Monday, October 21, 2019, 13:06 (GMT+7)
Building the Cyberspace combat force to meet the requirements of the Fatherland defence

Cyberspace is also considered as a territory to promote economic, political, and social development, to protect the national interests, and to be a new combat environment. Its role is regarded as important as land, sea, air, and space. Building a "revolutionary, regular, elite, and modern" cyberspace combat force to meet the requirements of national defense, therefore, is an urgent task in the current period.

In recent years, Vietnam has faced severe consequences from cyber-attacks. On a large scale, "technology hackers" have infiltrated the data system of a number of State agencies, businesses, banks, etc. to steal information, money, data, and install malware. In particular, taking full advantage of the cyberspace environment, hostile forces have stepped up the strategy of "peaceful evolution", promoted "self-evolution" and "self-transformation", and propagated the reactionary contents, such as distorting lines and policies of the Party and the State; inciting demonstrations, causing social disorder; and promoting extreme attitudes to divide the national great unity bloc and sabotage the relations between Vietnam and other countries in the world. In the military field, the application of science and technology in training and combat readiness is much related to computer networks. The weapon command and control systems have been increasingly optimized by the information technology system. Meanwhile, the combat plans have also been transformed and stored in the military computer systems. This is a potential risk of leakage of secrets when the enemy seeks to penetrate and sabotage systems and steal military and defense data.

Mr. Tran Quoc Vuong, member of the Politburo, permanent member of the Secretariat on a visit to Command 86

As a core force protecting the Fatherland in cyberspace, for the past years, the Ministry of Defense's cyberspace combat force has actively advised the Party, the State, the Government, and directly the Central Military Commission, the Ministry of National Defence, in formulating guidelines, solutions, mechanisms, and policies to effectively handle situations in cyberspace and to manage and protect national sovereignty over cyberspace, cyberspace combat, and information technology. At the same time, solutions have been proactively deployed to build and develop the cyberspace combat force to constantly improve the overall quality and cyberspace management, reconnaissance, surveillance, and control capabilities and timely provide early, close, accurate, and sufficient forecast, and proactively advise and handle situations in cyberspace, making important contributions to protecting the national interests and firmly defending the country early and from afar.

Our defense potential for performing cyberspace tasks, however, is still insufficient. Additionally, as the Ministry of Defense’s Cyberspace ​​combat force is in the early process of development, its capacity remains inadequate, while its specialized means and equipment, network weapons, and facilities serving for cyberspace warfare are still limited, not yet synchronized, and low in mobility. The assignment of roles and responsibilities in managing information systems and the functions and tasks of specialized forces under the Ministry of Defense and relevant units in ensuring information security and safety in cyberspace is somehow unspecified; mechanism of mobilizing forces to protect the Fatherland in cyberspace has yet to be mature.

In order to build a strong cyberspace combat force, heading straight to modernity under the motto "loyalty, discipline, intelligence, and efficiency", with a refined and compact staff and synchronous and modern weapons and equipment to serve as a core and specialized force in performing the tasks of protecting the military and defense information system, participate in protecting other important national information systems, be ready response to the enemy’s attack, and firmly defend national sovereignty over cyberspace, in the coming time, it is necessary to well perform a number of basic contents as follows.

Firstly, strengthening the consolidation of organization and staffing and unifying the system of leadership and command in cyberspace combat. The objective is to build a lean, compact and effective staff for the cyberspace combat force on par with the development of weapons, equipment, network technical infrastructure, application of information technology, method of organizing cyberspace combat, and the military restructuring plan until 2021 and beyond. Actively advise and perfect the structure of the Cyberspace Operations Command (Command 86) in Stage 2; consolidate and propose to establish a number of specialized affiliate units of the command. Concurrently, closely coordinate with the functional agencies of the Ministry of Defense to direct and guide military units to continue to perfect the structure of the cyberspace task force Army-wide.

Secondly, building an all-strong cyberspace combat force. First of all, focus should be placed on building a strong force in terms of politics and ideology, considering this to be the most important and fundamental task in building the cyberspace combat force. Accordingly, agencies and units should regularly perform well the task of education and briefing to continuously enhance the awareness of officers, soldiers, and employees about the Party's views and guidelines, the State’s policies and laws, resolutions and directives of the Central Military Commission, the Ministry of Defense, situation of military and defense tasks, management and protection of sovereignty, and information safety and network security assurance. In the implementation process, it is necessary to closely combine the innovation of content and methods of improving the quality of political education with ideological management and orientation to actively fight against wrong views and perceptions to avoid "self-evolution" and "self-transformation". Besides, it is necessary to well perform the work of internal political protection to ensure absolute safety in politics and prevent the enemy from invading, planting, connecting, and sabotaging that reveal the State and military secrets from cyberspace.

Thirdly, investing in the procurement of modern weapons and equipment and the construction of infrastructure for cyberspace combat operations. Regarding the direction, it is necessary to actively advise the Party, the State, the Central Military Commission, and the Ministry of Defense to prioritize investment in key projects, including: "Development of military and defense computer networks to tactical agencies and units for command automation”, "Digitization, smartization, and modernization of military and defense weapons and technical equipment", "Protection of command automation and high-tech weapon control systems"; "Construction of the anti-malware system in the Ministry of Defense", etc. and plans for mobilizing military and defense computer infrastructure for the Party, State, local important national information systems to serve the management and administration.

As for the Command 86, it is necessary to invest in the construction of infrastructure, barracks, Headquarters, and its brigades to ensure information security and safety and cyberspace combat in all three regions. Modern and specialized weapons and equipment should be procured to ensure the ability to collect and analyze information in cyberspace; supervise and administer the responses to cyber-attacks on important national, military, and defense information infrastructures; and detect and prevent intentional attacks and prevent data leakage, etc., to contribute to improving the cyberspace combat force's ability to perform reconnaissance, defense, and cyber-attack missions. At the same time, continue to promote the efficient, effective, and practical implementation of movements and drives on promoting initiatives, technical improvements, and research to master and develop weapons and equipment for cyberspace combat.

In addition, it is necessary to build and develop the forces of reservists and collaborators on information technology and related fields with scale and form suitable to each area, region, locality, economic sector, type of businesses and political and social organizations. Thereby, a wide network of cyberspace combat will be established in the cyberspace people’s war posture to be ready to mobilize means and human resources in the field of information technology, information security, network security, and related fields and effectively solve difficult, sensitive, and intensive task to promptly prevent, repel, and defeat the conspiracies and activities using cyberspace to sabotage the cause of Fatherland construction and defence of in the new situation.

Major General, Pham Viet Trung, PhD, Deputy Commander, Chief of Staff of Command 86

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For the past nearly 75 years of establishment, combat and growth, under the leadership, education and training of the Communist Party of Vietnam and President Ho Chi Minh, the VPA has become increasingly strong; achieved various feats of arms and outstanding achievements, making significant contribution to glorious victories of the whole nation in the cause of national liberation, construction and defense.