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Publishing work by military offices and units in the Military Region No.7’s stationed areas - the status quo and solutions

As part of national publishing sector, the military publishing work is of great significance to ideological-cultural work by the Party, the State, and the Army, contributing to the building of the revolutionary, regular, elite, gradually modern Army. Fully aware of this task, over the past years, military units in Military Religion No. 7’s stationed areas have cooperated with Ho Chi Minh City-based Military Publishing House Branch (hereafter the Branch) under People’s Army Publishing House in publishing over 1.000 books in an effort to step up the propagation of Marxist-Leninist military theory and Ho Chi Minh’s thought, forge heroic tradition of local armed forces and people, and successfully fulfil military-defense guidelines and missions by the Party. Alongside books of political theory, military history, and war review, military units, individuals and the Branch have introduced various artistic and literary works of wide-ranging subjects in unison, thereby contributing to the building and development of advanced culture imbued with national identities, and the promotion of “Uncle Ho’s soldiers” widespread cultural values.

Despite recorded achievements, this work also shows some limitations as evidenced by lax publishing management. Party committees and commandants in some units have paid scant attention to publishing work. The loose implementation of Circular No. 98/2014/TT-BQP by the Minister of National Defence on publishing regulations within the Vietnamese People’s Army leads to unedited and unauthorized published documents, and subsequently erroneous contents, military terminology, and layouts. In addition to uninformative and unabsorbing work of military history, research books, books of war review, military science and art works, specialized books of innovative military training methods and management, etc have been in short and limited supply. Moreover, the Branch has yet to bring into full play its role as a publishing agency, and to proactively instruct relevant units to implement statutory documents pertaining to military publishing field. Also, there are some limitations on building a contingent of collaborators; on grasping soldiers’ reading needs, and on cooperating with relevant writers in working out suitable manuscripts amongst some units.

In order to promote sustainable development and comprehensive quality of publishing work, satisfying the requirements for building the Army in general, and units in Military Region No.7’s stationed areas in particular, it is necessary to facilitate close coordination amongst the Military Publishing House and relevant offices and units via primary solutions as follows.

First, reforming and improving leadership and direction effectiveness of party committees and commandants towards the publishing work, which acts as a determinant to efficiency and quality of publishing work in every office and unit. Pursuant to higher echelons’ regulations, the publishing work falls under the leadership of party committees and the management and direction of commandants, especially commissars or heads of offices and units in their charge at every level. To this end, party committees and commandants at all levels should attach great weight to leading and directing publishing work in conformity with the Law on Publication; Directive No. 42- CT/TW by the Secretariat of the Party Central Committee (9th tenure) on enhancing comprehensive quality of publication activities; Circular No. 98/2014/TT-BQP by Minister of National Defence on publication regulations in Vietnamese People’s Army. Due attention should be paid to building strong offices, particularly political and military scientific ones which give sound advice to party committees and commandants on the publishing work. Annually, every office and unit compiles a publishing directory which is sent to People’s Army Publishing House for publication, and the Department of Propaganda and Training for management. Foreseeable publication plans should be made in line with units’ reality requirements. In the time to come, apart from historical and military art topics, it is essential to supplement documents regarding innovative training and combat readiness missions, especially books of outstanding examples and of soldiers’ image in the current cause of building and defending the Homeland. In addition, party committees and commandants need to actively inspect and promote operational effectiveness of science councils in the work of examining and approving subjects of military history, etc.

Second, accelerating coordination amongst units and Military Publishing House, properly implementing publishing regulations, and enhancing quality of manuscripts. Military publications must be strictly published in the Military Publishing House in order for publications of internal use not to be released without authorization, and subsequently the quality of manuscripts is fostered via proofreading. Therefore,   tight coordination amongst military offices, units and the Branch is of great importance. Accordingly, competent agencies in every unit, particularly military science departments and boards of history review under provincial and municipal military commands need to tightly cooperate with the Branch’s affiliates in formulating and executing publication plans with great significance attached to receiving and carrying out statutory documents concerning publishing work, and annual and long-term publication planning. Selected publication topics for disseminating political missions, events and national celebrations should be diverse, intriguing, scientific, and ideological. The observance of publication laws and regulations, especially procedure for and accountability of linking publishing activities should be actively supervised and inspected. The relation between implementation of political missions and economic efficiency should be properly handled, thereby creating favourable conditions for developing the internal strength of the Branch and People’s Army Publishing House to the fullest.

Third, continuously strengthening the key role of the Branch as a publishing agency in stationed areas. The Branch has been in operation under distant direction and governance of People’s Army Publishing House; meanwhile, publishing demands from units in stationed areas have been increasingly higher. Hence, acting in the capacity as a publishing centre, it is urgent that the Branch needs to actively collaborate with military units, competent sectors and branches in well executing statutory documents pertaining to publishing field, and putting publication activities into practice in an effective fashion. Accordingly, the Branch’s staff must thoroughly grasp the role and significance of military publishing work, thereby promoting their sense of responsibility to heighten the quality of publications. During implementation process, the Branch’s cadres and editors get actively engaged in preparing and publishing manuscripts in unison with military units, thereby contributing to making official information by the Party, the State, and the Army mainstream ideology-oriented information source in armed forces’ activities; actively fighting for the Party’s ideological and theoretical background; and successfully fulfilling the Army’s political missions and the cause of building and defending the Homeland of socialist Vietnam whilst actively collaborating with research agencies and institutes, scientists, writers, translators, war veterans, etc., in building a qualitative contingent of collaborators on various fronts. Additionally, the Branch should give advice to People’s Army Publishing House on launching refresher courses for a pool of cadres in charge of publication management work belonging to offices and units in stationed areas while actively popularizing and introducing new works; launching book competitions on the mass media and handpicking outstanding books for book competitions and Ho Chi Minh city-based “Book Street”, thereby bridging the gap between publishing houses and readers.

Fourth, enhancing the quality of a contingent of the Branch’s editors, matching publication requirements in the new situation, which is a matter of utmost importance to the Branch’s development. Over the past years, the Branch has counselled its higher echelons to properly formulate personnel planning with great value attached to sending its cadres on training programs run by military and non-military schools and standardizing a contingent of editors whilst stepping up on-site training via refresher courses. Due attention has been devoted to building a contingent of cadres, editors, and professional staff with steadfast political willpower, high professionalism, pure work ethics, disciplined, modern, scientific working style. Moreover, a contingent of the Branch’s cadres and translators need to improve their competence of political theory, social and cultural background knowledge, particularly in military field, further meeting soldiers’ increasing reading culture.

Colonel, Pham Van Truong MA, Head of the People’s Army Publishing House Branch in Ho Chi Minh City  

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