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Monday, March 08, 2021, 09:51 (GMT+7)
Military proactively responds to non-traditional security challenges

Successful response to all non-traditional security issues is an urgent mission of the entire Party, people, and military, in which the military plays the key role, contributing to preserving people’s life and a peaceful, stable environment for national construction and defence.

Natural disasters and climate change are biggest challenges to nations in the 21st century. As far as Viet Nam is concerned, climate change has led to complex, extreme, unpredictable developments of natural disasters, environmental catastrophes, pandemics, and epidemics in type, scale, affected area, and frequency, which causes heavy loss of life and property. What has had direct influence on our country recently is the Covid-19 pandemic, drought, saltwater intrusion, storm and flood in the Central Region, destructive action of hostile forces and political opportunists through the strategy of “peaceful evolution,” promoting “self-evolution,” “self-transformation”, and depoliticisation of the military, and so on. On clearly realising risks posed by these challenges, our Party and State always pays attention to leading the entire Party, people, military, and political system to actively and proactively prevent and curb these threats. In fact, thanks to leadership of the Party, stern management of the Government, people’s effort and consensus, and the core role of people’s armed forces, we have prevented and coped with non-traditional security issues timely and effectively, protected people’s life, and created a favourable environment for socioeconomic development.

General Ngo Xuan Lich speaks at the ADSOM conference on coping with non-traditional security challenges (Photo: qdnd.vn)

In coming years, the world and region continue to witness complex developments, rivalry among major powers, sovereign dispute, ethnic conflict, many new types of war, and so forth. Besides, climate change becomes increasingly visible, resulting in complex, unusual developments of weather, climate, hydrography, El Nino and La Nina, persistent drought, and flood, which causes epidemics, notably the Covid-19. Advances of the Fourth Industrial Revolution can be seen in every field of social life and facilitate socio-economic development, consolidation of national defence and security. Nevertheless, they also enable political opportunists, people with wrong viewpoints, and hostile forces to do damage to the Party and State in cyberspace with the aim to change the political regime in our country.

To successfully respond to non-traditional security situations requires the military to grasp and implement the following content well.

First, it is necessary to deeply perceive the Party’s standpoint on prevention and response to non-traditional security challenges in order to firmly maintain socio-political stability and lay solid foundations for construction, protection, and development of the country. In the short run, the whole military must focus on thoroughly grasping Resolutions of the 13th National Party Congress and the 11th Military Party Congress, especially the standpoint that considers “stable and sustainable socio-economic development a solid foundation for national defence and security.” Accordingly, importance is attached to sustainable development, ensuring social security, social justice, hunger eradication, poverty reduction, development of culture, education, science, and technology, care for people’s material, spiritual life, and health; strengthening national defence and security; combining economic development with national defence and diplomacy; creating an environment conducive to national construction and defence. There also needs to regularly maintain and promote the Party’s absolute, direct leadership of the military in every aspect; make the Military Party Committee pure, strong, exemplary, and representative; firmly uphold leadership principles and successfully leverage the roles of party and command organisations; keep the Party’s ideological front in the military, regarding this as a precondition for the entire military to be steadfast in the Party’s guideline and to bring into play qualities of “Uncle Ho’s Soldiers,” ensuring that the military is always an absolutely faithful, trustworthy political force and fighting force of the Party, State, and people in response to non-traditional security threats.

Second, propaganda and education must be stepped up in order to raise cadres’, soldiers’, and people’s awareness of successful response to non-traditional security situations. Non-traditional security issues have a huge impact on social life, which is not limited to boundaries of a nation-state but spread throughout the world. Consequently, departments and units need to conduct regular propaganda and education to improve forces’ and people’s awareness and responsibility for dealing with non-traditional security challenges. Propaganda and education must specify characteristics, nature, and scopes of influence of non-traditional security issues as well as content, measures, forces, and equipment used for prevention and response to these threats. Propaganda is a regular, continuous work, which aims to have direct influence on soldiers’ and people’s awareness and action regarding risks, thus generating social consensus and enabling them to be ready to confront and effectively resolve arising situations. Content of propaganda must match each type of subjects and be widely disseminated via media to facilitate soldiers’ and people’s comprehension and memories for bad effects and danger of non-traditional security challenges, thereby promoting their sense of responsibility, proactiveness, and activeness in overcoming the aftermath of these situations. Military news organisations must uphold their leading roles in propagandising standpoints of the Party and State about non-traditional security challenges; intensify the struggle against improper awareness and violation of law; oppose false, distorted views to defeat the strategy of “peaceful evolution”; arrest the deterioration in political ideology, morality, lifestyle and manifestations of “self-evolution” and “self-transformation” within the Party; safeguard and maintain the Party’s ideological foundation, contributing to guiding public opinion and boosting confidence of cadres, soldiers, and people in the Party, State, and socialist regime.

Third, it is necessary to regularly study and predict situations correctly, make accurate proposals, and timely, effectively deal with situations. This vital task is key to successful response to non-traditional security issues. Departments and units, particularly strategic advisory departments, need to speed up study, analysis, assessment, and correct prediction in order to enable the Military Central Commission (CMC) and Ministry of National Defence (MND) to propose remedies to defence and security situations such as “peaceful evolution”, riots, sabotage, terrorism, cyber security, catastrophes, natural disaster, epidemics, and so on. During research processes, there needs to analyse and clarify theoretical issues on the basis of summing up realities of the country and the world in preventing, responding, and overcoming the aftermath; anticipate situations correctly with the aim of working out suitable measures to cope with non-traditional security threats. In addition, it is important to deeply perceive guidelines of the Party, legal documents, resolutions, and directives of the CMC and NMD on preventing and responding to non-traditional security challenges. In the short term, attention must be paid to well carrying out plans to prevent and counter the Covid-19 pandemic as well disturbance, riots, terrorism, etc., safely protecting key targets and major political events of the country, first and foremost the elections of deputies to the 15th National Assembly and People’s Councils for the period of 2021 – 2026. Strategic advisory bodies of the MND need to work closely with commissions, ministries, and sectors at the central and local levels to seriously and effectively realise Decree No. 71/2002/NĐ-CP, dated 23 July 2002, of the Government, which stipulates in detail the implementation of some articles of the Decree on Emergency Situations in the Outbreak of Major Catastrophes, Dangerous Epidemics; actively review and improve the system of legal documents and plans to address non-traditional security issues.

Fourth, it is necessary to make good preparations for training and skillfully practise plans to ensure successful response to situations without falling into passivity and surprise. The entire military focuses on developing plans to respond to catastrophes, natural disasters, epidemics, etc., according to a scientific, unified manner; conduct periodic training and exercises to make cadres and soldiers well aware of objectives, requirements, and methods of collaboration and coordination during operations. Infrastructure, vehicles, and equipment of departments and units, especially the specialised ones and those deployed in regions at risk of non-traditional security issues, must be regularly inspected and supplemented to ensure sufficiency, high quality, and appropriate reserves, capable of meeting mission demands in any situations. Periodic checks are carried out to evaluate and gain experience from preparation for preventing and countering non-traditional security challenges at all levels, particularly the specialised forces. The whole military must capture the spirit of “proactiveness”; well implement mechanisms of leadership and management in a “direct, concrete, effective” direction and under the mottoes of “three readinesses” and “four on-sites”; devote attention to building forces according to pre-designed plans to be ready to face non-traditional security threats. They are to establish and improve mechanisms of coordination; work closely with forces of the Public Security at their respective levels to successfully carry out Decree No. 03/2019/NĐ-CP, dated 5 September 2019, of the Government on Collaboration between the Ministry of Public Security and Ministry of National Defence on Protection of National Security, Preservation of Social Order and Safety, Crime Prevention and Response, and National Defence Missions; Decree No. 02/2019/NĐ-CP, dated 2 November 2019, of the Government on Civil Defence.

Fifth, cooperation with countries and international, regional organisations is to be strengthened with a view to exchanging information, sharing experience, providing early warning, coordinating actions, generating resources and overall power for effectively responding to non-traditional security challenges. Cooperation and coordination with countries, international organisations, and security bodies aim to establish legal corridor and cooperation mechanisms for preventing and countering transnational crimes, terrorism, climate change, and calamities, protecting maritime security as well as appropriate programs, plans, and mechanisms. In fact, non-traditional security issues are the biggest challenges to the world, thus requiring close cooperation between nations. It is necessary to actively participate and comply with international conventions, multilateral, bilateral treaties relating to non-traditional security issues in order to raise a common voice among militaries in this field. In the short run, there needs to focus on successfully implementing the Joint Statement by the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) on Defence Cooperation against Disease Outbreaks, issued at the ADMM Retreat; promote cooperation with regional countries and ASEAN members states in response to diseases; propose and organise exercises to address non-traditional security challenges and build a truly unified, cohesive ASEAN, and so forth.

Under the leadership of the Communist Party of Viet Nam and President Ho Chi Minh as well as the love and support of the people, Vietnam People’s Army (VPA) has grown ceaselessly and exponentially and together with the whole people achieved many glorious feats of arms during the liberation war, national building and defence. Today, in the face of non-traditional security challenges and requirements of safeguarding the Homeland in the new situation, the VPA needs to be built to become a revolutionary, regular, highly-skilled, and gradually modernised force with some services and arms advancing straight to modernity, ready to successfully respond to both traditional and non-traditional security situations to firmly defend the Homeland in any situations.

Sr. Lt. Gen. Phan Van Giang, Member of the Politburo, Member of the Central Military Commission’s Standing Committee, Chief of General Staff of Vietnam People’s Army, Deputy Minister of National Defence

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