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Saturday, July 21, 2018, 09:58 (GMT+7)
Fundamental views on Homeland protection expressed in Vietnam’s National Defence Strategy

Grounded on the Party’s military and defence line, analysis and evaluation of the situation as well as counselling and proposal by the Ministry of National Defence (MoD), in early 2018, the Politburo ratified Vietnam’s National Defence Strategy (hereafter the NDS). Technically, this is a strategy to defend the country from afar against wars of aggression by employing the whole nation’s synergy in combination with the strength of the times on the basis of the Party’s sound political guidelines in which national defence power serves as the key, and military power represents a feature. The NDS demonstrates the development of the Party’s thinking on Homeland protection in the era of international integration and economic development and represents the concretization of the Resolution of the 11th Party Central Committee’s 8th Plenum on “Strategy to defend the Homeland in the new situation”. This is the first time Vietnam has had a complete NDS with full of objectives, views, principles, guidelines, tasks and measures. Among these, the Strategy’s system of views on Homeland protection is of utmost importance and the basis for directing sectors, forces and localities to implement it.

According to the NDS, the Party’s leadership, the State’s management, the whole nation’s great unity block, the political-spiritual foundation and the “people’s hearts and minds” posture represent elements directly deciding the victory of the cause of national defence. The Strategy concretizes the view on the relationship between the national independence, sovereignty, unification, territorial integrity, and interests safeguarding and the Party, State, people and socialist regime defending. In this strategy, Vietnam advocates persistently pursuing guidelines on the all-people’s national defence and people’s warfare associated with the building of strong political system; closely combining peaceful struggle with military struggle to defeat all wars of aggression and riots and conversions by hostile forces; actively handling the relationship between independence and self-reliance and international integration. At the same time, the Strategy affirms the core role of the People’s Army and the People’s Public Security in the cause of national defence.

Views mentioned above constitute a whole that both inherits the country’s tradition of national protection, valuable lessons during the Vietnamese revolution and the world’s defence-military quintessence, and contains the developments in accordance with the mainstream of the times and reality of Homeland protection in the era of international integration and economic development. New points in the Party’s line on national defence have been mentioned more deeply and comprehensively, supplemented and developed more completely than before. In the previous periods, Vietnam’s views on national defence were expressed in resolutions and directives by the Party and the Central Military Commission (CMC) with only guidelines; however, in this Strategy, our Party clearly determined targets, contents and requirements for each point of view as well as the mission of national defence in each strategic situation.

In fact, those viewpoints mentioned above were presented in documents of the Party’s Congresses, resolutions and directives by the Party Central Committee and the CMC, particularly in the Resolution of the 11th Party Central Committee’s 8th Plenum on the Strategy to defend the Homeland in the new situation, which were implemented in each revolutionary period. The history of our country’s revolution, especially over the past 30 years of national renewal, has revealed that there have been significant achievements in implementing the Party’s views on national defence. The work of defence and security propagation and education for cadres, party members and people has been set in order, thereby achieving a sense of unity between awareness and action towards the Homeland protection. The all-people national defence and the posture of all-people national defence associated with the people’s security posture, particularly the “people’s hearts and minds” posture have been made increasingly strong. Due attention has been paid to investing in building gradually strong defensive zones at all levels. The work of defence diplomacy has obtained practical results. The synergy and combat readiness level and capability of the armed forces have ceaselessly improved, thereby contributing to defending national sovereignty and territory, creating a favourable environment for national industrialization and modernization.

However, there still exist some weaknesses in grasp and implementation of the Party’s line on national defence, particularly in awareness of the building of all-people national defence as well as in policy and law, affecting the country’s national defence strength. Meanwhile, risks pointed out by our Party have still remained. The issues on partners and opponents, strategic space, forms of warfare have had new developments threatening the stability of national defence and security. Thus, the views on national defence presented in the NDS must be thoroughly grasped by our whole Party, people and military via synchronous, practical measures as follows.

First, enhancing the Party’s leadership and direction, and the State’s management and operation towards the cause of national defence. To do so, importance should be attached to concretizing every issue on national defence into guidelines, policies and laws, and to identifying mechanisms for leadership and direction at each level properly. Competent organs of the MoD should proactively cooperate with organs of relevant committees, ministries, and sectors in studying and concretizing functions and leading, directing role of the CMC and the MoD in performing defence task nationwide. At the same time, they should study and supplement functions, tasks and relationships regarding national defence between the Military Region’s Party Committee and provincial (municipal) party committees, and the Military Region’s High Command and localities in the area. In the current situation, to enhance the Party’s leadership and the State’s management in national defence field, due regard should be given to building strong, pure party organizations politically, ideologically, organizationally, morally at all levels; to promoting a sense of unity; strictly implementing mechanisms for inspection and supervision, and power control; to gradually completing mechanisms for the Party’s leadership over national defence; to consolidating the organizational structure of organs and the staff in charge of national defence in ministries and sectors under the Government.

Second, combining the national construction and development with the enhancements of defence potential and strength to defend the Homeland in all situations. This is an important basis for firmly maintaining national independence and self-reliance in carrying out the task of national defence. To that end, sectors, forces, localities and all people should focus on economic development, improve economic independence and self-reliance, and closely combine economic development with defence consolidation in each region and area, and nationwide. It is necessary to step up the study and adjustment of the planning of regions and areas which are strategically important to national defence with emphasis placed on aligning the planning of key economic zones with national defence, especially those strategically important to national-level defence. Moreover, ministries, sectors and localities should supplement and adjust the plans on economic mobilization in the early stage of the war associated with the plans for socio-economic development nationwide. At the same time, it is important to plan defence disposition in line with socio-economic development. Significance should be attached to planning defence land for training, exercise and weapon testing. Today, in addition to economic development, the State should renew policies and financial mechanisms to mobilize social resources for developing education and high-quality human resources, meeting the requirements of national defence.

Third, concentrating on building strong all-people national defence in terms of potential, forces and posture. In this regard, consideration should be given to building revolutionary, regular, elite, gradually modern People’s Army to successfully achieve the target of the NDS. First, a focus should be placed on building strong Army politically, ideologically, organizationally and making it absolutely loyal to the Party, Homeland and people, full aware of its missions, and determined to safeguard national independence, sovereignty, unification and territorial integrity, and to protect the Party, State, people and socialist regime. Training and exercises should be held in accordance with projects and particularities of opponents and areas in the conditions of hi-tech wars and fierce cyber-space operations. Attention should be given to improving forces’ technical and tactical capability, particularly the capability to master modern materiel; to closely combining acquirement of new materiel with innovation and improving the efficiency of the existing one. Besides, it is vital to continue to study and develop military arts at strategic, campaign, and tactical levels; to get prepared for step by step modernizing other forces; to make the Army compact, strong, mobile, flexible and capable enough to opportunely, effectively deal with defence situation in both peacetime and wartime.

Fourth, being active in international integration and defence diplomacy, contributing to raising the country and Military’s status and prestige, preventing and repelling the risks of armed conflicts, maintaining peace for national development. Currently, military international integration has been expanded and developed, but yet to be deepened and effective. Therefore, in the time to come, it is necessary to enhance bilateral and multilateral cooperation in all fields with a focus on those directly meeting the requirements for modernization of the Army and defence consolidation, such as defence industry, personnel training, etc. That will help strengthen defence relations and cooperation deeply, increase the intertwining of strategic interests with all countries, particularly strategic partners, neighbours and ASEAN member states, and avoid conflicts, confrontation, isolation and dependence. Besides, it is essential to actively, responsibly take part in the UN peacekeeping operations in some fields to accumulate experience, enhance the capability to adapt to the condition of integration and take advantage of support from international friends, thereby contributing to building peaceful, stable environment in the region and the world, raising Vietnam’s status in the international arena.

To conclude, Vietnam’s points of view on Homeland protection set in the NDS represent basic guidelines to implement core elements of this Strategy. Studying and grasping those will provide basis for the successful fulfillment of the two strategic tasks of Homeland construction and protection in the new situation.

Lt. Gen. Assoc. Prof. Nguyen Duc Hai, PhD

Head of the Institute for Defence Strategy

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