Monday, February 20, 2012

DND to end internal security combat operations in 2 years

MANILA, Philippines -  The Department of National Defense (DND) plans to conclude internal security combat operations within two years and has ordered military units to enhance preparedness in conducting joint operations.

The DND ordered the Armed Forces chief to come up with a readiness reporting system that would establish a uniform policy for assessing the readiness of troops.

“The objective is to achieve at least 95 percent readiness rating for personnel, equipment, maintenance and training readiness in these forces as rapidly as practicable so we can successfully conclude internal security combat operations no later than 2014,” DND said.

A planning guidance, a copy of which was obtained by The STAR, was issued amid plans by the military to shift focus from internal security to territorial defense.

The readiness ratings and criteria set by the DND states that a 95 percent readiness rating translates to “fully mission capable.”

The planning guidance said units that could not attain at least 95 percent readiness would be deactivated.

The major services namely the Army, Air Force, and Navy shall report on the readiness of field units.

Units involved in internal security operations in priority regions shall be prioritized in terms of logistics support, training, funding, and filling up of resources.

DND, however, said the territorial defense requirements shall be satisfied using forces involved in internal security campaigns.

“Our territorial defense needs for this planning period (2013 to 2018) will essentially be met by our forces that are engaged in internal security operations in priority regions and our units in non-priority regions,” the DND guidance read.

DND said the defense of the country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty “poses the foremost security challenge.”

The DND listed territorial defense and maritime security as the top two core security concerns followed by natural disasters and internal security.

The agency, nevertheless, said the military should continue reducing the capabilities of armed groups that threaten national security.

To improve territorial defense capability, DND said the National Coast Watch System Project “shall continue to be treated as a priority effort” for allocating resources. The National Coast Watch System would enable the military to monitor the country’s maritime borders.

“Territorial defense is gaining greater prominence in the light of the recent developments in the West Philippine Sea that have undermined the Philippines’ sovereignty in the Kalayaan Island Group,” DND said.

The Kalayaan is located in the disputed Spratly Islands, which is being claimed, in part or in whole, by the Philippines, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Brunei.

The DND is also pushing for a restructuring plan that would deactivate some combat battalions and those that conduct development projects.

The number of battalions would be reduced in the next few years as the military shifts focus on territorial defense.
By Alexis Romero
The Philippine Star
February 20, 2012 12:00 AM

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