Thursday, March 08, 2018, 07:06 (GMT+7)
The Military expands IT capabilities in the new situation

The relentless expansion of the military’s IT capabilities is of great significance to its Homeland protection in the new situation. As a result, agencies and units across the military should focus their leadership and direction on this task.

Being fully aware of the Party’s guidelines on boosting the application and development of IT to meet the requirements of national construction and defense and international integration, over the past years, the Central Military Commission (CMC) and the Ministry of National Defense (MoD), particularly the General Staff, have closely followed realities to direct agencies and units across the military to fulfil the task through synchronous measures. Therefore, the military’s IT sector has developed both widely and deeply. The military’s legal documents on the IT have been revised little by little, forming an important legal basis for its agencies and units to fulfil the task. IT infrastructure, particularly military computer networks, has continued to expand, with both strategic agencies and units connected. Multiple IT projects, especially software and shared databases for command and management, have been designed and brought into use, thereby causing transformations in the mentality and activities of agencies and units. Importance has been attached to high-quality IT human resources, particularly through refresher courses. Internet security and safety has achieved positive transformations as hardware and software has been subjected to careful examination before being brought into use, ensuring the absolute safety of command automation systems and military equipment. IT has been applied widely and effectively to administrative reforms, intelligence collection, training, education, military exercises, materiel modernization programs, defense industry, scientific research across the military, which is time-saving, money-saving and highly productive. A few high-quality IT products have been designed to serve military-defense tasks, contributing to expanding the military’s IT capabilities to meet the requirements of Homeland construction and protection.

Notwithstanding, there remain shortcomings. A section of cadres and soldiers, particularly commanders from some agencies and units, are not fully aware of the importance attached to IT as well as programs and plans developed by the Party, the State and the MoD. A few agencies and units have seen sluggishness and insufficient determination as regards leadership and direction. Updates have yet to be opportunely installed for software and databases, which has made difficult information and data sharing. Meanwhile, high-quality IT human resources, particularly leading experts in information safety, are inadequate. The military’s IT infrastructure has yet to fully satisfy agencies and units despite considerable investments.

Sr. Lt. Gen. Nguyen Phuong Nam inspects a test intended for Commanders and Commissars of Provincial Military Commands in 2017

In the time to come, due to far-reaching effects by the 4th Industrial Revolution and cyber threats, the military should continue to thoroughly grasp and effectively implement directives and resolutions by the Party and the Government regarding IT to meet the requirements of Homeland protection in the new situation. To expand the military’s IT capabilities, appropriate measures should be employed while the maximization of scientific-technological achievements should be in conjunction with the promotion of internal strength. A shortcut should be taken to gain a head start. Importance should be attached to the following.

First, enhancing leadership and direction by Party organizations and commanders as to the application and development of IT, which is of central importance to the boosted performance of the military’s IT sector. To this end, agencies and units should thoroughly grasp relevant resolutions and directives by the Party, the Government, the CMC and the MoD, the centrepiece of which are Resolution 36-NQ/TW, dated July 1st, 2014 by the Politburo (the 11 tenure) on “Accelerating the application and development of IT to meet the requirements of sustainable development and international integration”, Action Program 506-CTr/QU by the CMC and Decision 101/QĐ-BQP, dated January, 11th, 2017 by the MoD regarding the IT application for the 2016-2020 period. Accordingly, Party organizations and commanders across the military should concretize them into their own resolutions and action programs on an annual or periodic, comprehensive but focalized basis with emphasis placed on guaranteeing information safety and security, preventing and fighting information-cyber warfare, upgrading database software, applying the IT to military-defense activities. Enhancing the Party organizations’ leadership capacity should run parallel with promoting commanders’ sense of responsibility. The promotion of the “Determined to win” emulation movement should be closely associated with the implementation of Resolution by the 12th Party Central Committee’s 4th plenum on Party building and rectification and Directive 05-CT/TW by the 12th Politburo on the acceleration of studying and following Ho Chi Minh’s thought, morality and lifestyle. Inspection, supervision and review should be conducted regularly as to the implementation of Resolution 36, programs and plans by the CMC and the MoD. Incentives and awards should be bestowed on collectives and individuals with outstanding achievements in researching, applying and developing IT as well as in ensuring information safety. Additionally, leadership and direction should be focused on renovating content and forms of communication and education on the application and development of IT inside the military on a practical and effective basis, thereby heightening awareness among cadres and soldiers of the IT’s importance to military-defense activities, its superiority in productivity and effectiveness and its downside.

Second, speeding up the application of the latest IT advances to military-defense activities, which is of great importance to the expansion of the military’s IT capabilities in the new situation. This forms a basis for agencies and units to design their own road map and masterplans for IT application in order to meet the requirements of military build-up and Homeland protection. To this end, agencies and units across the military should continue to implement multiple appropriate measures so as to make IT application more effective. Priority should be assigned to important realms, combat units and combat readiness units in the land, air, maritime, space and cyberspace environments.

As for the realm of operational command and staff, emphasis should be placed on the application of IT to command systems and intelligence collection, the mastership of control systems of advanced materiel. Winning information-electronic-cyber warfare should be taken as the centrepiece of researching, applying and developing IT. Simulation techniques should be applied in order to make education, training and military exercises time-saving, money-saving and effective simultaneously.

As for military technology, importance should be attached to shared software and professional software to expand the capacity of military computer networks. Materiel and military technology should be bettered, digitized and intelligentized. Attention should be devoted to the expansion and upgrade of the MoD’s data centres in cyberspace, to inter-sectoral measures for data sharing with committees and ministries at home and abroad, to the development of the MoD’s Portal, to administrative reforms on a timely and safe basis, thereby contributing to Vietnam’s military modernization. The IT application should be speeded up to Party and political works, logistics, finance, defense industry, scientific research while compensation and benefit packages should be appropriately offered to IT personnel to attract and retain talents.

Third, focusing on upgrading IT skills associated with guaranteeing information safety and security. While some of the military’s agencies and units possess poor IT skills, hostile forces, who are stepping up their acts of sabotage against our national construction and defense, harness hi-tech skills to steal military-State secrets as well as to tarnish the reputation of the Party, the State and the military. Against this backdrop, the military’s agencies and units should expand IT capabilities among their cadres and soldiers while closely cooperating with relevant counterparts in information safety and security, particularly at operational and strategic levels. In the immediate term, the management and use of Local Area Networks (LANs) should be optimized to better serve military-defense tasks while exercises should be regularly performed regarding computer bugs. The IT application should be maximized to make safe and effective command automation systems and advanced materiel in the event of hi-tech weaponry in combination with information-electronic-cyber warfare by the enemy. IT devices and equipment of agencies and units that are in charge of secret missions assigned by the Party, the State, the Government and the military, should undergo regular safety inspection to opportunely find and deal with security loopholes, malware, and so on. Digital certificates and digital signatures should be used in electronic information exchange by the military’s agencies and units.

Last but not least, making IT infrastructure “comprehensive, concentrated, focalized, synchronized, modernized and strong” to better serve command and management across the military. Priority should be assigned to forces that proceed directly into modernization, the military’s strategic agencies and media, combat and combat readiness units stationed in key regions. Budget expenditure should be boosted for master plans for expanding IT capabilities, particularly the telecommunications satellite system VINASAT and terminal equipment, in order to speed up the application and development of IT, contributing to the military build-up and Homeland defense in the new situation.

Sr. Lt. Gen. Nguyen Phuong Nam, Member of the Party Central Committee, Member of the CMC, Deputy Chief of the General Staff, Vietnam People’s Army

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