Monday, January 16, 2023, 10:23 (GMT+7)
Signal technical support for countering enemy fires in the war to safeguard the Fatherland

To provide timely, non-stop, robust communications support for command and control is the deciding factor in the success of operations, in which signal technical support plays the key role in maintaining smooth operation of signal systems. The article seeks to discuss some major measures to increase the effectiveness of signal technical support for countering enemy fires in the war to safeguard the Fatherland.

Signal technical support is all organisational, technological activities and measures to fulfil the needs for quality, quantity, and synchronicity of signal equipment; maintain operation and technical status of signal equipment and systems, ensuring effective use of signal systems for communications support. Lessons learnt from the wars to safeguard the Fatherland and recent wars in the world prove that communications support for countering enemy fires in the war to safeguard the Fatherland, should it occur, will have to confront adversaries possessing superiority in high-tech weapons, extensive electronic warfare, cyber operations, and kinetic attack in all operational environments. Meanwhile, there are many forces participating in countering enemy fires, and the signal system is one of the prime targets for enemy attacks right from the beginning and during a military operation. To preserve smooth operation of the communications system requires synchronous execution of many solutions, most notably the increased effectiveness of signal technical support. Consequently, commanders and signal soldiers need to successfully carry out the following solutions.

First, formulation and improvement in regulations and ways to provide signal technical support for missions. Regulations and ways to provide technical support in general and signal technical support in particular are legal bases for organising and administering signal technical support, which is key to directing the signal force to achieve high effectiveness in signal technical support. Meanwhile, response to enemy fires is usually made urgently in a wide area with the participation of many forces. Consequently, on the basis of existing regulations, there needs to further reform to improve regulations and ways to provide modern technological support in accordance with development of communications systems and equipment. Moreover, these management and control powers should be devolved to areas and regions. Repair is to be carried out centrally in connection with replacing spare parts and exchanging for the whole systems.

Given its role as the leading agency in military communications, the Signal needs to study and enable the Ministry of National Defence (MND) to advise the State to promulgate legal documents governing mobilisation of human resources and telecommunications infrastructure for the standing signal force of Viet Nam People’s Army (VPA) in national defence statuses. The MND must have unified regulations on mechanisms and ways to provide signal technical support suitable to characteristics of countering enemy fires. Commander of the theatre signal department and signal force at all levels adopt synchronous measures to provide signal technical support. They are also requested to deeply perceive the status of signal equipment and signal technical infrastructure on the battlefield and defense zone at all levels, which provides the foundation for proposing solutions to planning of equipment, the corps of cadres, technicians, and the needs of establishing technical basis in each area and region; work closely with local offices of information and communications to mobilise on-site potential for signal technical support, meeting the requirement of signal support for countering enemy fires in each theatre of war and nationwide.

Second, development of a high-quality human resource for signal technical support. Those who are responsible for providing signal technical support play a vital role in facilitating command and control as well as ensuring synchronous, unified, effective signal technical support. Today, the vigorous development of science and technology, our increasingly modern signal equipment, and the adversaries’ use of high-tech weapons require enhanced command and control capability as well as professional skills of people undertaking signal technical support. Accordingly, there needs to develop a human resource for signal technical support, which has sufficient, proper quantity and structure; build a modern technical force suitable for the development of signal systems; cultivate the corps of cadres and technicians with political steadfastness, high determination, and appropriate professional skills. Furthermore, it is necessary to build a robust Signal Technical Support Reserve ready to be mobilised for the VPA’s standing signal force.

To do so requires the Signal to set out clear criteria for signal technical cadres from the strategic to operational and tactical levels; concretise standards on signal technical cadres and technicians on a par with demand for exploiting and mastering modern signal equipment. This will lay the foundation for formulating proper training programs at training institutions; provide synchronous, comprehensive training for cadres and technicians; successfully realise the motto of “basicness, practicality, firmness” and three viewpoints, eight principles, and six combinations in training. The training process must ensure that the corps of signal cadres and technicians is agile, knowledgeable, and skillful at mastering and using available equipment, especially the high-tech one; proficient in professional techniques and tactics; good at traditional communications; and highly capable of mobile communications. Additionally, during combat process, on the basis of realities in the theatre, there needs to conduct training in new contents, especially the procedure for dealing with signal transmission problems.

Third, close coordination of forces in charge of signal technical support. This is an important solution, which demonstrates creative application of our Party’s standpoint on leveraging overall power for signal technical support. With current mechanisms for devolving signal technical support powers, each level and force are equipped with different technical equipment during countering enemy fires. Therefore, to provide mutual support requires close coordination among technical support forces at all levels, between the mobile and on-site forces, between support for traditional communications equipment and that for modern one, between the military signal system and the civilian one, and between technical support of the VPA’s standing technical support force and that of the post and telecommunications as well as of other economic sectors.

To achieve close, effective coordination in signal technical support requires the theatre signal commander and department to develop plans and facilitate close coordination between the signal force and the signal technical support force at all levels; specifically specify tasks, requirements, and areas of responsibility of each force; regularly align technical support with signal support in each phase and operational situation; properly use forces in order to bring into play their strength. The Signal proposes that the MND works closely with the Ministry of Information and Communications to instruct localities to regularly conduct exercises aimed at practising coordination among forces in providing signal technical support for types of operations, including response to enemy fires. The signal force in the entire military needs to promote the ability to exploit and master new, modern means of signal technical support of the civilian sector, ensuring effective use for task execution.

Fourth, good implementation of equipment support, management, maintenance, and repair of communications systems and vehicles. This is an important solution aimed to maintain quantity and quality of communications equipment and vehicles, meeting the requirement of signal support and enabling the theatre signal force to complete their tasks. Response to enemy fires takes place in the early phase of the war when the enemy often conducts fierce strikes, potentially causing heavy damage to signal infrastructure and vehicles. Signal units, therefore, need to make careful preparations for storage, technical maintenance, and repair of signal equipment and vehicles for forces engaging in combat. Daily and weekly maintenance must be strictly carried out to timely detect and address common errors. Devolved periodical maintenance is also conducted well. Signal forces in the theatre must be able to repair signal equipment; set up the repair forces properly and use them at the right time and correctly; take on-site repair as the primary method; bring into play the role of the mobile repair force.

Even in peacetime, on the basis of the military communications system development strategy for the period of 2021 – 2030 with a vision to 2045, the Signal needs to build modern repair centres and stations, capable of repairing next generation signal equipment and vehicles. It is also requested to step up applying advanced technologies to research and development and integrating many new features into some equipment in order to facilitate technical support; work closely with domestic businesses to manufacture tactical, operational communications equipment for military use; make good use of software and operating system of the military communications system. In combat, the Signal is to strictly carry out devolved maintenance in order to timely identify and correct common failure and keep the signal equipment and systems in a good technical condition; follow correct procedures and apply them flexibly and creatively to deal with signal problems and emergencies.

Senior Colonel, Doctor., LE XUAN HUNGCommandant of the Signal College

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