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Monday, September 06, 2021, 10:03 (GMT+7)
Building a strong General Staff of the Vietnam People’s Army on a par with its task in the new revolutionary period

Immediately after the success of the August Revolution, on September 7th, 1945, at the Tonkin Palace (the present-day State Guest House - No.12 Ngo Quyen Street, Hanoi), President Ho Chi Minh tasked comrade Hoang Van Thai with establishing a staff agency of the Military (with the participation of comrade Vo Nguyen Giap, Minister of Internal Affairs) so as to command the country’s armed forces. According to President Ho Chi Minh, “the General Staff is a confidential military agency tasked with training the Military, grasping information about our enemies, developing strategies, and organising a smooth, secret, quick, timely, accurate command system to defeat all enemies and protect our revolution.”

Following Uncle Ho’s teachings, since its inception, under the leadership and direction from the Party Central Committee, the Politburo, particularly the Central Military Commission (CMC) and the Ministry of National Defence (MND), the General Staff have achieved many brilliant feats of arms in our national liberation wars and national construction and protection cause to deserve to be the highest-level staff agency of the Vietnam People’s Army (VPA) and the Vietnam Militia and Self-Defence Force (VMSF). In our national liberation wars, the General Staff gave sound advice to the Politburo, the CMC and the MND on formulating military-defence strategies and organising the VPA and the VMSF. Together with the entire Military and people, it surmounted all difficulties and challenges to defeat the most powerful colonialists and imperialists. Our Military and people’s victories resulted from our Party’s direction over the people’s war and the creative application of the Vietnamese military art of “taking the few against the many,” while proving that the General Staff is a flexible and loyal strategic staff agency.

Grasping the Party’s viewpoints  and guidelines on the people’s war and an “all-people, comprehensive” resistance war against the French colonialists, the General Staff gave combat commands to the armed forces across the country to defeat the French colonialists’ strategy of “rapid fight, rapid victory” (1945-1947), while developing, gradually enhancing, and combining the guerilla war with joint operations. It also attached great importance to building the three-category armed forces extensively. Besides, it step by step consolidated its organisational structure to be capable of giving advice and directions and gaining victories in military campaigns as the turning point in strategic regions and on battlefields all over the country, with the victory of Dien Bien Phu putting an end to the French invasion of Vietnam.

In the resistance war against the U.S. imperialists, for national salvation, the General Staff advised the Party Central Committee, the Politburo, the CMC and the MND on building and developing the three-category armed forces, making preparations for the war, directing strategic and campaign-level operations, and developing the Vietnamese military art. The General Staff directed the three-category armed forces to defeat all war strategies of the U.S. imperialists, obtain resounding victories, change the war situation, and force the U.S. to sign the Paris Accords on “ending the war and restoring peace in Vietnam” (January 27th, 1973). Seizing the strategic opportunity, the General Staff suggested choosing the Central Highlands as the main attacking direction and Buon Ma Thuot as the campaign-level key battle. As a result, we succeeded in dispersing enemy troops and changing the complexion of the war in our favour. The General Staff opportunely proposed a transformation from strategic offensive into general offensive and uprising to liberate the South, with the victory of the historic Ho Chi Minh Campaign completely liberating the South and reunifying the country.

In the national construction and protection period, the General Staff has gradually accessed and mastered scientific and technological advances, commanded our armed forces to gain victories in the wars to protect the national border in the Southwest and the North, prevented violations of our border, sea, and island sovereignty, and fulfilled the international mission. Furthermore, it has implemented a lot of measures to improve the quality of training, combat readiness, military standard order, and discipline management. It has well performed its role in state management of national defence, the building of the all-people national defence and the posture of all-people national defence associated with the people’s security and the posture of people’s security as well as the building of a revolutionary, regular, elite, gradually modern VPA, with a number of services, corps, and forces moving straight to modernity. At the same time, it has advised the Party, the State, the CMC, and the MND on designing the Strategy to Defend the Homeland in the new situation, the National Defence Strategy, the Military Strategy, the Strategy to Defend the National Border, the Strategy to Protect the Homeland in Cyberspace and many other policies relating to the military-defence work and the Homeland protection. In addition, it has placed emphasis on building a powerful reserve force and a strong, extensive VMSF, deploying forces to help the people with natural disaster and epidemic prevention and control, closely cooperating with the Public Security Force in protecting national security, maintaining social order and safety, and combating crime. Due regard has been paid to combining economic development with defence consolidation to create the synergy for the Homeland protection. Consideration has been given to actively, proactively taking part in the United Nations peacekeeping operations in the Central African Republic and South Sudan to make contributions to raising the status of our country and VPA in the international arena and bolstering the image of “Uncle Ho’s soldiers” in the new period.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc giving the First-Class Homeland Protection Order to the General Staff in September 2020 (photo: qdnd.vn)

In the upcoming years, the situation on a global and regional scale will have complicated, unpredictable developments, particularly in the East Sea. The hostile forces will continue enhancing their “peaceful evolution” strategy and promoting “self-evolution,” “self-transformation”, and their plot to “depoliticise” our Military and sabotage our Party and people’s revolutionary cause. More task requirements are being imposed on the Homeland protection. Therefore, it is necessary to correctly anticipate the hostile forces’ schemes and artifices and propose proper strategies to deal with complex, sensitive issues relating to national defence and security and avoid strategic passivity in any situation. To that end, the General Staff must act as a comprehensively strong strategic staff agency, with a focus on the following.

First, frequently thoroughly grasp the guidelines, resolutions, and directives by the Party, the CMC, and Minister of National Defence as the basis for maintaining and raising the function as a strategic staff agency. The guidelines and viewpoints on building the VPA, consolidating national defence, and protecting the Homeland are presented in the Party’s Platforms, resolutions and directives; they have always been developed and completed via party congresses. Grasping the Party’s guidelines and viewpoints on the military-defence task and the Homeland protection will guarantee the leadership of the Party, the CMC and the MND over the General Staff. More specifically, the General Staff shall effectively implement the Resolution by the 11th Party Central Committee’s 8th Plenum on “the Strategy to Defend the Homeland in the new situation,” the Resolutions of the 13th National Party Congress and the 11th Military Party Congress, resolutions of the CMC, and directives of Ministers of National Defence on the military-defence task. Grounded on those documents, it is important to make strategic forecasts about the situation on a global and regional scale, particularly strategies by major powers and regional countries to identify partners and opponents. At the same time, the General Staff shall closely cooperate with central committees, ministries, and sectors in opportunely giving advice to the Party, the State, the CMC, and the MND on formulating strategies to flexibly, effectively settle issues and avoid falling into strategic passivity. Emphasis should be placed on designing and supplementing projects and plans to defend the country, adjusting the strategic disposition properly, and improving the quality of building the all-people national defence and the posture of all-people national defence associated with the posture of people’s security as well as all-level defensive lines and zones to meet the task requirements when our country is in wartime. Due attention should be paid to undertaking more researches into the military-defence work as the basis for developing the Vietnamese military art and advising the Party and the State to formulate policies for the armed forces and issues relating to national defence.

Second, give advice and directions on building a “revolutionary, regular, elite, gradually modern” VPA, a “strong, extensive” VMSF, and a powerful reserve force. According to the Resolution of the 13th National Party Congress, we shall “build a revolutionary, regular, elite, gradually modern VPA and Public Security Force, with several services, corps, and forces moving straight to modernity. By 2025, the building of a compact, strong VPA and Public Security Force will have been completed as a solid foundation for building a politically, ideologically, morally, and organisationally strong, revolutionary, regular, elite, modern VPA and Public Security Force from 2030.” To that end, the General Staff shall proactively give advice on the building of a “revolutionary, regular, elite, gradually modern” VPA and the organisational structure and materiel acquisition of several services and corps which will move straight to modernity as the basis for building a modern VPA from 2030. Moreover, it shall focus on building a “powerful” reserve force and a “strong, extensive” VMSF. Great value should be attached to building standing key militia units in the land border areas and standing maritime militia squadrons capable of taking part in defending national sovereignty over seas and islands in the new situation. The General Staff shall propose a reform in training programmes within military schools and academies in order to raise the quality of teaching, learning, and scientific research, train a contingent of high-calibre cadres, and meet the requirements set by the Military build-up in the new period.

The General Staff shall direct the entire VPA to renew training, education and exercises so as to improve their synergy and combat strength to firmly protect the Homeland. Emphasis should be placed on renewing and making training programmes and methods relevant to each group of troops and practical conditions of each office and unit, while exercises should be organised in accordance with combat environments and complex situations. Besides, it is essential to hold strategic, campaign-level, and defensive zone exercises, improve combat coordination between main units and local armed forces within defensive zones, and combine exercises with combat projects and plans in strategic directions to contribute to enhancing the VPA’s power, consolidating national defence, and protecting the Homeland.

Third, well perform the work of military diplomacy as the basis for raising the VPA’s status and protecting the Homeland from afar. Amidst complex developments relating to national security, the General Staff shall keep grasping and effectively executing the Politburo’s Resolution 22-NQ/TW on international integration and the CMC’s Resolution 806-NQ/QUTW on military international integration and diplomacy towards 2020 and beyond. It shall correctly, opportunely analyse and anticipate all issues, goals, benefits, and strategic intentions of countries, particularly major powers and trends in international and regional relations. Significance should be attached to maintaining close coordination between offices in charge of military diplomacy and central agencies to give advice to the Party, the State, the CMC and the MND on appropriate strategies and issues on defence relations. Due regard should be paid to enhancing bilateral and multilateral defence relations, building trust, and maintaining defence friendship with countries. Priority should be given to cooperating with neighbours, major powers, ASEAN member states, and traditional friends in order to cement trust and maintain peace and stability for the country’s development. Importance should be attached to proactively, actively, responsibly participating in multilateral and bilateral military diplomatic activities, international forums, and the United Nations peacekeeping operations to enable other countries to more clearly understand Vietnam’s defence nature and policy and consolidate the status of our VPA and country in the international arena as the basis for maintaining political security, safeguarding national interests, and protecting national independence, unification, and territorial integrity.

Fourth, concentrate on building a politically, ideologically, morally, and organisationally strong and pure Party Organisation of the General Staff - the MND Office as well as a contingent of cadres with political zeal, great knowledge, and absolute loyalty to the Homeland, the Party, the State, and the people. In order to build a strong and pure Party Organisation of the General Staff - the MND Office, first of all, it is necessary to make affiliated party committees and organisations politically, ideologically, morally and organisationally strong. It is important to frequently educate cadres and party members to grasp the Party’s guidelines and resolutions and directives by the CMC and the MND. Due attention should be paid to implementing the 12th Party Central Committee’s Resolution No.4 on the Party building and rectification in tandem with the Politburo’s Directive 05-CT/TW and the CMC Standing Board’s Directive 87-CT/QUTW on studying and following Ho Chi Minh’s ideology, ethics, and lifestyle. Significance should be attached to proactively, actively preventing and fighting against the degradation in political ideology, morality and lifestyle as well as the signs of “self-evolution” and “self-transformation” from within.

To fulfil its function as a strategic staff agency, the General Staff shall focus on raising the quality of its cadres, particularly the key ones and experts who give advice to the CMC and the MND on organising, leading, and directing the VPA and the VMSF. It shall keep grasping the CMC’s Resolution 769-NQ/QUTW, dated December 21st, 2012 on “building a contingent of military cadres in the period of 2013-2020 and beyond” and other resolutions and regulations by the Politburo and the Party Central Committee on personnel use, planning, training, and appointment to ensure that all-level cadres will be possess political zeal, absolute loyalty to the Homeland, the Party, the State, and the people, pure morality, a sense of discipline, and great capability in commanding joint operations, particularly in modern warfare. Great value should be attached to building a pool of staff cadres who will be enthusiastic about their job, expert in military, political, economic, cultural, social, scientific, technical, and technological areas, and capable of undertaking and successfully fulfilling all assigned missions. Moreover, due regard should be paid to formulating and effectively executing projects under the 12th Politburo’s Conclusion 16-KL/TW, dated July 7th, 2017, building an “exemplarily, typically” comprehensively strong General Staff, reviewing the staff work, and developing the Vietnamese military art.

Celebrating the 76th founding anniversary, cadres, soldiers, and employees of the VPA’s General Staff will always be proud of their previous generations’ contributions and sacrifice, surmount all difficulties and challenges, heighten self-reliance,  and promote the tradition of “loyalty, wisdom, dedication, creativity, unity, coordination, determination to fight, and determination to win” to build an increasingly strong General Staff capable of successfully fulfilling the task entrusted by our Party, State, people, and VPA.

Sr. Lt. Gen. NGUYEN TAN CUONG, Member of the Party Central Committee, Member of the CMC Standing Board, Chief of the VPA’s General Staff, Deputy Minister of National Defence

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