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Tuesday, August 24, 2021, 08:01 (GMT+7)
Building and developing a modern, dual-purpose defence industry of Vietnam to meet the requirements of national construction and protection

Building and developing a modern, dual-purpose defence industry of Vietnam to serve the Homeland defence and socio-economic development is an important strategy stipulated in the Resolution of the 13th National Party Congress. To realise that strategy, it is necessary to promote the synergy of the entire Party, Military and people, with Defence  Industry  playing a core role.

Defence industry is an important part of national industry an the country’s defence-security potential. Being fully aware of the importance of defence industry, the Central Military Commission (CMC) and the Ministry of National Defence (MND) have focused their leadership and direction on unceasingly developing this type of industry. Up to now, defence industry has researched, manufactured, and repaired a large number of weapons, equipment, ammunition, and dual-purpose economic products, thereby gradually meeting the requirements of training, combat readiness, and combat, greatly contributing to fighting to defend the Homeland and boosting socio-economic development. Bringing into play those good results, with a strategic vision based on reality, particularly the demands for Military build-up in the new situation, the 13th National Party Congress has advocated that it is important to “build and develop modern, dual-purpose defence and security industries to both serve the Homeland protection and make significant contributions to socio-economic development.” This acts as a strategic step towards the guidelines on building a revolutionary, regular, elite, gradually modern Vietnam People’s Army (VPA); by 2025, the VPA will have been basically made compact and strong as a solid foundation for building a modern VPA from 2030 according to the Resolution of the 13th National Party Congress. To fulfil this important task, party committees and commands at all levels, particularly within the Defence Industry Branch should effectively, synchronously, scientifically adopt measures, with a focus on the following.

First, enhance all-level party committees and commands’ leadership and direction and complete the system of legal normative documents on defence industry. This is a top solution aimed at providing a legal foundation and achieving a consensus on the guidelines and approaches within all-level party committees and commands for building and developing defence industry to satisfy new task requirements. It is necessary to continue grasping resolutions and directives on building and developing defence industry, particularly the 11th Politburo’s Resolution 06-NQ/TW, dated July 16th, 2011 on the Project to “step up defence and security industry development for the Homeland construction and protection in the new situation,” the 12th Politburo’s Resolution 24-NQ/TW, dated April 16th, 2018 on “the National Defence Strategy of Vietnam,” the Resolution of the 11th Military Party Congress (for the 2020-2025 tenure), and the Master Plan on building and developing defence industry towards 2025, with a vision towards 2035. Party committees at all levels shall concretise those documents into resolutions to lead and direct the building and development of a modern, dual-purpose defence industry, with significance attached to implementing strategies, master plans and projects in each area of defence industry to ensure relevance to reality, feasibility, a high level of science, and criteria of modernity and dualism. Greater importance should be attached to designing projects on researching and manufacturing a number of modern, necessary weapons and equipment for the country’s defence in both long and short terms, particularly the strategic materiel in accordance with Vietnam’s comprehensive potential. In order to create a legal corridor for managing and operating the building and development of defence industry under the Party’s guidelines, competent offices and relevant forces shall review the system of promulgated documents on defence industry, opportunely identify inappropriate issues, and supplement new points to meet the requirements set by reality. Besides, emphasis should be placed on formulating plans and a roadmap to gradually complete the system of legal documents, especially the Law on Vietnam Defence Industry towards renewal and international integration. Due attention should be paid to improving the efficiency of state management of defence industry and stepping up administrative reform in this field practically.

Defence Minister, Gen. Phan Van Giang addressing the conference to review the Ordinance on defence industry

The system of legal documents should help lift “barriers” to encourage and attract resources and investments for the development of defence industry, while legal documents on intellectual property, science and technology market, technological transfer, protection of state and military secrets, competition, and bidding should be step by step applied. At the same time, it is essential to closely combine legal documents on defence industry with defence, military, socio-economic development strategies and policies.

Second, diversify resources to develop defence industry under the new task requirements. The demand for investment in building and developing a modern defence industry is very large, especially in core technologies for designing and manufacturing advanced weapons and equipment as well as in system integration and weapons inspection and trial. Meanwhile, the State’s budget for defence industry is limited. Therefore, in addition to increasing the State’s investment, it is necessary to adopt various methods of mobilising and promoting all possible resources for this important task. In the process, consideration should be given to researching and learning from other developed countries’ experience in attracting investments and top experts, transferring and receiving technologies, encouraging economic sectors to take part in developing supporting industries for defence industry, and adopting public-private partnership and joint venture with other countries. Offices and units shall attach special importance to making investments in renewing and modernising technologies, “gaining a head start by taking a shortcut,” and developing technical infrastructure. In the medium term, it is necessary to concentrate all resources on speeding up key programmes and projects and gradually transfer technologies to civil industries as the basis for developing national industry. Additionally, great weight should be added to building, developing, and attracting high-calibre human resources for defence industry. Priority should be given to building a contingent of high-quality managerial cadres, scientists, experts, and engineers as well as defence industry think tanks. At the same time, due regard should be paid to training, retraining, cultivating, and using human resources in accordance with the goal and roadmap for building and developing defence industry in each period and mission.

Third, consolidate the organisational model of defence industry and mechanisms for managing this field so that it will become a central part of national industry. In addition to ensuring self-reliance in design, manufacturing, production and repair, it is essential to renew, build, and develop a modern defence industry in terms of organisational structure, management mechanism, master planning, scientific topic, project, programme, and technology assembly line. Organisational planning and consolidation should be examined carefully to ensure production capacity. Scientific and technological advances and achievements in the 4th industrial revolution should be applied to researching, designing, and manufacturing products for the VPA’s modernisation and the people’s life so as to achieve a breakthrough in science and technology. Besides, it is important to continue consolidating the organisational structure of military repair and production facilities, closely combine design with production, align production with repair, ensure deeper integration into national industry, and further raise the effectiveness of combining defence with economy and vice versa in all operations of defence industry. Emphasis should be placed on rearranging and reducing defence industry facilities, enlarging, improving and associating the core ones with civil industries, step by step constructing defence industry clusters in accordance with the country’s strategic defence. Moreover, great value should be attached to proactively orientating operations of corporations, businesses, and factories according to each group of sectors and products, and focusing technical and financial resources on building and modernising large-scale military enterprises so that they will be capable of designing and manufacturing state-of-the-art weapons, equipment, and dual-purpose and civil products of high economic value to serve the modernisation of the VPA.

Fourth, enhance international cooperation and the level of science and technology within defence industry to meet the requirements of integration. In order to proactively build and develop a modern, dual-purpose defence industry amidst the globalisation and the 4th industrial revolution, under the Party’s diplomatic guidelines, offices and units shall actively integrate defence industry into the world deeply, widely, comprehensively and effectively. They shall maintain both bilateral and multilateral cooperative relationships under the spirit of self-reliance. Via solutions to build trust, it is necessary to consolidate relations with strategic and traditional partners and create a favourable environment for accessing financial, scientific and technical resources and methods of advanced management. In this regard, emphasis should be placed on taking advantage of the existing traditional partnerships and raising the effectiveness of win-win relations relevant to the trend of international cooperation in the new period. More importantly, together with cooperation in training high-quality human resources, offices and units shall step up technological joint venture and transfer to manufacture modern weapons and technical equipment and products of high economic value. At the same time, due attention should be paid to bringing into play the autonomy of defence industry facilities, improving their competitiveness, building their brands, expanding their market, and promoting trade, export, and import to contribute to fulfilling the dual goals of military modernisation and socio-economic development.

Building and developing a modern, dual-purpose defence industry of Vietnam to serve the Homeland protection and socio-economic development under the Resolution of the 13th National Party Congress represent a task of urgency and importance; however, there should be scientific approaches in accordance with the country’s potential in order to avoid hasty, ineffective investments and greatly contribute to the VPA’s modernisation under the preset roadmap.

Sr. Col. DUONG VAN HUNG, Institute for Defence Strategy  

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