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Monday, December 14, 2020, 20:51 (GMT+7)
Stringently maintaining discipline and exercising democracy to promote the strength of the Vietnam people’s Army in the new situation

As a special organisation, the military always maintains strict discipline for all operations, between soldiers and commanders as well as amongst offices and units from tactical to strategic levels in order to create the strength for performing missions.

Discipline of the Vietnam People’s Army (VPA) is a system of principles and regulations within the system of State legal normative documents which are concretised to ensure directions and uniformity for all operations of cadres and soldiers. At its founding ceremony, the Vietnam Propaganda Liberation Army Team swore 10 Oaths of Honour as the standards for its members to self-consciously observe. Those also acted as a yardstick for assessing its cultural, political, military, moral values and its loyalty to the Homeland, the Party, and the people. Discipline within the VPA plays a role of paramount importance to deterring and preventing all soldiers from violating law; it also includes clear, strict regulations on disciplinary measures for all staff members. At the same time, it helps enable military personnel to define the goal, ideal, and determination to fulfil their noble, sacred missions. Reality proves that the VPA’s discipline demonstrates cadres and soldiers’ awareness and action when they perform their task in any circumstance. Once discipline is instilled into soldiers’ awareness, sentiment, and action, it will become a source of strength and encourage them to self-consciously abide by the State’s law, the VPA’s discipline, and relevant regulations. Maintaining discipline is of critical importance to raising the VPA’s synergy and combat power. In other words, the VPA will not be able to promote its strength without discipline. The VPA will not be closely organised to create a source of strength for its missions unless its staff members conform to discipline and higher echelons’ commands. Lax discipline will lead the VPA’s combat strength to deterioration.

Besides, the VPA exercises democracy to encourage all cadres and soldiers’ role in the political, economic, cultural, social, and military domains, heighten collective knowledge, consensus, and unity, and harmoniously handle relationships between superiors and inferiors. Exercising democracy will not mean indiscipline; it will make contributions to strengthening self-discipline and help handle violations more correctly. President Ho Chi Minh ever said that: “Do not misunderstand democracy. Once decisions have yet to be made, feel free to give opinions. But when decisions have been taken already, there should be no more discussion. At that time, opinions must be aimed at how to realise those decisions instead of overturning them. Such acts of permissiveness must be prohibited.” In the VPA’s 75 years of construction, combat and development, any unit where democracy is well exercised will succeed in restricting violations of discipline and letters of complaint, maintain unity and stability, and better perform their missions.

Fully aware of the importance of discipline and democracy, over the years, commanders of offices and units across the VPA have placed emphasis on managing and educating staff members as well as raising their awareness of the State’s law, the VPA’s discipline, and internal regulations. Significance has been attached to the work of political education, legal dissemination, and ideological management. Military standard order and discipline management have been strictly maintained, while the role of soldiers’ councils within offices and units has been promoted. At the same time, consideration has been given to closely combining task introduction with administrative measures, the building of cultural environment, and the improvements in cadres and soldiers’ material and mental life. The Regulation on Democracy at grass-roots level has been seriously maintained in diverse forms, via effective methods. Excessive democracy and bureaucracy have been basically settled. Relationships between cadres and soldiers have been harmonious. As a result, the ideological situation amongst troops within the VPA has been basically stable. A majority of cadres and soldiers have kept their mind on their work, heightened a sense of responsibility, observed discipline and regulations, actively taken part in all operations of offices and units, and successfully fulfilled their assigned tasks.

However, there have been weaknesses in observing the State’ law and the VPA’s discipline as well as in ensuring safety within offices and units. The awareness and responsibility towards discipline management and the exercise of democracy have yet to be full. There have not been breakthrough measures to raise the quality of the ideological work, political education, legal dissemination, military standard order building, and management of discipline and soldiers’ relationship. The Regulation on Democracy at grass-roots level has yet to be stringently maintained. Violations of discipline, especially the serious ones have still occurred.

The 11th Military Party Congress Resolution continues advocating the building of a revolutionary, regular, elite, gradually modern VPA, with several forces moving straight to modernity. By 2025, the VPA will have completed the adjustments in its organisational structure in a compact, strong fashion. From 2030, the VPA will be made modern. To realise that goal and deal with weaknesses in maintaining discipline and exercising democracy so as to promote the VPA’s synergy, leadership and direction should be concentrated on several measures as follows.

First, actively carry out the work of education to raise troops’ awareness of observance of discipline and exercise of democracy. This is one of the most important tasks of the party and political work. Thus, party committees, political offices, commissars, and commanders at all levels should render all troops fully aware that “discipline is the VPA’s strength and our VPA’s discipline is strict self-discipline.” The exercise of democracy should be encouraged as the basis for creating a sense of unity within the entire VPA to fulfil all missions. When cadres and soldiers of the VPA are self-conscious to abide by discipline and strictly exercise democracy at grass-roots level, all resources will be brought into full play to create the synergy for all tasks in any situation. Therefore, the work of political and ideological education must take one step ahead and it must be aligned with administrative measures, regulations, and military standard order building. Moreover, cadres and superiors must set good examples for soldiers and inferiors to follow. It is essential to make cadres and soldiers know how to preserve and promote cultural, democratic, and discipline values accumulated during the process of construction, combat and development and render them fully aware of the significance of discipline management and democracy exercise to raising the VPA’s synergy and combat strength. At the same time, it is important to make cadres and soldiers clearly understand the relationship between traditional and modern values in the VPA’s exercise of democracy and management of discipline.

Second, strengthen all-level party committees, commands, commissars, and political officers’ leadership and direction to strictly maintain discipline and exercise democracy. To that end, party committees, commands, commissars, and political offices at all levels should grasp and seriously execute directives and regulations by the State, the Central Military Commission (CMC), the Ministry of National Defence (MND), the General Staff, and the General Political Department (GPD) on observing law and discipline and ensuring security and safety within units, particularly the MND’s Directive 103/CT-BQP, dated November 11th, 2019 on “continuing to enhance discipline management and education and ensure safety within the VPA,” the GPD’s Dispatch 1598/CT-TH, dated September 6th, 2019 on “strengthening leadership and direction over the work of ideological management and preventing violations of law and discipline,” and the GPD’s Dispatch 1740/CT-TH, dated September 1st, 2020 on exercising leadership and direction over the work of ideological management and education, preventing serious violations of law and discipline, realising “the year of discipline - 2020,” and building comprehensively strong, “exemplary, typical” units. Moreover, it is necessary to adjust and supplement measures for building military standard order, observing discipline, and ensuring safety in training, work, labour, and daily life, concretise them into requirements and targets in party organisations’ annual and quarterly resolutions and commanders’ work plans, and make them relevant to units’ characteristics and tasks. Due regard should be paid to reviewing, supplementing, completing, and stringently implementing commanders’ working regulations at all levels, maintaining the Regulation on Democracy at grass-roots level, and harmoniously managing relationships within offices and units. Superiors should frequently listen to inferiors’ opinions and opportunely grasp their thoughts and aspirations. Due attention should be paid to improving troops’ compliance with party committees and commands’ leadership and direction, overcoming weaknesses, and building “politically and militarily strong, democratic, disciplined units with a high level of combativeness.”

Third, set out great political resolve to achieve a positive change in building military standard order, managing discipline, and exercising democracy. In order to make a sustainable change in constructing military standard order, managing discipline, and exercising democracy within offices and units, party committees and commands should focus their leadership and direction on raising the quality of building military standard order, managing discipline and exercising democracy as a central task. Political resolve must derive from party committee secretaries and heads of offices and units. They must match words with action, while stringently maintaining regulations on military etiquette, duty, and guard. Great value should be attached to grasping the quantity and quality of cadres and soldiers and strictly, opportunely, completely handling violations of the Party’s discipline, the State’s law, and the VPA’s discipline. When a violation is committed by cadres and soldiers, commanders of units must seriously make self-review report under the MND’s Circular 16/2020/TT-BQP, dated February 21st, 2020 on “Regulating the application of disciplinary forms, order, procedures, and time limits and the authority to take disciplinary action within the MND.” At the same time, they must deliver timely, honest reports to higher echelons and organise meetings to clarify the responsibility of relevant individuals and organisations. Due regard should be paid to promoting the role of soldiers’ councils in exercising democracy at grass-roots level, opportunely detecting and solving troops’ ideological issues to avoid falling into passivity.

Fourth, heighten a sense of responsibility amongst cadres and party members for maintaining discipline and exercising democracy. Each cadre and party member must be imbued with Uncle Ho’s teachings: “a living example is more valuable than a hundred speeches.” Due attention should be paid to strictly executing the regulations on role model-setting responsibility of cadres and party members, particularly the key ones within the VPA as well as directives, orders, and regulations on combat training, political education, military standard order building, discipline management, the exercise of democracy, and relationships between the military and the people. Greater importance should be attached to implementing the Politburo’s Directive 05-CT/TW and the CMC Standing Board’s 87-CT/QUTW on studying and emulating Ho Chi Minh’s ideology, ethics and lifestyle associated with the Campaign titled “promoting tradition, devoting talent, deserving to be Uncle Ho’s soldiers” in the new period. Grounded on those documents, cadres and party members should develop their own self-improvement plans to meet the task requirements. Emphasis should be placed on following Ho Chi Minh’s thought on “industriousness, thrift, integrity, uprightness, public-spiritedness and selflessness,” matching words with actions, and well managing three relationships with oneself, with other people, and with things. Each person must combat egoism, work hard, and correct themself to promote strengths and restrict weaknesses. As for other people, it is vital to remain honest, modest, united, and tolerant. With reference to things, in any circumstance, it is essential to maintain the principle of “putting the country’s interest first” and dedicate oneself to any job, regardless of hardship and difficulty. Cadres and party members must listen to the right, share with other ones who are in difficulty, and resolutely fight against the wrong. Within offices and units, cadres, party members, and superiors must set good examples for soldiers, the masses, and inferiors to follow as the basis for strictly maintaining discipline, exercising democracy, and bringing into play the internal strength.

Fifth, build diverse, healthy military cultural environment as the basis for maintaining discipline and exercising democracy. Human virtues are affected by circumstances. To maintain discipline and exercise democracy, great importance should be attached to constructing a fine, diverse, healthy cultural environment. Priority should be given to improving cadres and party members’ capabilities in psychological and legal management, education, consultation and assistance as well as their experience and method to deal with issues on political ideology, democracy and discipline within offices and units. Besides, it is necessary to maintain daily, weekly regulations, strictly implement plans on work, meetings and training, and managing units’ strength at each level. Cadres and soldiers must frequently improve their qualities, morality, and cultural lifestyle. Great value should be attached to closely combining “building” with “combating,” “taking the beauty against the evil,” aligning education with administrative measures, using preventive solutions as the main, and pitting the positive against the negative. Cooperation between units, localities, and families should be fostered to closely manage troops’ political ideology and discipline-abiding awareness, with a focus placed on soldiers who show bad behaviours and unusual signs, or those who are in difficulty. It is important to promote the role of mass organisations and soldiers’ councils in managing and educating their members, enhance cultural, artistic, and sports programmes, and improve troops’ material and mental life. Significance should be attached to building pure, healthy lifestyle amongst cadres and soldiers and fighting against the hostile forces’ distortions and their plots to “depoliticise”  our VPA, the degradation in political ideology, ethics and lifestyle as well as the signs of “self-evolution” and “self-transformation” from within.

Maintaining discipline and exercising democracy will help create the VPA’s synergy and enable the VPA to successfully fulfil the task assigned by our Party, State and people and firmly defend the Socialist Vietnamese Homeland in the new period.

Sr. Lt. Gen. NGUYEN TRONG NGHIA, Member of the Party Central Committee

Member of the CMC, Deputy Head of the GPD of the VPA

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