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Tuesday, March 24, 2020, 16:15 (GMT+7)
Logistics support measures for defensive combat within the Military Region 9’s area

The Military Region 9 is located in the southernmost end of Vietnam, consisting of 12 provinces and municipalities, being adjacent to the East Sea, sharing a border with Cambodia. There are various types of terrains within the Military Region, with a large flat area (85%) which has great potential for agricultural production and aquaculture. Large melaleuca and mangrove forests in the region, such as U Minh Thuong, U Minh Ha, and Tra Su are very favourable for constructing combat bases, army rear bases, and logistics-technical bases. The transportation system has been gradually developed, with 6,400 kilometres of asphalt roads, 23,000 kilometres of other types of roads, and 4 airports, while the system of rivers, canals, inland ports, and seaports has been frequently consolidated to serve the purposes of force manoeuvre and transportation in both peacetime and defensive combat within the Military Region. Seas and islands under the Military Region’s management have a total area of about 150,000 square kilometres; there are over 100 big and small islands serving as defensive outposts in the Southeast and the Southwest. Localities within the Military Region are rich in human resources and the people are industrious and creative in labour and production; as a result, their socio-economic growth rate is quite high as the basis for providing logistics support for the Military Region’s defensive operations and meeting the increasingly high requirements set by the defence of the Homeland.

Over the years, implementing the Politburo’s Resolution 28-NQ/TW, the Government 21/2019/NĐ-CP, the National Defence Law of 2018, and other legal documents on building provincial and municipal defensive zones, the Military Region 9’s Party Committee and Command as well as local party committees and authorities have promoted the potential and advantages of localities and units to ensure logistics support for defensive combat and obtained significant results. Doing so has enabled the armed forces to meet the task requirements in peacetime and maintain readiness for a war and the settlement of situations related to political security, social order and safety, and natural disasters in the areas. However, the armed forces’ task performance has yet to be comprehensive due to economic difficulties and climate change. Besides, there have been weaknesses in the mechanism and method of performing the task. To promote localities’ potential and advantages to provide logistics support for the Military Region 9’s defensive combat, in the time to come, it is necessary to adopt several main measures as follows.

First, fostering and combining local rapid and sustainable socio-economic development with defence-security consolidation in order to create material resources for logistics support in defensive combat. When a war occurred, provinces and municipalities within the Military Region would be easily divided from one another; therefore, reinforcements and support between localities and from the State would be very hard. Hence, it is important to improve regional and sub-regional economic links based on the practical condition. In their socio-economic development planning and zoning, localities should place emphasis on ensuring economic efficiency, defence and security, and environmental protection. However, due attention should be also paid to correctly assessing the impacts made by climate change on their sustainable socio-economic development. It is vital to be aware that economic potential will be transformed into defence potential only when it is combined with defence and security and readily becomes material resources for a war. Thus, there should be a synchronous, drastic involvement of the entire political system, armed forces, and people. As the road density within the Military Region’s area is rather low, compared to the national average, the task of socio-economic development and defence-security consolidation encounters numerous difficulties. To solve this problem, in addition to the State’s investments, localities should actively upgrade their existing traffic system and construct key roads. At the same time, they should consolidate inland waterways, expand the system of seaports and river ports, and build a strong waterways transportation force to meet the requirements set by local socio-economic development, enhance manoeuvrability of forces, and ensure logistics materials in the event.

Coastal localities should promote marine economic development in line with the defence of seas and islands. On the key islands, such as Phu Quoc, Nam Du, and Tho Chu, due regard should be paid to constructing defensive works and marine economic logistics service centres, combining economic development with national defence and making the marine defensive zones’ logistics force capable of providing logistics support for fishers and other forces in charge of defending national sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction. The Military Region’s Logistics Branch should closely cooperate with localities in building and managing the specialised reserve and self-defence force (health, transportation, etc.). Moreover, it should closely cooperate with the logistics forces of the Ministry’s main units stationed in the Military Region’s area and those of departments, committees, and sectors within the Military Region’s defensive zones in boosting socio-economic development and consolidating national defence and security. At the same time, great value should be attached to maintaining coordination in logistics support for routine missions and defensive combat.

Second, a focus should be placed on building a solid, interconnected, flexible logistics posture in order to promote the synergy of the defensive posture. The logistics posture is built on the disposition of logistics forces of the Military Region and the defensive zones in close association with local socio-economic establishments. Therefore, due attention should be paid to forming general logistics forces capable of providing in-the-spot logistics support for the local armed forces and units of the specialised corps and main army corps. Grounded on the defensive zones’ military posture, it is essential to regularly inspect, adjust, and make the logistics posture capable of promoting the synergy of forces and means to fight the enemy extensively. At the same time, due regard should be paid to building mobile logistics forces strong enough to opportunely deal with all situations. By doing so, the Military Region would be able to proactively organise more logistics bases, depots, and stations tasked with reserving sufficient materials for each direction and region. The places for those facilities should be appropriate to logistics sections of the main units taking part in combat and closely attached to the army rear bases and logistics bases within the provincial and municipal defensive zones, ensuring a secret and favourable condition for force manoeuvre, minimising human and material losses against the enemy’s air attacks in their hi-tech war. To bring into play the logistics synergy of all people, the Military Region should study and design policies on acquiring and confiscating materials and means of transportation properly to ensure solid on-the-spot logistics support for the extensive defensive combat of all forces and people in its area.

Third, grounded on their logistics support plans for the first year of a war, localities should proactively maintain logistics readiness in wartime. Based on the Defensive Combat Directive by the Military Region’s Commander, local military offices should work with other relevant offices to grasp the tasks, conditions, and measures for exploiting socio-economic potential under the logistics support plans for the first year of a war. Local military logistics offices should actively advise their local party committees and authorities on building, managing, and implementing the logistics support plans to meet the demand for modern warfare. In the medium term, localities should focus on consolidating and constructing new logistics works for combat in the border, sea, and island areas, while frequently inspecting, consolidating, and completing their combat bases, army rear bases, and logistics-technical bases. In this regard, priority should given to building manufacturing facilities, developing the inland waterways and road systems to connect the army rear bases with the logistics-technical bases in the key combat directions, and making investments in the health and communications systems (at district and commune levels) within the defensive zones. To that end, due regard should be paid to making (general and partly) investment plans and identifying the road map, annual budget demand, 5-year plan, and greater vision as the basis for localities’ could proactive execution. It is essential to use local budgets and the State’s funding via dual-use projects for key transportation systems, border patrol roads, economic-defence zones, logistics works on islands, and military-civilian health stations.

Fourth, properly arranging and carefully preparing logistics facilities to mobilise, receive, and preserve materials quickly and effectively. Arranging and organising logistics facilities for defensive combat, such as logistics depots and stations and military medical, transportation, and manufacturing facilities will have a direct impact on logistics support for defensive combat. Hence, it is necessary to deploy forces and means appropriately. Military medical facilities and transportation units must be located properly for receiving and transporting war invalids, sick soldiers and goods, particularly in the key defensive directions. Repair and manufacturing stations and depots must be located in the bases which are constructed in peacetime. At the same time, it is important to construct more stations and depots in the back. Medical facilities for war invalids and sick soldiers should be situated in the army rear zones. Petroleum depots must be scattered in each base and far from logistics facilities to prevent fires and explosions from impacting on the whole base’s operation.

Grounded on the disposition of combat bases, army rear bases, and logistics-technical bases within the defensive zones, the logistics work during defensive combat exercises in the Military Region’s area, and economic conditions of the country and localities, it is vital to continue researching and developing theories of logistics support for a military region’s defensive combat.

Sr. Col. Nguyen The Mau, PhD, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Military Region 9

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