Thursday, October 28, 2021, 13:05 (GMT+7)
Solutions to build the coastal militia and self-defence force to meet the task requirements

Amidst the increasingly demanding requirements set by the defence of seas and islands and the strategy for the sustainable marine economic development in the new period, together with the development of other forces for protecting seas and islands, the building of the coastal militia and self-defence force is a task of importance in both long and short term.

Over the years, our Party and State have implemented various policies to make the militia and self-defence force in general and coastal militia and self-defence units in particular “strong and extensive” with the increasingly raised quality as the basis for fishermen to work at sea and take part in safeguarding national sovereignty over seas and islands. The coastal militia and self-defence force has promoted its role in taking part in economic development and cooperating with other forces in ensuring maritime security, order, and safety and building the postures of all-people national defence and people’s security at sea capable of being transformed into the posture of people’s war to protect national sovereignty over seas and islands.

However, there have been several difficulties and shortcomings in the building of the coastal militia and self-defence force, particularly this force’s organisational model, troop management, and operational condition. Investments in vessels, weapons, support tools, and equipment have been limited. Meanwhile, violations of Vietnam’s sovereignty and illegal exploitation of natural resources within our country’s waters and continental shelf are being stepped up, seriously impacting on our production and business at sea, and threatening the Homeland’s sovereignty over seas and islands. To deal with those problems and encourage the role of the coastal militia and self-defence force in defending national sovereignty over seas and islands, there should be several basic measures as follows.

First, enhance local party committees and authorities’ leadership and direction over the building of the coastal militia and self-defence force. The building of a strong, extensive coastal militia and self-defence force with a high level of combat readiness is a central part of the military-defence work performed by coastal localities and units; therefore, there should be all-level party committees and authorities’ close, focalised, uniformed leadership and direction to bring into play the synergy of the entire political system and people. Grasping higher echelons’ resolutions and directives, particularly the Strategy to Defend the Homeland, the National Defence Strategy, the Military Strategy, and the Law on the Militia and Self-Defence Force, coastal provinces and municipalities shall focus on designing and issuing specialised resolutions, action programmes, and projects on the building, training, and operation of the coastal militia and self-defence force as well as ensuring policies for this force. In the process, committees, sectors, and localities from provincial to grass-roots levels shall comply with the procedure for building the coastal militia and self-defence force and the motto: “the people know, the people discuss, the people appoint, the people care.” Great value should be attached to carrying out the work of inspection and supervision, giving instructions to heads of offices and organisations on registering their personnel and vessels, developing plans for organising coastal militia and self-defence units, and opportunely rectifying shortcomings.

Additionally, it is necessary to enhance the work of propagation and education to raise the responsibility of sectors, authorities, and all people for the building of the coastal militia and self-defence force. Focuses of this work should be placed on clarifying the Party’s guidelines and the State’s law and policy on the organisation of the coastal militia and self-defence force. Emphasis should be placed on disseminating the supplemented regulations in the Law on the Militia and Self-Defence Force (2019), such as the organisation of Standing Militia Companies within coastal provinces and municipalities (Clause 4 of the Article 15), the Article 8 on extension of militia and self-defence service, and the Article 17 on the organisation of corporate self-defence units. Doing so will help create a huge positive change in local party committees and authorities’ leadership and direction and encourage the participation of the entire political system and people in the building and development of the coastal militia and self-defence force in the new situation.

Second, attach importance to consolidating the organisational structure and making more investments in vessels and equipment. This measure acts as a determinant to the quality of the coastal militia and self-defence force. Coastal provinces and municipalities shall be fully aware that the building of the coastal militia and self-defence force should be in accordance with the statutory organisation structure, the capacity to provide technical equipment, and the quality of the coastal militia and self-defence force. Besides, coastal provinces and municipalities shall organise the coastal militia and self-defence force with proper structure and quantity, while basing on ship service companies and fishing cooperatives to determine the specific number of members of this force. Besides, it is important to organise coastal militia and self-defence units according to sectors, fishing grounds, and production models so that we could easily manage, command, and mobilise personnel and vessels when necessary. At the same time, mechanisms for coordination should be built to promote the strength of each force and create the synergy in all operations at sea and on islands. In the recruitment process, offices, units, localities should pay due attention to educational background, fitness, and experience at sea. Priority should be given to recruiting citizens who have fulfilled military service at naval, border guard, and coast guard units and appointing them as commanders of coastal militia and self-defence squads and platoons.

In addition to consolidating the organisational structure, it is necessary to provide sufficient weapons and vessels, particularly multifunctional equipment and modern means of communication for the coastal militia and self-defence force. Moreover, plans to develop high-powered steel-hulled vessels should be formulated, while due attention should be paid to enhancing vessels’ protective capacity to effectively respond to all situations at sea.

Third, focus on training to improve the coastal militia and self-defence force’s capacity to participate in the defence of seas and islands. This measure is aimed at ensuring the coastal militia and self-defence force’s good task performance in both peacetime and wartime. To that end, offices, units, and localities shall concentrate on enhancing this force’s tactics and combat coordination with other forces at sea and on islands. They should cooperate with the Navy, the Coast Guard, and the Fisheries Resources Surveillance in improving the coastal militia and self-defence force’s task performance at sea. Great value should be attached to designing projects to protect national sovereignty, transport, medical support, and search and rescue operations at sea as well as projects on the coastal militia and self-defence force’s coordination with other forces’ main units. Consideration should be given to regularly organising exercises on command, combat coordination, and search and rescue between those forces. Besides, it is essential to organise live firing at sea and training courses on vessels’ reconnaissance, combat, rescue, repair, and transport to improve the coastal militia and self-defence force’s coordination with the Navy, the Coast Guard, the Fisheries Resources Surveillance, fishery organisations, and maritime transport companies in settling situations at sea.

In addition to tactical and technical training, offices, units, and localities shall broaden the coastal militia and self-defence force’s knowledge of law, national sovereignty over seas and islands, the Law of the Sea of Vietnam, and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982), while improving this force’s skills in encouraging fishermen to observe the Party’s guidelines and the State’s law and policy as well as combine economic development with maritime security and order consolidation.

Fourth, ensure technical-logistics support and policies for the coastal militia and self-defence force. It is worth noting that members of the coastal militia and self-defence force frequently work in a long time and harsh weather condition at sea. Therefore, offices, units, and localities shall pay regard to ensuring finance, weapons, equipment, and support tools for this force. Moreover, significance should be attached to maintaining technical support for vessels and communication systems and providing sufficient firefighting equipment, food, drinking water, medicine, and petroleum for this force at sea. Competent offices shall continue perfecting a preferential treatment policy for the coastal militia and self-defence force on duty, ensuring sufficient existing entitlements and policies for this forces’ members and their families in the process of training and task at sea, and opportunely commending and rewarding collectives and individuals with brilliant achievements in defending the Homeland’s sovereignty over seas and islands.

The successful implementation of those above-mentioned measures will provide an important prerequisite for building a strong coastal militia and self-defence force and improving its coordination with other relevant forces in maintaining maritime security and firmly protecting national sovereignty over seas and islands.

Sr. Col., Dr. NGUYEN TRONG VINH

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