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Friday, March 31, 2017, 09:22 (GMT+7)
On the organization and operation of the coastal militia and self-defense forces

Vietnam has 3,260 km of coast line and over one million square kilometer of sea. There are over 3,000 islands, including the Spratly and Paracel archipelagos, 28 provinces with 125 districts, and 616 communes bordered to the sea. Vietnam’s maritime area includes huge reserves of natural resources and international sea lanes.

Coastal militia and self defence forces compose important components of the armed forces, carrying out production activities on sea and engaging in the maintenance of security and order on the country’s seas and islands. Fully aware of their role and the importance of the seas to the cause of national construction and defence, over the past years, our Party and State have adopted a number of guidelines and policies governing the organization and operation of the coastal militia and self defense forces. Coastal provinces,,ministries, and enterprises with operations on seas, have been proactive in the establishment and operation of the forces, hence gaining considerable achievements.

In the coming time, in order to further consolidate the all people’s defense posture and the people’s security posture on the sea, attention should be paid to clarifying the organization and operation of the coastal militia and self defense forces.

First, it is necessary to strengthen the leadership and direction of the party committees and authorities of coastal provinces over the organization and operation of the forces. This is the decisive principle to the quality and effectiveness of forces’ organization and operation. A matter of primary importance is to strengthen education and communication of the Party’s viewpoint and guidelines on defence and military fields, focusing on the directives and conclusions of the Secretariat, Law on the militia and self defence forces, and legal documents for the people, particularly the militia and self defence forces. Thereby, making people aware of the role and position of the forces in the economic development and protection of the country’s sovereignty on the sea and islands. Annually, party committees of coastal provinces should include the coastal militia and self defence work in the leading resolution on military and defense work. Military agencies at all levels should uphold their responsibilities and actively propose leading guidelines and solutions, and coordinate with sectors, agencies and organizations to implement those guidelines and solutions seriously and thoroughly.

Da Nang coastal militia practicing shooting on boats (photo: 

Secondly, actively building the coastal militia and self defense force, enhancing their overall quality and combat readiness capability to meet the requirements in both peacetime and wartime. Facing the increasingly high requirements of the task of protecting the country’s sovereignty on the sea and islands, it is necessary to combine closely the task of maritime economic development with with the consolidation of defence and security on the sea and islands. Coastal and island communes should organize relevant-sized coastal militia; enterprises with boats, ships and vehicles operating on seas should consider their actual ability to organize coastal self defense groups. Coastal provinces should encourage their fishermen to form “united teams”, “fishing corporations”, “fishing syndicates” to set ground for the construction and development of the coastal militia force.

As shown in practice, the present model of coastal militia and self defense force is basically reasonable. Therefore, these forces have been able to bring into play ther important roles in combating against violations of sovereignty and security on the sea. However, the matter is that while this model should be sustainable and firm, it is important todevelop it to a suitable scale to increase its capability and effectiveness. This is not an easy but necessary task. To do that, it is important to thoroughly grasp the Party’s viewpoint on combining maritime economic development with coastal defence and security consolidation in light of the Central Resolution 4 (10th tenure) on the Vietnam’s maritime  strategy until 2020 with a vision to 2030. Accordingly, it is necessary to attach maritime production with the organization of the militia and self defence force. To that end, military agencies at all levels should study and screen to firmly understand the maritime production capability (including personnel and vehicles) of communes and enterprises so that they would get the right orientation for building and expanding their forces.

Third, enhancing the quality and effectiveness of the forces. To enhance  its quality and effectiveness, coastal militia and self defense forces should be closely coordinated with the Navy, the Border Guard, the Coast Guard, the Fishery Resources Surveillance, and other related forces. District military agencies should direct and guide the military commands of communes and wards, offices, organizations at the grassroots, ship owners to build and actively implement action plan. These agencies should be active in the construction and implementation of the regulations on the coordination between coastal militia and self defense forces and other forces in their area, contributing to the maintenance of security and order, the protection of seas and islands, providing firm reliance for fishermen to conduct their fishing activities. When operating on seas, particularly the high seas, coastal militia and self defense forces should both carry out their fishing activities and be vigilant to situation relating to defense and security issues, so that they can timely inform the functional agencies. At the same time, they should inform their friendly ships to support each other in the operation on the sea.

Fourth, it is necessary to supply communication equipment and tools for the forces. Localities and functional agencies should gradually supply modern communication devices, life jackets, and other supportive tools for the force. Departments and agencies at all levels should continue to study and perfect legal documents on the equipment of the coastal militia and self defense forces in accordance with international laws and conventions

Enhancing the quality of operation for the coastal militia and self defense forces is an urgent and long term job. The situation is becoming more complex,  requiring all levels, industries and localities to further study and implement comprehensive solutions in order to build the coastal militia and self defense forces strong and widespread, contributing to successfully realizing the Central Resolution 4 (10th tenure) of the Party on “Vietnam’s Maritime Strategy to 2020” with the orientation to “become a strong maritime nation, a rich country from the sea, to firmly protect the maritime sovereignty and sovereign right of the country”.

Senior Colonel Nguyen Phuong Hoa, PhD.

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