Saturday, June 16, 2018, 22:22 (GMT+7)
Lessons learnt from Soc Trang province’s defensive zone exercise

Defensive zone exercise is an important part of the building and operation of provincial (city) defensive zone. Perceiving that, over the past years, Soc Trang province has focused its leadership and direction on this work via synchronous, practical measures.

Grasping the Party’s military and defence line, and resolutions and directives by the Central Military Commission, Ministry of National Defence, High Command of the Military Region on building strong provincial and district-level defensive zones, over the past years, Soc Trang province has adopted measures synchronously to successfully fulfil this central political task. Exercises at all levels have contributed to improving the capabilities of operation, staff and command, and coordination of local departments, committees, sectors and armed forces, providing the basis for completing combat projects/plans; building potential and posture; combining socio-economic development with national defence and security; and building strong provincial and district-level defensive zones, meeting the mission requirements in the new situation. In 2017, the province led, directed and organized 4 exercises for the districts of Tran De, Long Phu, My Xuyen, and Cu Lao Dung which met the goals and requirements and ensured absolute safety.

Combat force of an exercise

The success of the exercises mentioned above were attributed to the efforts made by party committees and authorities at all levels, and sectors, organizations, armed forces and entire people in the area with the Provincial Military Command (PMC) playing the core role in counselling, coordinating and organizing the exercises. To prepare the exercises, at the beginning of the year, grounded on the Training Order by the Military Region Commander, the PMC has proactively counselled the Provincial Party Executive Committee to issue the Directive 06-CT/TU on organizing the defensive zone exercise of 2017 and decision on establishing the Steering Board, Content Board, Logistics Board and other sub boards. Closely following the Military Region’s direction, the PMC has cooperated with departments, committees and sectors in carrying out surveys and building intentions of the exercises. Due attention has been paid to structuring the situations in each phase, making training relevant to the reality and area of each district in the province’s general defence posture. Based on the intentions of the exercises ratified by the Military Region, the Provincial People’s Committee has released plans on holding and operating the exercises, and the Decision on mobilizing the reserve forces and the militia and self-defence forces. At the same time, it has held conferences to introduce and give the tasks to forces in a specific, close manner.

As the staff of the provincial committees and sectors often varies on a yearly basis, the PMC has advised the Steering Board for the exercises on opening training courses on the content and steps of the exercises for the cadres taking part in the exercises, particularly those who participate in the exercises for the first time. It has directed units to actively train necessary supplementary contents and carry out rehearsal exercises for two or three times. During the course of implementation, the province has directed military offices at all levels to follow the guidelines to give instructions, not service, which means that military offices only play the core role in ensuring coordination and giving instruction on and appraising documents in order to enhance the capability of exercise of offices, committees, sectors, and localities. That method has helped the staff of committees and sectors grasp their work, thereby meeting the requirements in each locality. As a result, in the defensive zone exercises of 2017, the Party’s offices, authorities, Fatherland Fronts, organizations and armed forces built hundreds of documents exactly to the specifications of operation staff.

Alongside preparations in terms of manpower and documents, the province has directed units of the armed forces to both carry out training courses and build constructions for the exercises in accordance with combat reality and particularities of each area. Notably, in spite of the bad conditions of rainy season, cadres and troops have all heightened a sense of responsibility, spending tens of thousands of working days on building field stations, system of fortifications, shelters, trenches, routes for movement, etc., in the theatre of exercises. The secret rendezvous zone has been built in accordance with tactical intentions and terrain, including the headquarters, model, hall, meeting room, and area for visit. Moreover, offices and units have carefully prepared plans and projects for the maintenance of political security, social order, and traffic safety, fire and explosion prevention and control, search and rescue before, during and after the exercises.

During the course of exercise, the province has focused on 3 phases, namely getting the armed forces into the states of combat readiness and localities into the states of national defence; making preparations for combat; and carrying out defensive operation. In each phase of exercise, conferences by the district’s Party Executive Committee, Military Party Committee, and People’s Committee, and other committees, sectors and organizations have been held in accordance with regulations, and promoted democracy in discussing and settling the situations. One new point in the last exercises was that the province applied information technology to creating the situations and projecting several points, which helped shorten the duration for work, facilitate commanders and advisory offices’ concentration on focal points, and ensure synchronicity for visitors to observe. For the sake of proactiveness and creativity, the PMC directed districts to construct different scenarios relevant to each area, thereby helping the districts settle the situations flexibly, creatively, avoid duplication and effectuate the practical effectiveness. Military offices, Border Guard, Public Security played their core role in counselling the district’s party committee and people’s committee to well perform their function and task, command and operate military offices and units’ live firing according to plans and tactical forms. During the exercises, troops successfully employed skills and tactical movements in the battlefield, mastered weapons of all types, and brought into the traditional way of combat of the armed forces of the Southwestern region.

Giving first aid to victims of chemical poison

A part from achievements, there appeared weaknesses in the exercise. More specifically, several cadres’ awareness of the position and significance of the exercises have yet to be full. A number of directing documents have yet to be relevant to the reality and particularities of the situation, and the requirements set by missions of departments, sectors and localities. Several forces’ settlement of situations has been still low while coordination between forces has yet to be harmonious. From lessons on the exercises, the PMC and its Party Committee have determined to improve the quality and effectiveness of organizing the exercises of the province, Soc Trang city and Vinh Chau district in the 4th Quarter of 2018.

First, successfully conducting the work of propagation and education, introducing the task of carrying out the exercises of 2018 to party committees, authorities, sectors, organizations and people in the area, considering this as the central political task of the whole political system and people, thereby bringing about a major change in awareness and action during the process of preparation and practice.

Second, promoting the core role of the armed forces in conducting the exercises. The PMC and Provincial Public Security and Border Guard should proactively advise the Provincial Party Committee and People’s Committee on concretizing contents and tasks of the exercises, and cooperating with departments, committees and sectors in drawing up documents. To do so, the province’s armed forces must improve the quality of training, make the units comprehensively strong, and enhance the capability of combat coordination between forces as the core in dealing with defence and security situations during the exercises.

Third, attaching great importance to improving all-level cadres’ knowledge of the local defence and military work. To that end, military offices at all levels should proactively counsel local party committees and authorities to hold training courses on the local defence and military work for cadres at all levels, particularly those taking part in the exercises. It is necessary for each training course that cadres must well perform their duty in the exercises’ phases.

Fourth, promoting the synergy of the whole political system during the process of making preparation and conducting the exercises. This work requires the collaboration among various components and forces, and the urgency in preparation. Thus, party committees and authorities at all levels should focus on perfecting the organizational structure, introducing and assigning the task to each individual and collective taking part in the exercises; developing the plans and determining the road map for preparations. At the same time, significance should be attached to enhancing the work of education and propagation to encourage all possible forces and people in the area engaging in the process of making preparation and conducting the exercises.

Lessons learnt from the last exercises will provide the basis for the armed forces of Soc Trang to promote their core role in advising the Provincial Party Committee and People’s Committee on leading and directing the building of strong defensive zones, thereby facilitating the province’s socio-economic development and consolidating defence and security.

Sr. Col. Tran Van Lau, Member of the Provincial Party Executive Committee

Commander of the PMC

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