Monday, January 10, 2022, 14:55 (GMT+7)
Measures to better the quality of combat exercises at Air Defence - Air Force Service

Combat exercises are the highest form of training, aimed at comprehensively evaluating offices and units’ commanding, coordinating, and combat readiness capabilities. Being fully aware of that, the Air Defence - Air Force Service has been synchronously taking measures to raise the quality and effectiveness of this important work as the basis for firmly protecting the Fatherland’s airspace.

Thoroughly grasping Conclusion 60-KL/QUTW, dated January 18th, 2019 by the Central Military Commission (CMC) on continuing implementing the CMC’s Resolution 765-NQ/QUTW, dated December 20th, 2012 on “raising the quality of training in the period of 2013-2020 and beyond,” the Service’s Party Committee and Command have focused their leadership and direction on training, combat readiness, and especially combat exercises within offices and units at all levels and considered this work as a breakthrough in improving synergy and combat power of the Service and the Military’s Air Defence - Air Force.

Over the years, all exercises organised by the Service and its affiliates have reached the preset goals and requirements, with the absolute safety. It should be noted that in 2021, although COVID-19 pandemic was extremely complex, the Service proactively developed, adjusted, and supplemented contents relating to field exercises, diversionary tactics, and force manoeuvre; it cooperated with other services, corps, and local armed forces, party committees, and authorities in successfully holding 5 exercises and military contests, which was highly appreciated by the CMC and the Ministry of National Defence.

Via its exercises, the Service has correctly assessed troops’ combat readiness capacity and the quality of its weapons and technical equipment as the basis for adjusting and supplementing its training and combat projects and plans, and giving advice to the CMC and the Ministry of National Defence on the Air Defence - Air Force’s combat readiness and combat capacity to protect the Fatherland.

However, in addition to those recorded results, there have been shortcomings in contents, forms, and methods of exercises. Coordination between forces within the Service as well as between the Service and other services, corps, and local armed forces, party committees, and authorities within defensive zones have been still simple or irrelevant to combat practice. Troops’ capacity to deal with situations during exercises, particularly in hi-tech warfare has been limited.

Gen. Phan Van Giang, Minister of National Defence inspecting the Service’s live-fire exercise of 2021

In the upcoming time, the situation on a global and regional scale will continue to be complex and unpredictable. Strategic competition and disputes over territories on the ground, in the air, and at sea will be more intense. The 4th industrial revolution has been basically changing militaries’ organisational structure, weapons, equipment, and forms of warfare. Domestically, although our country situation is stable, threats pointed out by our Party still exist. Hostile forces will step up their “peaceful evolution” strategy, promote “self-evolution” and “self-transformation,” and strive to depoliticise our Military. More demanding task requirements will be imposed on the Fatherland protection. Against that backdrop, the entire Military in general, the Air Defence - Air Force Service in particular should further improve the quality of training and combat readiness. In this regard, the raised quality of combat exercises should be seen as an important breakthrough to be realised via synchronous, effective measures, with a focus on the following.

First, proactively assess and correctly anticipate situations and objects of combat, and develop plans, contents, and programmes of exercises relevant to combat reality. This measure plays a role of paramount importance to the quality of exercises. Only by accurate evaluations and identification of objects of combat could we formulate proper, effective combat strategies and methods. Therefore, the Service will direct its offices and units, especially its staff agencies to research and correctly anticipate situations, and clearly identify objects of combat so as to develop intentions and scenarios for exercises in accordance with combat practice and each office and unit’s organisational structure and task requirements. Recent wars reveal that objects of combat often have superiority in terms of hi-tech materiel; they are capable of combined, indirect, asymmetric warfare with the participation of various belligerences. Thus, identifying one or more objects of combat is of utmost importance to formulating training plans, contents, and programmes and preparing weapons, technical equipment, and facilities for each exercise.

While researching, evaluating, and identifying objects of combat, the Service will concentrate on improving the organising and directing capabilities of all-level Steering Boards, offices of Steering Boards, exercise directors, and commanders during both preparations and exercises. Emphasis will be placed on organising more field exercises at all levels and joint exercises between the Air Defence Force and the Air Force as well as between the Air Defence - Air Force and the Ground Force, the Navy, the Coast Guard, the Border Guard Force, and local armed forces, party committees, and authorities. Significance will be attached to holding joint exercises between the Service and local armed forces, party committees, and authorities as well as other forces stationed in each strategic area. Offices and units should apply information technology to training and exercises. To serve exercises, they should intensify training courses, particularly on camouflage, diversion, manoeuvre, and prevention and retaliation against enemies’ sea or air raids in key areas under different projects. At the same time, they should design exercise scenarios to respond to non-traditional security situations, such as natural disasters, epidemics, environmental incidents, and search and rescue.

Second, well carry out the work of logistics and technical support for exercises. In addition to formulating projects, plans, contents, and programmes of exercises, party committees and commands at all levels should focus their leadership and direction on logistics and technical work. First of all, offices and units should proactively closely cooperate with Steering Boards, offices of Steering Boards, and exercise directors in designing the system of exercise documents, preparing fortifications and battlefields, organising camouflage and diversion, and holding refresher courses for participants in exercises. At the same time, they should collaborate with services, corps, and local armed forces, party committees, and authorities in developing projects for dealing with situations during exercises and ensuring weapons, equipment, technical means, and personnel - the determinant to the quality of exercises. Priority should be given to providing logistics support for units performing important, difficult, contingency missions. With reference to technical support, it is necessary to maintain, manage, master, and effectively exploit the existing weapons and technical equipment to guarantee the absolute safety during exercises.

Third, well perform the work of combat coordination during exercises. As the Service plays a core role in managing and protecting the Homeland’s airspace, and participates in safeguarding national crucial targets and the country’s seas and islands, the scope of its mission is great and relevant to many other forces and areas. Thus, in order to successfully fulfil the Service’s combat exercises, there should be close coordination between the Air Defence Force and the Air Force as well as between the Air Defence - Air Force Service and other services, corps, local armed forces, party committees, and authorities in stationed areas, and relevant forces in strategic areas. Besides, coordination between the three-category Air Defence Force and the Military’s Air Force, with the Air Defence - Air Force Service playing a core role, should be closely maintained. Significance should be attached to employing signal, information technology, electronic warfare, and airspace management forces in both preparatory work and practice phase. Grounded on their personnel, weapons, and technical equipment, offices and units should proactively research forms and methods of organising exercises in independent combat and joint combat on the ground, at sea, and on islands so as to keep improving troops’ combat readiness and combat capacity under harsh weather conditions and in hi-tech warfare. Doing so will provide a chance for Air Defence - Air Force troops to obtain experience in maintaining combat coordination with local armed forces, party committees, and authorities in each theatre of war, each strategic direction, and the whole country.

Fourth, conduct reviews to draw lessons after each exercise. Unlike normal training and practice, a combat exercise is carried out in the form of a real battle with its opening, developments, and ending; therefore, after each exercise, it is necessary to carry out reviews to draw lessons in a close, serious manner. In this regard, emphasis should be placed on analysing and assessing the recorded results in comparison with the preset goals and requirements, pointing out strengths and shortcomings, and identifying causes and responsibilities of each collective and individual in each piece of work, phase, and step and the whole exercise as the basis for keeping researching, supplementing, and developing theories of air defence - air force combat. At the same time, due attention should be paid to commending and rewarding collectives and individuals with remarkable achievements in exercises, drawing lessons, and proposing solutions to overcome shortcomings in each part and stage of training and exercises for the foreseeable future.

Synchronously implementing those above-mentioned measures will provide an important foundation for improving the Air Defence - Air Force Service’s synergy and combat readiness capacity and make contributions to building a “revolutionary, regular, elite, modern” Service for the Fatherland protection.

Maj. Gen. NGUYEN VAN HIEN, Member of the Party Central Committee

Member of the CMC, Deputy Commander and Chief of Staff of the Service

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