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Thursday, October 18, 2018, 21:07 (GMT+7)
The whole military reforms to enhance the quality of exercises

Exercise is the highest form of training, close to combat situations and essential for improving officers’ command and staff competencies, and units’ tactical, technical skills and synergy, directly contributing to enhancing combat strength of the armed forces. On clearly perceiving that importance, apart from stepping up reform and promoting training quality under the Resolution 765-NQ/QUTW by the Central Military Commission (CMC), party executive committees and commanders in the whole military have attached importance to leading and instructing reform of exercises in a practical manner and in a close association with soldiers, areas and assigned missions over the past few years. More importantly, officers and soldiers’ awareness of this work has been continually enhanced. There have been many changes in the form of exercises. All-level officers’ abilities to command and control exercises have been improved. The system of exercise scenarios and documents has been scrutinized and developed thoroughly, scientifically and in line with current regulations. The training of officers in frames of exercises has been renewed. The whole military has successfully conducted a number of experimental military drills, joint exercises, defensive zone exercises, etc., thereby drawing many invaluable lessons. Through these military drills, the standards of command and control, planning, collaboration and coordination of commanders, organisations and units at various levels have been promoted. The soldiers’ combat skills have been fairly flexible, intrinsically linked to combat realities, and so forth.

Besides the aforementioned achievements, there remain some limitations in the leadership, command and control, and organisation of these military drills. Some officers’ awareness, consciousness and responsibility for the exercises are not sufficient. There is a lack of cohesion and synchronisation in several aspects of directing and controlling military drills. Training content and methods have not been comprehensive and matched combat reality, particularly under the condition of modern warfare. Additionally, science and technology have not been widely applied to these exercises. Some military drills have not satisfied the requirements.

To opportunely overcome these shortcomings, further enhance the quality of exercises in 2018 and beyond, and create major breakthroughs in strengthening integrated quality and combat strength, organisations and units should pay attention to taking the following measures.

First, strengthening the leadership and instruction of party executive committees and commanders at all levels on the task of conducting military drills. This is a matter of principle and the deciding factor in the success of political missions in general and the quality of combat exercises in particular in each unit. It is also the criteria for assessing the leadership and command abilities of party executive committees and commanders at all levels in the implementation of assigned missions. Consequently, organisations and units, first and foremost party executive committees and commanders, need to further grasp the Party’s military, defence stance and guideline, and resolutions and directives of the CMC and Ministry of National Defence on training and exercises; work out methods to lead and direct exercises in a close and correct manner, and allocate responsibility to each individual. During the implementation process, it is important to ensure comprehensiveness, but focus on addressing shortcomings and weaknesses. In addition, they also have to attach importance to improving the quality and effectiveness of party work and political work in military drills, placing emphasis on promoting political, ideological education and raising soldiers’ awareness of the significance of exercises. All officers and soldiers must perceive that military drill is a combat mission; the highest form of training close to combat reality; and the  basis for enhancing combat standards, abilities and strength of the armed forces, thereby enabling them to heighten responsibility, get over difficulty, and manage to fulfill their assigned duties and missions. Drawing upon practical experience, especially through the preliminary summing-up of five-year implementation of the CMC’s Resolution 765-NQ/QUTW, in the coming time, unit party executive committees and commanders need to strictly review and identify strengths, weaknesses and causes in realising the drill mission while laying out policies and measures to opportunely overcome the weaknesses.

Second, improving the quality of preparing for military exercises. Military exercise is a comprehensive form of training, which is conducted by various forces in a long period of time in a vast area, with the employment of many kinds of weapons, equipment, ammunition, and explosive, under diversified, complex terrain and weather conditions. Therefore, in order to conduct military drills as intended, after receiving directives from higher echelons, party executive committees and commanders of units must set up steering committees, anticipate military operating areas, and prepare every relevant document. It is necessary to create appropriate guiding documents, depending on the nature, scales and forms of conducting military exercises. The commanders’ intent of exercises, basic scenarios and operational concepts as well as other guiding documents must be developed comprehensively to include staff, politics, and logistics and technical support. In addition to the development of a system of documents, organisations and units also have to attach importance to selecting and training staff responsible for delivering training scenarios at all levels. The training content should focus on exercise organisation and methods, and ways of delivering scenarios at each level in accordance with specific scenarios and types of tactics, new developments in operational art at the operational level of war and tactical actions when an enemy uses high-tech weapons. Moreover, units must prepare their soldiers well, focusing on providing officers and their soldiers with extra training in content which remains poor and divided and directly serves the exercises, especially the experimental and live fire exercises.

In recent exercises, for some reason, several units have allocated targets to fires which are of bigger sizes, inappropriate colours, short ranges, and do not match combat reality. To deal with these problems requires military training organisations at all levels to pay attention to instructing and inspecting units when they choose weapons, training grounds; matching content of exercise plans with types of terrain; and ensuring fundamental indices in both breadth and depth of combat missions and ways of maneuver. The employment of targets must ensure correct shapes, sizes and colours, which is congruent with the nature of targets, types of terrain, states of the enemy, and tactical intent as well as combat stages, missions and situations while attaching importance to applying science and technology and well preparing simulation scenarios for each exercise stage in accordance with features of hi-tech wars.

Third, promoting innovation of content, forms and methods to conduct exercises to ensure their compatibility with plans, operating areas, adversaries, our existing weapons and equipment, and military tradition of our people and military. The war to safeguard the Fatherland (if occurred) would be a modern one, where the enemies have superiority in high-tech weapons, increasingly advanced reconnaissance, extensive electronic warfare, high mobility, rapid response, and flexibility. Clearly perceiving that issue, units have paid attention to designing exercise scenarios in which the enemy use high-tech weapons. Nevertheless, this content is primarily limited to basic situations, which are less dynamic and practical. The “performance” of officers and soldiers has only shown limited results. Consequently, organisations and units in the whole military need to add maneuver, fires avoidance and return, camouflage, diversion, and electronic countermeasures to exercises at all levels in the coming time. It is also vital to increase the scale of exercises in the direction of enhancing operations-based exercises and joint exercises, most notably those practising defending seas and islands, countering strategic separation, and stopping an amphibious raid by the enemy; and link drills of main forces with those practising defending localities, thereby opportunely adjusting and supplementing operational concepts, and improving unit commanders’ abilities to command and collaborate with local party executive committees, authorities, departments, unions, and provincial/municipal military bodies. Additionally, units should attach importance to renewing forms and methods of drills, promoting two- or three-level, one-side exercises, tabletop exercises and operations-based exercises with live firing, especially at the divisional level and naval zones. This is an important measure to boost thinking competencies and abilities to apply theoretical principles and Vietnam’s military art to the commanders’ resolution of combat situations and units’ actions. In drills, the steering committees and scenario builders need to pay attention to applying “build to act” in the preparation and launch of a battle or an operation. When carrying out live firing, it is vital to attach importance to coordination, particularly the bilateral or trilateral ones between services, arms, forces, etc., in each mission, stage and combat situation, ensuring that all actions are taken in a smooth, correct, orderly, principled, and timely manner.

Fourth, improving quality and effectiveness of logistics supply for drills. This is an important issue, which directly contributes to raising the quality of military exercises at all levels. Today, in the context of a tight budget, the whole military attaches significance to combining the efficient use of finance provided by the higher echelon with the exploitation of other sources of finance to facilitate exercises. First of all, it is vital to step up the construction of firing ranges at all levels, especially those used by units which are fully staffed, tasked with defending sovereignty over waters and islands, and built to advance straight to modernity; and continue to perfect the system of materials guiding the development of documents and conduct of exercises while strengthening movements for bringing into play ideas and applying technological innovation to manufacture modernised learning aids and simulated weapons used for drills. In addition, organisations and units should pay due regard to well conducting logistics, technical support for exercises; well classifying, planning, inspecting, and correcting weapons and technical equipment of units, especially those conducting drills with live firing, thereby minimising risks in exercises.

Apart from the aforementioned content and measures, organisations and units should maintain inspection, preliminary summing-up and summation after each stage of an exercise to correctly assess strengths and weaknesses of each individual, detachment, unit, branch, service, and arm, and identify causes and solutions, contributing to promoting the integrated quality and combat strength of the armed forces, enabling them to satisfy the demand for the Fatherland defence in every situation.

Major General Vu Van Sy, Chief of the Military Training Department

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For the past nearly 75 years of establishment, combat and growth, under the leadership, education and training of the Communist Party of Vietnam and President Ho Chi Minh, the VPA has become increasingly strong; achieved various feats of arms and outstanding achievements, making significant contribution to glorious victories of the whole nation in the cause of national liberation, construction and defense.