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Wednesday, February 28, 2018, 16:38 (GMT+7)
Issues about improving the quality of building the reserve force in the Military Region No.1’s stationed areas

Building a massive reserve force, willingly satisfying the requirements of Homeland protection is a strategic policy by our Party and State. The accomplishment of this mission is a matter of great importance to the Military Region No. 1 (hereafter MR1) which is located strategically in the Northern and national defensive posture. Therefore, improving the quality of building the reserve force in the MR1’s stationed areas is a matter of urgency in theoretical and practical terms.

Over the past years, fully aware of the significance of the work of military mobilization in the new situation, in parallel with building the strong regular force, MR1’s Party Executive Committee and High Command have paid due attention to building the reserve force via synchronous and practical solutions, as evidenced by a remarkable dramatic transformation in this force. Notably, MR1 has properly executed the work of building and managing reserve units in its stationed areas in accord with Defence Minister’s Decision and the Ordinance on the Reserve Force. The work of reserve planning, registration and management has been carried out in a strict, procedural fashion. According to the review of 20 years of implementing the Ordinance on the reserve force in the 1996-2016 period, the number of trained reserve officers surged 6.8fold; registration and management of reserve servicemen and technical facilities increased 1.3fold. Periodical and unscheduled call-up and checking regimes have been regularly maintained with the annual rate of examining call-up readiness standing at 98.5% with the exception of 100% in 2016. The quality of reserve training and combat readiness has been increasingly strengthened, satisfying actual combat requirements and missions following reserve training phases.

Training the reserve force in the Regiment 831 (photo: baobacgiang.com.vn)

In addition to recorded achievements, some of military units, localities, and reservists have yet to be fully aware of the task of military building, especially that of building the reserve force; a section of cadres involving in reserve training still exposes limited training and commanding capabilities; the budget earmarked for building the reserve force is still modest; policies aimed at supporting reservist are not sensible enough to uphold their sense of responsibilities. Those necessitate units and localities within MR1’s stationed areas continuously heightening their sense of duties and responsibilities via several solutions to improve the quality of building the reserve force as follows.

First, concentrating on raising awareness and sense of responsibility towards building the reserve force amongst cadres of reserve units, reservists, and people. Being home to ethnic minorities with poor awareness level, MR1 is stationed diffusely in Northern and Northeastern mountainous and border provinces where experience underdeveloped socio-economic conditions, especially in remote isolated border areas. Those have had direct impact on the execution of defence-military missions in general, and the building of the reserve force in particular. Besides, the dark sides of the market economy as well as the sabotage of hostile forces have been impacting greatly on reserve cadres and soldiers’ ideological developments. Therefore, MR1 has paid special regard to raising awareness of and a sense of responsibility towards the work of reserve mobilization. Still, in reality, economic development tasks are commonly thought to be vastly superior to military-defence ones; the building of the reserve force is thought to be unnecessary and an impediment to economic development in peacetime, etc. Against this backdrop, it is necessary to reform content and methods of the work of political and ideological education in line with every object. A focus of the content should be on propagating and educating every object on Party and State resolutions and directions on defence-military missions; national economic potential; artifices and stratagems of hostile forces, etc., with emphasis placed on the Party and Government’s resolutions and directions, particularly the Ordinance on the reserve force; Ministry of Defence’s guidelines and circulars on building the reserve force as well as provisions of rights and responsibilities by reservists and owners of technical facilities towards the work of reserve mobilization. For the sake of greater efficiency in this work, military agencies need to attach great importance to advising local party executive committees and governments to lead and direct branches, sectors and mass organizations at their levels to closely cooperate with stand-up units within MR1 in properly carrying out the work of education and propagation for reservists whilst flexibly applying  educational forms and solutions appropriate to every object and stationed area, namely offering fundamental political education programs during concentrated training period, thereby fostering higher awareness and  a sense of responsibility amongst every object, particularly the reserve force, galvanizing them into participating in training, maneuvers, and contingency plans in peacetime as well as call-up readiness in wartime.

Second, promoting coordination between local assignors and receivers of the reserve force, well implementing the work of reserve planning, registration, and management. As part of the Vietnamese People’s Army, the reserve force must be registered, managed, and trained in a bid to heighten overall quality and call-up readiness to deal with contingencies. Hence, promoting close coordination between local assignors and receivers of the reserve force is of great importance. Over the past years, despite the fact that coordination in building the reserve force within MR1’s stationed areas has been regularly and strictly promoted, it has still exposed some inadequacies, as evidenced by difficulties in reserve planning for localities and receiving units with decreasing enlistment targets and increasing over-age reserve servicemen. Those necessitate localities and MR1’s units improving their coordination in unison in an effective and solid fashion. Accordingly, all-level military agencies counsel local party executive committees and governments to receive discharged servicemen, and provide them with vocational counselling as a basis for reserve planning whilst properly registering and managing reserve servicemen. Units, particularly stand-by ones within MR1’s armed forces need to proactively collaborate with local reserve assignors in examining and managing reserve planning and technical facilities. The work of arranging and staffing reserve units must be in compliance with higher echelons’ regulations in a stringent, procedural manner with great importance attached to maintaining daily activities of reserve units and guaranteeing responsibility allowance payment for commanding units in a bid to tightly grasp the strength, political quality, and professional ability of reserve units and reservists. Additionally, local military establishments need to tightly collaborate with regular units in receiving discharged soldiers; registering and managing reserve planning which is put on standby for receiving units.

Third, enhancing the quality of training and combat readiness as a determinant to improving overall quality and combat readiness capability for the reserve force, ensuring swift maneuverability and combat readiness ability in any circumstances. To this end, reserve units need to thoroughly grasp the Order on defence-military work by Chief of the General Staff, particularly training order by MR1 Commander, and concretize those through special resolutions, directions, action programs, and plans at diverse levels in line with stationed areas’ particularities and units’ missions in an effort to lead and direct training tasks towards the reserve force. Elaborate preparations are made ranging from devolving training targets, objects and call-up readiness examination on every unit and locality to training equipment, grounds, barracks, while proactively streamlining units’ organization, and reviewing the quality of cadres at all levels, especially a contingent of reserve officers. The reality of reserve training in MR1’s stationed areas shows that training capability and commanding and managing ability of reserve training cadres have yet to meet the assigned training requirements and missions. The reason was that before 2016, reserve officers’ training programs primarily focused on theoretical contents with scant attention paid to promoting practical training skills as well as commanding and managing abilities. To solve those problems, on the one hand, it is essential to renovate training content and methods for reserve officers with a focus on improving practical training skills and commanding and managing capabilities; on the other, it is crucial to give bold recommendations to the General Staff on piloting 2-phase training program of the total annual concentrated training period. The 1st phase is: training for platoon-to-regiment-level reserve officers; the 2nd phase is: employing reserve officers to directly train reserve soldiers. In doing so, not only reserve cadres’ training skills and commanding and managing capabilities are heightened, but reserve soldiers’ combat readiness ability is fostered. During training process, great importance is attached to doing the work of preliminary and overall assessment as a basis for spreading the best practice within the entire Army whilst offering suggestions to extending concentrated training period for reserve servicemen, and adequately providing logistical supplies by intensifying close coordination amongst training units, higher echelons and localities, etc. Besides, it is necessary to reform reserve maneuvers in line with stationed areas’ particularities and defensive areas’ operational requirements and missions for the sake of cadres’ heightened commanding ability and reserve units’ closer combined combat capability.

Building the reserve force is a matter of great significance and dependent on multiple factors. Afore-mentioned fundamental solutions are put forward to improve the quality of building this important force.

Senior Colonel Nguyen Van Oanh, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Military Region No.1

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