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Wednesday, May 09, 2018, 14:06 (GMT+7)
Vietnam’s Defence and Military Strategies: A crystallization of national tradition, the Party’s will and people’s hearts

Soon after national reunification, our Party laid out a general guideline to lead the revolution, which read, “ceaseless enhancement of revolutionary vigilance, regular consolidation of national defence, strengthening of political security and social order, successful building of peace, independence, unification and socialism in Vietnam, and so on.” Our Party has consistently aligned the development of Vietnam’s Defence Strategy and Military Strategy with other strategies in order to successfully realize national building and defence.

During the two wars of resistance against the French colonialism and U.S. imperialism, we implemented several military strategies, but did not execute any defence strategies. Therefore, in peacetime when we need to actually carry out national defence, we lack scientific basis to develop Vietnam’s Defence Strategy. Given their high responsibility to the Party, State and people, the scientific researchers have worked wholeheartedly and responsibly to unanimously offer the concept of Vietnam’s Defence Strategy. This concept was first coined in the Vietnamese Military Encyclopedia, which was published in 1996. Nevertheless, it has not been perceived by everyone, especially those with experience of the two wars. This reality has more or less had influence on the research process and resulted in delay of the Defence Strategy. Consequently, resolutions of three consecutive congresses of our Party (the 10th, 11th and 12th national congresses) clearly pointed out the need to “promptly instruct the development and release of national strategies, defence strategies, security strategies, and other specialized strategies,” “improve the defence strategy, security strategy and system of mechanisms and policies on defence and security in the new era” and so forth. Our people has longed to live in peace, stability and prosperity since time immemorial. In response to the Party’s resolutions and people’s desire, the Central Military Commission (CMC) and Ministry of National Defence (MND) have taken the lead in and coordinated with other relevant ministries and agencies at the central level to develop Vietnam’s Defence Strategy and Military Strategy.

When undertaking the mission of developing Vietnam’s Defence Strategy and Military Strategy, the CMC and MND have closely stuck to the Party’s military and defence guidelines, which were reflected in the Platform for National Construction and Defence in the Period of Transition Toward Socialism (amended and further developed in 2011) and the Party’s resolutions on military and defence work, particularly resolutions of the 8th Plenum of the Party Central Committee (9th and 11th tenures) on Strategy to Safeguard the Fatherland in the new situation.

During the development process, we have inherited the tradition and military and defence ideologies of our people while selectively acquiring the world’s quintessence in military and defence. We have also proactively and actively made use of achievements of the 4th industrial revolution (4.0); invested a great deal of effort in theoretical studies and practical review through the participation of many military generals, scientists and leaders of the Party and States in various periods; and made careful preparations for perfecting these two strategies.

In order to successfully put Vietnam’s Defence Strategy and Military Strategy into everyday life, it is important to promote their dissemination and propaganda within the whole Party, people and military. These activities serve to achieve consensus in the society about the need to develop these two strategies and heighten responsibility for execution. First of all, Vietnam’s Defence Strategy is the strategy to defend the country far ahead, in the nature of peace and self-defence, a combination of the strength of the whole people and the age, and on the basis of the Party’s sound political guideline – the deciding factor. One of the key pieces of content of Vietnam’s Defence Strategy is to establish and consolidate strategic trust with nations, especially the major powers and traditional partners, to create new posture and strength for national defence. The strategy has identified some national defence situations and predicted the most likely to happen, providing a solid foundation for nurturing determination and proactive prevention so as to avoid passivity and strategic shock and be prepared to successfully deal with any situations.

General Ngo Xuan Lich chaired the conference on Vietnam's military art (Photo: qdnd)

According to the Party’s standpoint, Vietnam’s Defence Strategy seeks to foresee both internal and external adversaries of national defence and clearly define their quality and characteristics, forming the basis for the whole Party, people and military to comprehend and respond. The strategy aims to firmly safeguard independence, sovereignty, unification, and territorial integrity of the Fatherland; defend national interests; maintain peace; protect the Party, State, people, and socialist regime; and make contribution to preserving peace and stability in the region and the world. It also seeks to keep the country from passivity and strategic shock; preserve sociopolitical stability; defeat the hostile forces’ strategy of “peaceful evolution” and sabotage as well as manifestations of “self-evolution” and “self-transformation” within the Party; prevent the risks of war and armed conflict; strengthen cooperation and struggle in defence; successfully tackle defence situations; and be ready to defeat any types of war. At the same time, the strategy specifies the direction for building a revolutionary, regular, elite, and gradually modernized military, in which some forces advance straight towards modernity. Accordingly, on the basis of the conditions of national economy, it is necessary to fulfill the building of a modernized military, in line with requirements of its missions, by the year 2030. Furthermore, the strategy also identifies the Party’s standpoint in implementation, which affirms that the Party’s leadership, State’s management, strengthening of great national unity, and establishment of “people’s heart and mind posture” are the key to victory; and firm maintenance of a peaceful and stable environment conducive to the construction and development of the country is an essential, regular task and the highest national interest. Moreover, the strategy stresses the need to patiently follow the guideline of all-people national defence and people’s warfare; exercise patience and resolution in resolving disputes and difference through peaceful means and on the basis of international law and regional mechanisms and rules. This is the vital legal foundation, which enables forces to make non-negotiable decisions; be prepared to act in self-defence when their territorial sovereignty and national interests are infringed upon; defeat any acts of aggression to firmly safeguard the socialist Vietnamese Fatherland. Vietnam’s Defence Strategy sets out principles on internal and external relations, including respect of other countries’ independence, sovereignty, unification, and territorial integrity and compliance with Vietnam’s Constitution and law and international law; defence policy; building strategic trust; and guiding preparations, defence, offense, and seizure and preservation of proactiveness in every situation. At the same time, it sets sights on the motto of “acting flexibly while maintaining firmly one’s own principles” in both internal and external relations, as well as in peacetime and wartime; independence, sovereignty and national interests being “invariable”; keeping “peace at home and peace abroad”; and people-centric approach, “military personnel being more important than their weapons.” Our standpoint on national defence is that, in peacetime, national defence is the cause of the people, by the people and for the people; in wartime, the military has to persist steadfastly with the people to fight to protect people and the Fatherland; cooperation intertwines with struggle; struggle is carried out actively in all fields; and armed struggle is combined with unarmed one. In any situations, it is important to resolutely uphold the Party’s leadership; take initiative in self-defence under the motto: villages defend villages, districts defend districts and provinces defend provinces without relying on others. These standpoints form the basis for setting out methods for building the all-people national defence, and defence cooperation and struggle according to each situation. To realize that objectives, Vietnam’s Defence Strategy sets sights on five groups of tasks and solutions with the aim of achieving “a robust Party, a rich nation, happy people, a powerful military, and more friends, fewer enemies.”

Vietnam’s Military Strategy is developed with a view to concretizing key content of the Defence Strategy, namely the art of using military strength of a state and all people in the war to safeguard the Fatherland; and all of the guidelines, policies and stratagems worked out on the foundation of the all-people defence and all-people defence posture in association with the people’s security and people’s security posture. Key content of the Military Strategy includes the art of organizing, directing, preparing, and waging war; identification of adversaries; operational art and tactics; strategic goals; principles and methods of conducting war; development of plans for strategic warfare; preparation for political, spiritual and material conditions; establishment of posture; preparation for forces; and application of modes of strategic warfare. It also stresses the need to closely combine military struggle with struggle in the realms of politics, diplomacy, economics, culture, ideology, etc., to deter and repulse the threat of war and win victory in wars, defending the sacredness and inviolability of the Fatherland.

On the basis of predicting adversaries and types of war, the Military Strategy sets out guiding ideas, goals, principles, and methods of each type of war; and affirms that people’s warfare remains the main method of Vietnam to defeat high-tech war and other types of war in new domains, namely cyberspace and space. The people’s warfare seeks to combine operations of local forces with those of the regular army corps; attaches importance to and brings into play all types of existing modernized weapons and equipment; and exploits these weapons in the sense that they are well-suited for Vietnam’s combat methods. The Military Strategy also identifies methods of strategic warfare and attaches importance to new methods, namely cyber warfare and integrated attack.

Vietnam’s Military Strategy specifies the direction to make major breakthroughs in organization, staffing and equipment suitable to capabilities of the economy; build an adept, lean, highly efficient, mobile, and flexible military, which is properly balanced among various types of forces; and lead, command and control warfare as provided in the Constitution and law. Accordingly, command and control of strategic warfare is under the centralized, unified leadership of the Party Central Committee, directly and permanently the Politburo, the Secretariat of the Party Central Committee, and the CMC; and the management of the State and Government. The Minister of National Defence takes direct command and control over military operations, armed struggle and strategic warfare, and coordinates with other ministries, agencies and branches to provide support for warfare activities. The strategy also emphasizes the importance of party work and political work in the building of all-people national defence and Vietnam’s People’s Army (VPA); and expediting support for warfare activities in a synchronous manner that is suitable to new conditions. Furthermore, Vietnam’s Military Strategy also defines defence budget for the building of defence zones, defence posture, force build-up, procurement and production of weapons and equipment, training, combat readiness, and implementation of military missions in both peacetime and wartime.

It cannot be denied that Vietnam’s Defence Strategy and Military Strategy are a real crystallization of national tradition, the Party’s will and people’s hearts in the cause of national construction and defence. The promulgation of these two strategies has marked a new development in the cause of national defence, which is of significant importance in the period of development, peace and stability in Vietnam. It is the responsibility of the whole Party, people and military to successfully implement two strategic tasks, namely building and defence of the socialist Fatherland. In order to achieve that goal, party organizations, ministries, agencies and braches at the central level, localities, and the whole armed forces in their own fields have to thoroughly and strictly comprehend fundamental content of the two strategies. This will help to provide people from all walks of life and the whole political system with sound awareness of the content of the two strategies, enabling them to innovate the way of thinking, create dramatic changes in terms of will and responsibility and transform determination into revolutionary action. Ministries, branches, localities, agencies, and units base on the Government’s Resolution on the execution of the Politburo’s Resolution on Vietnam’s Defence Strategy to work out programs and plans to realize the strategy. In particular, the VPA needs to rapidly develop and amend specialized strategies in the realms of organization, staffing, weapons and equipment, defence industry, education and training, scientific research, logistical and technical support, and so forth. At the same time, it is important to strengthen propaganda and education and add this content to the defence-security education program in training institutions and the whole society. Ministries, branches, localities, agencies, and units have to resolutely and strictly expedite their own action programs and plans. Regular inspection and supervision, timely report, high political resolution, and sound and scientific implementation provide the basis for the whole Party, people and military to successfully execute Vietnam’s Defence Strategy and Military Strategy, making great contribution to the cause of national building and defence in the new era.

General Ngo Xuan Lich, Member of the Politburo, Deputy Secretary of the Central Military Commission, Minister of National Defence 

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