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Thursday, November 30, 2017, 08:05 (GMT+7)
On improving quality of training reserve forces in the 355th Division

Reserve forces, part of Vietnam’s People’s Army (VPA), play a strategic role in national defence. Promoting integrated quality in general and quality of training these forces in particular is of importance.

Deeply grasping the Party’s military, defence guidelines and its assigned missions, over the past few years, the 355th Division, 2nd Military Region, has synchronously expedited a number of policies and measures to enhance quality of training reserve forces and gained significant outcomes. Notably, officers and soldiers’ awareness and responsibilities, especially the reservists, are steadily improved. Renovation of content, programs, management and control, and training facilities and equipment envisions positive developments. Training and drill are renewed in the direction of closely aligning with features and missions of each element and area. During the training process, the division has closely followed the motto of “practicality, steadiness, robustness” with a focus on synchronous, specialized and comprehensive training in military and political education, discipline, infantry, and all arms. In order to make breakthroughs in overcoming weaknesses and shortcomings, the division has attached importance to training in the transfer of military specialties to ensure that units can fulfill their assigned missions. Thereby, the division’s training results are continually enhanced. Over 20 years’ implementation of the Ordinance on Reserve Forces in the 1996-2016 period, it revealed that the training results of B-frame officers and reserve military personnel increased 5.2 per cent and 4.8 per cent respectively as compared to the year 1996. This a crucial factor that enables the reserve forces to improve their integrated quality and combat power, and to be ready to undertake and successfully complete every assigned mission.

DKZ battery destroys the enemy’s blockhouse during the live-fire exercise held on September 21st 2017 (photo: quankhu2.vn)

Beside the obtained results, there remain shortcomings regarding the division’s training work such as some officers, soldiers and reservists’ insufficient awareness of training tasks, B-frame officers’ weak command and control, and so on. To further promote training quality so as to make contribution to improving the reserve forces’ integrated quality and combat power, and to satisfy high demands of national defence, we would like to raise several major measures for discussion as follows: 

First, it is necessary to speed up political, ideological education with a view to raising officers and soldiers’ awareness and responsibilities for the training task. Given its area of responsibility encompassing 3 provinces (Phu Tho, Yen Bai and Tuyen Quang), the 355th Division is tasked with collaborating with local party committees and authorities to manage, mobilize and train reservists in a few scattered areas and within short time spans. Meanwhile, the training processes require careful preparation, close organization and scientific methodologies as well as relevance to each element. Therefore, strengthening education to raise the officers, soldiers and reservists’ awareness and responsibilities for training represents a matter of paramount importance.

To that end, the division has paid attention to exploiting the roles of party executive committees, commandants, political commissars, and training organizations at all levels in educating officers and soldiers on politics and ideology, and regarded this approach as a vital factor, directly affecting the unit’s quality of training reservists. That has been further acknowledged when the current A-frame officers, especially platoon and company commanders – who directly participate in training – are mostly new graduates with little training experience. As for reservists, in spite of being selected carefully, they still have many limitations in level of awareness and fail to fully understand the necessity and importance of promoting training quality right in peacetime. Thus, political education needs to be conducted regularly and continually, and ensure comprehensiveness but with focuses and compatibleness for each element. On the basis of perceiving the Party’s directives and resolutions on military and national defence, particularly the Ordinance on Reserve Forces, the division has focused on educating the soldiers to firmly grasp missions of the VPA and their units, schemes and tricks of the hostile forces operating in their areas, and requirements of training the reserve forces in the new situation, thereby facilitating officers and soldiers’ deep understanding of the need of fulfilling the tasks of their units. Accordingly, it is necessary to establish strong determination and responsibility for frame-A and frame-B officers and reservists to make every effort to record the highest achievements in training. During implementation, there is a need to employ a number of forms and measures which should be made relevant to each element; closely combine basic, continuing education with education designed to meet the needs of specific missions and periods of peak emulation; attach importance to education about traditions, the art of fighting the enemies to defend our country, etc.; choose reservists with good professional skills, dignity and ethics as prime examples for propaganda, education and development within their units; and well execute the “Determination to Win” emulation movements in an objective, intrinsic and effective direction in association with preliminary summing-up and summation to timely draw experience, commend and multiply prime examples, and create drastic changes in officers and soldiers’ awareness and actions in training.

In current conditions, to put education work into depth and firmness, organizations and units of the division need to base on concrete situations to proactively cooperate with local party executive committees, authorities, military organizations, and reservists’ families (if possible) to educate and encourage the reservists to accomplish their mobilization and training. When operationalizing this coordination, it is necessary to combine with ideological work and policies, take part in tackling difficulties in the reservists’ family backgrounds, and so forth. This approach requires patience and meticulosity. If it is well adopted, it will create robust changes in enhancing these important forces’ awareness and responsibilities.

Second, attaching importance to comprehensive renovation of training work, especially in content and methodologies of training reservists. This is a matter of paramount importance, which has a direct influence on the quality of training the division’s reserve forces. Every year, on the basis of perceiving the military region commander’s order for combat training, the division takes initiative in developing training plans and instructing its organizations and units to operationalize the plans. However, as a result of diversified reservists with various qualifications, ages, health conditions, etc., there are many difficulties in improving training quality, especially in synchronous training. Given this reality, if the training is conducted according to a top-down approach and a common plan and program, the division will find it hard to ensure good training quality. Consequently, to promote quality of training the reservists, the division has closely combined higher authorities’ directions and instructions with units’ recommended programs and content. This approach not only ensures compatibleness for each element and area, but also creates favourable conditions for units to concentrate on their weaknesses and increase practical training for each element.

Together with the renewal of content and programs, the division has also paid attentions to examining and staffing organizations involved in training while improving the quality of training both A-frame officers and B-frame officers. Regarding B-frame officers, there is a need to ensure that these officers firmly grasp methodologies and skills in the preparation of lesson plans and the ability to train their units. Accordingly, units regularly assign officers to closely monitor and assist these elements with a view to enabling them to deeply comprehend requirements, content and methodologies of training, and train their units. The division has instructed its subordinate units to give priorities to correct and sufficient training as required; closely combined concentrated training with group training according to each content; and allocated more time for training elements who are incorrect and nearly correct military specialties. At the same time, it has requested officers at all levels, especially the B-frame officers, to well implement the process of getting approval for lesson plans before training as required. During the training process, apart from allotting missions, units can entrust competent A-frame officers with the task of monitoring, tutoring and assisting B-frame officers if necessary.

In view of the growing tasks, to promote quality of training the reservists, it would perhaps be advisable to equip B-frame officers with knowledge of staff work, mobilization readiness, thinking skills in the execution of assigned missions, etc., while well aligning training work with fostering the reservists’ spirit, physical fitness and discipline, and properly realizing democracy in the realms of training and promoting good order and discipline.

Third, well conducting training support. Training support is required to ensure comprehensiveness, sufficiency, good quality, and compatibility with practical conditions of units. Therefore, it is important to boost investment in the development of drill-grounds, teaching models, teaching aids, etc., to ensure that they are eligible and adequate for training. However, due to limited budgets, units responsible for training reservists usually find it hard to boost investment in facilities. To get over this hurdle, the division needs to make good use of available training facilities and proactively renovate and improve these facilities to support training while speeding up the movements for bringing into play initiatives and renovating teaching models and teaching aids to make the training close to combat reality and highly effective. Given its proactiveness and activeness, over the past few years, the division has had many initiatives to renovate teaching models and teaching aids, making considerable contribution to promoting training quality, most notably the “multi-role folding shelf” used in exercises. This initiative has been appreciated by the 2nd Military Region Command and applied widely in the whole military region. This is a creative approach, which helps to overcome the shortage of training equipment and grounds while ensuring training quality. Moreover, it is necessary to attach importance to ensuring adequate implementation of regulations and policies concerning wages and allowances of the reservists during training periods, and well realizing the VPA’s family policies to make the reservists keep their minds on their jobs, making contribution to improving training quality and combat readiness of reserve forces in the new situation.

By Senior Colonel Le Trong The, Division Commander

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