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Monday, November 15, 2021, 11:18 (GMT+7)
Human resource development for defence industry under the 11th Military Party Congress Resolution

To firmly protect the Socialist Vietnamese Homeland, it is vital to build a revolutionary, regular, elite, gradually modern Vietnam People’s Army (VPA) and especially raise the quality of its personnel and materiel. To that end, according to the 11th Military Party Congress Resolution, we shall step up the development of human resources for defence industry. Hence, this policy should be seriously studied, grasped, and implemented.

Modernisation of defence industry means mastery over technologies for defence production to avoid dependence upon other countries. That could be done only by modernisation and standardisation of human resources for defence industry. Over the years, the Central Military Commission, the Ministry of National Defence, the General Department of Defence Industry, and party committees and commands of defence factories have frequently paid due regard to developing human resources for defence industry to meet the task requirements. However, there have been weaknesses and shortcomings in this work. More specifically, high-quality human resources have been limited, thereby leading to “the poor capabilities in exploiting, mastering, and manufacturing new and hi-tech weapons.” Many steps of defence production are being taken manually or semi-automatically together with a dearth of trained human resources and the limited quality of this contingent. High-calibre human resources of Vietnam’s defence industry have been mainly trained in Soviet Union and present-day Russia. Meanwhile, we receive transferred technologies from various countries around the world, thereby facing a lot of difficulties in technological synchronisation. Moreover, while our cadres’ command of English is still poor, most of experts in technology transfer are from English-speaking nations.

It is worth noting that human resources for defence industry are “severely challenged by the labour market.” Large mechanical corporations and companies have implemented better preferential treatment policies and created a more favourable working condition to attract labour from defence factories. Besides, due to the streamlining of the VPA’s organisational structure, less officers, professional service men and women, and employees have been recruited, thereby profoundly negatively impacting on workforce’s ideology, psychology, and attachment to defence factories. As for contract employees, the degree of readiness for performing defence tasks, particularly the contingency ones is very low as they just work in compliance with the State’s law, instead of the VPA’s discipline.

Furthermore, we are confronted with “numerous difficulties in attracting, favouring, and keeping high-quality human resources” as defence production facilities are mainly stationed in the areas in socio-economic difficulty and their staff members’ mental and material life has yet to be improved much. Besides, commanders and leaders of defence factories are mainly trained in command and military technical professions; therefore, their knowledge of economic management is still limited.

To meet the requirements of national protection in the new period, the 11th Military Party Congress has determined to “build a revolutionary, regular, elite, gradually modern VPA, with priority given to modernising a number of services, corps, and forces as a solid prerequisite for building a modern VPA from 2030 capable of playing a core role in building the all-people national defence.” According to the Congress, it is necessary to “build a self-reliant, modern, and dual-purpose defence industry as one of the most important parts of national industry to make contributions to raising the country’s military-defence potential and power.” To well execute those guidelines and settle shortcomings in the development of human resources for defence industry, we should focus on several tasks and measures as follows.

First, develop plans on training human resources of defence industry feasibly, scientifically and raise all-level party committees and commands’ awareness of the development of human resources for defence industry. Grounded on the Strategy to Defend the Homeland in the New Period, the National Defence Strategy, the Military Strategy, the Strategy to Defend the Homeland in Cyberspace, and the Strategy for National Border Protection, defence factories, the General Department of Defence Industry, and the entire VPA should formulate plans to develop human resources both qualitatively and quantitatively to handle the existing weaknesses and meet the demand for defence industry development in accordance with those above-mentioned documents.

To realise those plans, all-level party committees and commands, particularly the Defence Industry Branch shall be acutely aware of the role of human resources in developing a “self-reliant, modern, and dual-purpose” defence industry as a central part of national industry. They shall heighten a sense of responsibility and build roadmaps for executing those plans properly. Besides, due attention should be paid to continuing to grasp and seriously, effectively implement the 11th Politburo’s Resolution 06-NQ/TW, dated July 16th, 2011 on building and developing defence industry towards 2020 and beyond as well as conclusions, projects, plans, and programmes for defence industry development by the Party, the State, the Central Military Commission, and the Ministry of National Defence.

Second, keep raising the quality of training and retraining human resources for defence industry. In the retraining of the existing human resources for defence industry, it is vital to improve command of English of the force in charge of receiving transferred technologies from advanced, modern defence industries all over the world. Each defence factory and the entire Defence Industry Branch shall proactively retrain their human resources on their own power; cadres with greater qualifications and experience shall directly train the inferior ones. Consideration should be given to organising retraining courses and inviting foreign experts to deliver lectures and share experience in defence production. At the same time, great value should be attached to sending good technical cadres and workers to attend refresher courses in developed countries. In the training of human resources for defence industry, it is necessary to select staff members with good qualifications, good health, pure morality, and readiness for prolonged military service so that they could adapt themselves to difficulties in the working environment and especially work in the isolated, remote areas and the areas in socio-economic difficulty. Moreover, it is important to deploy those selected staff members to join retraining courses both at home and abroad in accordance with the development of defence industry in the new condition.

Military technical schools should renew and make their training contents and programmes relevant to the 4th industrial revolution and hi-tech warfare, while equipping learners with knowledge of economic management. At the same time, importance should be attached to enhancing training cooperation between education and research centres both at home and abroad, increasing practice, and reducing duration for theoretical subjects in order to raise outcome standards and meet the requirements set by defence industry development in the new period.

Third, design proper policies to attract and keep high-quality human resources for defence industry. Within a market economy, comparisons of the working environment and income are unavoidable. To deal with a “brain drain” from defence factories to domestic and foreign enterprises, it is necessary to develop a preferential treatment policy to improve the mental and material life of employees within defence facilities. This is a thorny problem. However, without a proper policy, we could hardly settle such a “brain drain.” In addition to the VPA’s general policies and entitlements, more investments should be placed on bettering the mental and material life of employees of defence industry and their families. Doing so will enable staff members to keep their mind on their work and encourage them to improve their professional competence. To well perform that difficult task, defence factories shall bring into play dual-purpose production lines and combine defence production with economic production in order to generate more revenues for implementing preferential treatment policies to boost the living standards of employees and their families.

The successful implementation of those above-mentioned tasks and measures will contribute to developing human resources for defence industry both qualitatively and quantitatively together with a proper structure. Doing so will also provide a basic prerequisite for a modernised defence industry capable of serving the modernisation of our VPA in the upcoming time.

Col. PHUNG MANH CUONG, PhD, Political Academy, Ministry of National Defence 

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