all over the world. That was also the victory of our Party's foreign policy. Ho Chi Minh City is a major center of economics, culture, science and technology, a focal point of exchanges with countries all around the world. Therefore, the City’s Military Party Committee and High Command always pay much attention to the importance of defense diplomacy. Every year, the City's High Command cooperates with other agencies to welcome and ensure the security and safety of visits or business visits of hundreds of international delegations and foreign naval vessels. To meet the requirements and tasks of international cooperation and integration in the coming time, the armed forces of the City will continue to implement the Party's and State's views, objectives and tasks regarding foreign affairs; effectively deploy groups of solutions under the project and plan on defense diplomacy by the Military Region 7’s High Command; as well as promote the propagation aiming at raising the awareness of the armed forces’ officers and soldiers on defense diplomacy. The City’s High Command continues to offer counsel to the City’s Steering Committee for defense and people-to-people diplomacy to receive military delegations in a respectful, friendly, caring, and safe manner.

Facing the increasing demands of the military and defense missions, the Party, people and armed forces of Ho Chi Minh City will continue to promote the revolutionary tradition and spirit of the 1968 Spring General Offensive and Uprising, while being united, active, and creative to overcome all difficulties and challenges, building strong all-people national defense, contributing to building and developing the city named after Uncle Ho in the new era.

Maj. Gen. Ngo Tuan Nghia, Commissar of Ho Chi Minh City High Command

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