Wednesday, July 19, 2017, 17:22 (GMT+7)
The military’s participation in production and economic development to contribute to socio-economic development and strengthening national defence potential and posture

Participation in production and economic development to contribute, along with the whole Party and people, to socio-economic development represents a fundamental function of the Vietnam People’s Army (VPA), deeply reflecting both the nature and tradition of “Uncle Ho’s Soldiers” and consciousness and political responsibility of the VPA for perceiving and implementing the Party’s guideline and policy on the combination of economy with national defence and vice versa.

The VPA is a revolutionary army which is characterized as “an army ready for fighting, work, and production,” from the people, fighting for the people, and serving the people. That fundamental function of the VPA was identified right from its foundation and has been asserted and brought into play throughout its 70-year process of building, combat and development. Therefore, in any circumstances, together with fulfilling successfully the task of defending the revolutionary achievements, our army has always proactively and actively taken part in production and economic development in proper forms and measures, in accordance with the Party’s direction. Thus, it has made considerable contributions to the struggle for national liberation and construction and protection of the Fatherland.

In the wars of resistance against the French colonialism and American imperialism, despite their fierceness, our army used to heighten its self-reliance and resilience and actively promote production to improve the soldiers’ standard of living; participate in production and building the great rear in the North and in-place logistics bases in strategic regions; carry out well the Party’s guidelines and policies of “fighting the war of resistance while building the nation” and “building socialism in the North and struggling for national liberation in the South.” After national reunification, the VPA has served as the vanguard and key force to actively participate in healing the wounds of wars and socio-economic development, especially in remote, border, and island areas.

Facing the mission of building and safeguarding the Fatherland in the new era, the Central Military Commission (CMC) and Ministry of National Defence (MND) have grasped and concretized the Party’s two strategic tasks and guidelines, and promulgated many resolutions and legal normative acts to lead and direct the implementation of these two vital tasks in recent years. The most important documents are, among others, Resolution 71/ĐUQSTW, dated April 25th, 2002, on “the VPA’s task of production and economic development in the new age – continuing to renew, develop, and improve the performance of military enterprises”; Resolution 520-NQ/QUTW, dated September 25th, 2012, on “leading the VPA’s task of combining production and economic development with national defence out to 2020”; and Circular 69/2017/TT-BQP, dated April 3rd, 2017, promulgating regulations on the management of the VPA’s production activities and economic development. On those bases, the VPA’s task of production and economic development has been closely led and directed, attained comprehensive development, and recorded considerable achievements in both socio-economic realm and defence and security. Importantly, the VPA has brought into play its leading role in the establishment of economic-defence zones, participated in socio-economic development and strengthening defence and security in the strategic, remote, border, and island areas; and areas of revolutionary bases. Twenty-six economic-defence zones have been built in strategic areas and key positions in terms of national defence and security so far. Economic-defence corps, together with localities, have coordinated the development of synchronous infrastructure system, population planning and rearrangement, job creation, sustainable conditions for hundreds of thousands of households to settle down, and establishment of hundreds of concentrated population centers in the border and key areas, resulting in a new strategic arrangement in the strategic localities and directions. At the same time, they have actively assisted people in hunger eradication and poverty alleviation and promoting production, implemented public propaganda, and so on. The economic-defence zones are really important factors in hunger eradication and poverty alleviation, execution of policies on ethnic groups and religion, and combination of socio-economic development with strengthening national defence and security.

Military enterprises, the key force in carry out the VPA’s task of production and economic development, have been ceaselessly renovated, developed, and integrated to improve production and business efficiency and alignment with the performance of national defence missions. Against the backdrop of fierce competition in the market economy, military businesses have taken the initiative in overcoming difficulty, operating in compliance with State law and the MND’s regulations, producing more and more high quality products in support of national defence and society, and creating jobs and stable income for tens of thousands of employees. Currently, many military enterprises have established their own brand names, held important positions in the national economy, and been a strong reserve force for national defence; and been a top trading partner of the international community. In 2016 alone, the total turnover of military businesses reached nearly VND350 thousand of billion, profit before tax reached over VND43 thousand of billion, and contributed more than VND40 thousand of billion to  State budget. The military enterprises have affirmed its status in the economy, making active contributions to macroeconomic stability and development, national industrialization and modernization, and ensuring social security. In addition, active units and state owned non-business ones have also actively brought into play their internal forces, promoted production, and provided some services as prescribed by law. Those activities have generated direct sources of revenue to improve the soldiers’ life and participated effectively in socio-economic development in stationed areas, particularly in remote, mountainous, border, and island areas, and so on.

327 defense-economic corps providing young animals to local people

Realities of production and economic development of the VPA and recorded results have affirmed the Party and State’s sound policy on employing the VPA in economic development; proved that our military always grasps and performs well their assigned functions and tasks, while fulfilling their leading role in defence of the Fatherland, creating an environment conducive to socio-economic development, and participating actively and effectively in that process. In spite of several shortcomings and weaknesses, given the important outcomes achieved on “production front” over the past few years, the VPA has become a real national resource that can be exploited for socio-economic development, national industrialization and modernization; and served as the leading force for addressing difficulties in terms of national defence, security, economy, and society in strategic, border, and island areas and the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the nation. Through its production and economic development, the VPA has contributed to adjusting productive forces in areas and regions in line with socio-economic development strategy and defence goals. This helps to establish a strong economic-defence posture in strategic areas which serve as national hedges to safeguard the Fatherland far ahead; and to bring about a large amount of wealth for our society, a source of revenue for defence budget, economic growth, and development. At the same time, the VPA’s production and socio-economic development help to establish material, technical and technological foundations for the building of defence forces, posture, and potential, meeting the demand of national defence.

In the coming years, our country continues to deepen industrialization, modernization, and international integration; the task of national construction and defence faces both great opportunities and challenges. In order to join hands with the whole Party and people to fulfill successfully the two strategic task in the new era, the VPA is required to not only focus on improving its integrated quality and combat power, but continue to carry out well the task of production and economic development, making more contributions to socio-economic development and strengthening national capabilities and power. To achieve those goals, the whole armed forces should continue to perceive and promote the implementation of the CMC’s Resolution 520-NQ/QUTW; and attach great importance to intensifying the leadership and guidance of Party executive committees and commandants at all levels on the task of production and economic development. Importantly, propaganda and education need to be stepped up so as to further increase officers and soldiers’ awareness of the task of production and economic development at present time, and the VPA’s leading role in hunger eradication and poverty reduction, socio-economic development, and reinforcement of national defence and security in strategic, remote, border, and island areas. The whole armed forces should have a common understanding that participation in production and economic development constitutes a fundamental function and a vital political mission of enduring strategic significance, reflecting the VPA’s revolutionary nature and fine tradition. The VPA’s participation in production and economic development represents perception and implementation of the Party’s guideline and policy, and continuation and employment of national tradition of “dispatching troops to engage in agricultural production” and “being ordinary people in peacetime and soldiers in wartime” in the new age. At the same time, it is necessary to resolutely struggle against the hostile forces’ distorted allegations about this matter aimed to undermine the VPA’s prestige, sow division between the VPA and people, erode the VPA’s revolutionary nature, and appeal for transforming the VPA into a Western-style military organization. On the basis of a unified perception, military units and businesses should continue to enhance their responsibility for leading, directing, and coordinating the VPA’s production and economic development, turning these activities into development in depth. During execution, there is a need to continue to perceive and apply creatively the Party’s viewpoint on the combination of economy with national defence and vice versa, and “good combination of defence and security with socioeconomic development”; strictly observe the Party’s guidelines and policies, State law, and the MND’s regulations; take socioeconomic development, firm maintenance of political stability, and consolidation of defence and security as primary goals; and attach great importance to preserving natural resources and environment for sustainable development and international economic integration.

In the coming time, the MND will strengthen its forces which perform the task of production and economic development; and consider supplementing and perfecting mechanisms and policies to improve effectiveness and efficiency of State management regarding military participation in production and economic development with a view to making a significant breakthrough in the realization of these two strategic tasks. First of all, it is essential to concentrate resources and advance the establishment and operating effectiveness of economic-defence zones as defined in the overall master plan for establishment and development of economic-defence zones by 2020 and vision to 2025 approved by the Prime Minister; give priority to establishment of economic-defence zones in coastal and island areas; reorganize modes of production in economic-defence zones, etc., in order to make determined efforts to develop the economic-defence zones into typical examples of economy, culture, society, and defence and security in the strategic, border, and island areas. Moreover, the VPA should continue to step up its participation in maritime economic development, which focuses on several effective and dual-use areas of operation, in line with its functions and missions and in association with ensuring defence and security at sea and in coastal areas, serving as a reliable mainstay of fishermen and other forces operating at sea. Importantly, the whole armed forces need to concentrate on leading and directing the implementation of the CMC’s Resolution 425-NQ/QUTW, dated May 18th, 2017, on “reorganizing, renewing, and improving the operating effectiveness of military enterprises by 2010 and beyond” and the project for reconstructing, renewing, and improving the operating effectiveness of military businesses (once approved by the Prime Minister) by means of synchronous and drastic measures and heightened political determination, ensuring the attainment of defined goals and requirements. At the same time, these efforts seek to enhance capabilities, competitiveness, and production and business  effectiveness; preserve brand names of enterprises; and timely and thoroughly overcome shortcomings and weaknesses, meeting the demands of integration and development. Regular units and state-owned non-business units should bring into play their advantages and exploit redundant capabilities for production and economic development, in accordance with their specific conditions, to improve the soldiers’ material and spiritual life and supplement defence resources. Military units and enterprises continue to grasp and strictly comply with State law and the MND’s regulations on the management and use of defence land for economic purposes, ensuring strict control, appropriate use, and high effectiveness. Furthermore, the whole armed forces, first and foremost the businesses, should speed up their foreign economic activities, promote trade and investment, and focus on the VPA’s areas of strength, making contributions to strengthening international economic integration in accordance with the Party and State’s policies.

On recognizing accurately their functions and missions, thoroughly grasping the Party’s guidelines and State’s policies and law, and bringing into play the recorded experience and results, the whole armed forces continue to put more effort into good performance of production and economic development, commensurate with their functions as “an army ready for fighting, work, and production” in the new age, thereby further deepening the revolutionary nature and tradition of the heroic VPA, together with the whole Party and people, making practical contributions to fulfilling successfully the cause of national building and defence.

Snr Lt Gen Tran Don, Member of the Party Central Committee, Deputy Minister of National Defence

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