Lieutenant General Nguyen Mạnh Hung, secretary of the General Department of Defence Industry’s Party Committee and Political Commissar, spoke to Quan doi nhan dan (People’s Army) newspaper on the national defense industry’s progress and missions for the future.

What are the highlights of the national defense industry in 2022?

The national defense industry achieved remarkable results last year with the attention of the Party and the State, the Central Military Commission (CMC) and the Ministry of Defence (MoD), the coordination and support of other ministries and departments, as well as the efforts and determination of everyone in the sector.

One of the highlights was the consultation with the CMC on the new Resolution No 08-NQ/TW on accelerating the defense industry’s development to 2030 and beyond, which was submitted to the Politburo for approval and issuance.

The MoD built an action program to realize the resolution and submitted it to the Prime Minister for approval. This demonstrates the strategic vision of the mission to develop a self-reliant, multi-functional defense industry that responds to the need to build a modern military. At the same time, a dossier recommending the formation of the Law on National Defence, Security and Industrial Mobilization was completed, allowing the issuance of circulars and regulations that manage and study the design and production of weapons and technical equipment.

The defense industry also saw breakthroughs in research and mastering a number of core and fundamental technologies; designing, manufacturing and producing a wide variety of arms and equipment, military vessels, as well as supporting tools for law enforcement forces and civilian use.

In the context where market demands are declining and export-import activities encounter multiple challenges, defense industry units have been actively promoting cooperation with local and international businesses to improve production and ensure stable income and employment for workers. The total revenue of the industry reached VNĐ33 trillion (US$1.4 billion) in 2022, of which 59 per cent is economic revenue.

Another notable achievement is the success of international cooperation in the defense industry and the Viet Nam International Defence Expo 2022, which attracted the participation of 174 defense businesses from 30 countries, and received high regard from the international community. This has contributed to the position and reputation of the country, its military and defense industry, opening up numerous cooperation opportunities in the sector with other countries.

Which breakthrough solutions were put in place to achieve these results?

First and foremost, the human factor is identified as the most important. We pay attention to building high quality personnel, particularly in research and development. We also formed specialized research teams that focus on several key aspects. We also link research with production, ensuring that research institutes are the science-technology foundation for factories.

Last year, solutions have been studied and proposed to maintain and improve product quality and repair to ensure stability. Several research projects on new arms production and technical support were also deployed.

In regard to economic development, the General Department of Defence Industry has put forward new strategies and solutions with stringent implementation, which has transformed the thinking on economic development in the sector’s units and departments.

Exchanges and connections with local and international businesses were also established, allowing practical and effective cooperation. Several defense businesses have become partners and suppliers for major enterprises. International standards have also been actively applied in business management and operations, as well as product quality control and digital transformation.

The department also focuses on promoting collective power in its mission and actively coordinates with other units for common growth.

What are the challenges facing the defense industry and the solutions to alleviate these issues?

While the national defense industry has seen comprehensive progress, there are still several shortcomings such as the limited coordination between institutions and policies, or among ministries and departments in the sector’s development. Financial investment and resources for the industry are not yet sufficient, and there are few multi-functional products for civilian use and export. We still have limitations in mastering the fundamental technology and special materials.

To alleviate these issues, the industry has been implementing multiple missions and solutions. The first is focusing on and proposing a complete legal framework for the defense industry, including specific mechanisms and policies on science-technology research and application. We also implement projects that invest in the industry’s potential, mobilizing resources and developing high-quality human resources. Business structures were also streamlined to ensure productivity and efficiency.

In addition, the General Department of Defence Industry also suggests and actively consults with the MoD on implementing the mid-term public investment plan in the 2021-25 period, diversifying and effectively using investments to develop the industry’s potential.

The department continues to research and develop mid and long-term investment plans and projects for a modern, multi-functional defense industry. Other tasks include consultation, development and implementation of coordination mechanisms in the sector, promoting joint ventures, technology transfer and international cooperation in product research, production and consumption.

How has the General Department of Defence Industry attracted and developed high-quality human resources?

The defense industry’s human resources are seeing progress in terms of both quantity and quality, with an increase in the number of master’s and doctoral degree holders specializing in new and advanced technology.

To achieve these results, the department has always considered attracting and building high quality human resources a key and fundamental solution, which decides immediate and long-term development.

Recruitments are also conducted based on positions’ demands, reforms and the department’s structure and efficiency improvement. More human resources are assigned to special technical departments. Priority is also given to well-trained people with science-technology and foreign language qualifications, who have the capacity to receive technology transfer, design, produce and repair hi-tech products, and work in an international environment.

The department also looks into and applies suitable policies and benefits to attract and retain qualified staff, such as ensuring a good working environment, conditions for development, income and housing.

To improve the industry’s development in the new context, the department is proposing to the MoD to develop specific policies and frameworks that help attract, train and motivate high-quality human resources.

What are the key missions of the General Department of Defence Industry in the future?

The first mission is to focus on implementing managerial missions assigned by the State on the industry, and building institutions following the direction of the CMC. We will also continue our work on the missions identified in the government’s action program and the MoD’s plans in regard to Politburo’s Resolution No 08; the draft Law on National Defence, Security and Industrial Mobilization after receiving the approval for our dossier; and the proposal for specific mechanisms in the industry’s development.

The second is to build the plan and people’s determination for the project restructuring businesses in the 2021-25 period, which focuses on merging enterprises in military ship production and repair, with a strict, determined and appropriate action roadmap that ensures efficiency, stability and growth.

The third is to successfully research and manufacture modern arms and equipment. In 2023, we focus on studying the design and production of strategic weapons, completing the required procedures to start producing military vehicles, effectively implementing science-technology research and development programs on mobile complexes and new-generation precision weapons, and extending studies in accordance with the MoD’s plans.

The fourth is to continue developing strong research personnel and assign specific tasks to research groups, in order to meet the demands in production goals following Resolution No 08. — VNS