Monday, October 21, 2019, 13:06 (GMT+7)
VPA to step up countering “Peaceful Evolution” in Cyberspace

Proactively and actively preventing and countering the hostile forces' "peaceful evolution" in cyberspace are urgent, regular and long-term tasks. It is necessary to bring into play the role of the whole political system, under the leadership of the Party, in which Viet Nam People's Army (VPA) is the vanguard and key force in this struggle.

Nowadays, information technology and cyberspace play an extremely important role in the development of countries worldwide, including Viet Nam. However, hostile forces, reactionaries and political opportunists are exploiting the cyberspace to do damage to the Party, State and VPA by means of many malicious, subtle and cunning tricks. They establish websites, blogs, "forums," and "clubs" to disseminate distorted, harmful information, documents, photos and video clips. Their main tricks are to exploit shortcomings and weaknesses in economic, cultural, social management, use information about wrongdoings in our life in order to distort the truth and exaggerate shortcomings and weaknesses, attribute phenomena to nature and publish both true and false information to criticise and deny Marxism-Leninism, Ho Chi Minh's Thought, traditions and revolutionary nature of the VPA, smear the image of "Uncle Ho's Soldiers," sow division in the military-civil relations, and so on. By doing so, they seek to step up manifestations of "self-evolution" and "self-transformation" within the Party and the VPA, propagandise pragmatic lifestyle, and gradually introduce foreign cultural ideologies to people's cultural and social life with the aim of undermining combat objectives and ideals, destroying organisations, and downgrading social ethics. The information is manipulated in a subtle way to mingle truth and falsehood, becoming extremely dangerous. The VPA is one of their targets because it is the key force to defend the Party, State and people. Their ultimate goals are to "depoliticise" the VPA, remove the VPA from the Party's leadership and keep the VPA from getting involved in politics, thus making the Communist Party of Viet Nam (CVP) lose its leadership over the VPA, State and society.

Grasping that situation, the Central Military Commission (CMC), Ministry of National Defence (MND) and General Political Department (GPD) of the VPA have paid regular attention to leading, instructing and directing the prevention and countering of "peaceful evolution" in cyberspace. Party committees at all levels in the VPA have perceived and strictly implemented resolutions, directives and guiding documents of the Party Central Committee, CMC, MND, GPD about preventing and countering false, hostile points of view. Departments and units have taken initiative in establishing standing bodies, professional forces to participate in this work and creating necessary material conditions for executing this work at each level. Moreover, Party committees, political commissars, junior political commissars, commanders, political organisations and political cadres at all levels have brought into play their key role in leading, directing and instructing the prevention and response to false, hostile standpoints in cyberspace. Besides, the whole military has successfully conducted ideological education to raise the awareness and responsibility of cadres, Party members and the mass, mobilised the overall power of organisations and forces, and renewed contents, methods and forms of struggle to improve operational effectiveness. Therefore, political security, social order and safety, and cyber security have been ensured, creating favourable conditions for building and safeguarding the Homeland in the new situation. These important achievements have proved that our military always deserves to be the key force in the struggle to defeat the hostile forces' plots and tricks of "peaceful evolution."

Apart from the above results, there remain limitations in the prevention and countering of "peaceful evolution" in cyberspace. To enhance the quality and effectiveness of the struggle against "peaceful evolution" in cyberspace, it is necessary to focus on the following measures.

First, strengthening the leadership and instruction of Party committees, commanders and political organisations at all levels on this vital mission. Preventing and countering "peaceful evolution" in cyberspace must be considered important, regular, long-term tasks, which help to protect the Homeland from afar. Consequently, Party committees, political commissars, junior political commissars, commanders and political organisations at all levels must understand clearly their roles, responsibilities and the need to step up this uncompromising struggle to achieve unified awareness and actions. It is important to successfully carry out the project "The VPA prevents and responds to 'peaceful evolution' in ideological, cultural fields in the new situation," make the prevention and response to "peaceful evolution" in cyberspace become part of regular or special resolutions of Party committees and contents of Party committees' meetings to ensure their close connection with practical missions of departments and units. Party committees at all levels are requested to develop suitable programmes, plans, contents and methods to counter "peaceful evolution" in cyberspace, making them well suited for specific objects of propaganda and struggle. At the same time, the inspection, supervision and summing-up must be successfully carried out in order to apply experience in a creative, proper manner without mechanical imitation. Furthermore, it is necessary to closely control cadres, Party members and civil servants, strengthen the compliance with discipline, laws and rules governing speech, and be well aware of situations in social networks through blogs, Facebook, etc., of military personnel who have manifestations of degradation in ideology and politics, "self-evolution" and "self-transformation." Those who deliberately violate regulations must be punished according to the Party's regulations and State's laws.

Second, promoting education to raise cadres and soldiers' awareness, responsibility and proactiveness in preventing and countering "peaceful evolution" in cyberspace. Cadres and soldiers, especially the corps of Party members and leading cadres at all levels, must possess political steadfastness and thorough understanding of Marxism-Leninism and Ho Chi Minh's Thought so as to enable them to carry out the struggle effectively. Accordingly, departments and units are also requested to continue successfully implementing the project of "reforming political education in units in the new period." Academies and other training institutions need to further improve the quality of education and research into political theory, notably Marxism-Leninism, Ho Chi Minh's Thought, the Party's guidelines, the State's policies and law, in order to clarify the scientific and practical basis of the Party's standpoints on military and national defence and analyse emerging issues in a convincingly and thorough manner. Additionally, it is necessary to combine the struggle against "peaceful evolution" on ideological, cultural front with the studying and following Ho Chi Minh's ideology, morality and style while continuing to carry out the campaign of "promoting tradition, devoting talent, deserving to be Uncle Ho's Soldiers" in the new situation. The thorough understanding of cyberspace and hostile forces' plots, tricks and methods to conduct sabotage in cyberspace will help to make cadres and soldiers immune to bad information and enhance their resistance, proactively responding and resolutely struggling against hostile forces' sabotage.

Third, proactively providing cadres, soldiers and people with information to guide their thought. Currently, Viet Nam has 58 million Facebook users and receives much information through this social network. However, there is little official information released by relevant agencies on social networks. When sensitive issues occur, functional bodies often respond slowly with inappropriate forms of information dissemination, creating a widespread of fake news and causing confusion among the public. Therefore, functional agencies have to provide people with information as stipulated by Law on Cyber Security and Regulations on Making Speech, especially matters relating to the VPA, in a keen, timely and proactive manner. As for complex, sensitive issues, which may have great influence, commanders at all levels need to direct functional bodies to follow close behind instructions of the higher echelons and take initiative in developing guiding documents in order to create high consensus in departments, units and people in stationing areas. The standing offices of the 35th Steering Board at all levels focus on compiling monographic, referential material to propagandise and educate forces responsible for the struggle in cyberspace. Each level should well maintain regulations on meeting to provide information, orient contents and reach agreement on methods to conduct the struggle in cyberspace. Attention is paid to identifying clearly the goals and sabotage allegations of hostile forces in news and articles, and providing the forces responsible for the struggle in cyberspace with a solid foundation for writing articles to oppose the reactionary allegations.

Fourth, actively applying modern technologies and effectively exploiting information technology and artificial intelligence in the struggle against "peaceful evolution" in cyberspace. Technological departments and units under the direct leadership of the MND, especially the 86th Command, on the basis of their functions and missions, step up researching and applying information technology and artificial intelligence to the prevention and response to "peaceful evolution" in cyberspace. They are also to perfect and put the software used for managing and supporting the struggle in cyberspace into operation in order to conduct active communications campaigns. It is necessary to research and propose the use of Mocha Viettel and production of internal mobile phones, which both serves the need of healthy information for entertainment and contributes to controlling cadres and soldiers' thoughts, opinions and activities in cyberspace.

Preventing and countering "peaceful evolution" in cyberspace is a long-term, complex, stern struggle. Given their leading role in this struggle, military units should realise synchronised, effective, practical solutions, contributing to defeating every plot and trick of peaceful evolution" of hostile forces.

Major General, Associate Professor, Doctor Dau Van Nam

Deputy Political Commissar, Army Academy

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