Call for unceasing upgrade of nation's military capability
Azaraimy HH

His Royal Highness Prince General Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Deputy Sultan and General of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF), has called for a continuous enhancement of the nation's military capability.

In a sabda delivered at the outset of a colourful and jubilant celebration to mark the 51st anniversary of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces yesterday at the Royal Brunei Naval Base, the Deputy Sultan hoped the establishment of the Maritime Training School will contribute towards enhancing the nation's maritime capability, especially in safeguarding the sovereignty of Brunei waters and the larger Economic Exclusive Zone (EEZ) belonging to the country.

His Royal Highness said peace and prosperity are dreamt by many countries, and with the will of Allah the Almighty, in Brunei, peace and prosperity are the most precious "Nikmat" (blessings) showered by Allah the Almighty on the country.

With the country continued to be blessed with peace and prosperity, the nation's development agendas can be planned and carried out accordingly. The Deputy Sultan reminded that the right conditions are due to the nation's "strategic investment" in staying devoted and faithful to Allah the Almighty by adhering to the practice of the nation's MIB concept with continuous conviction among all layers of society for peace.

Without exception, the efforts towards securing peace also fall on the shoulders of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces which along with the Ministry of Defence carries the daunting role in fortifying the defence institution in the country, HRH said.

The Deputy Sultan said that this role must be executed through a wider and organised military development programme.

"With this, the RBAF will be more competent to confront whatever challenges it faces currently and in the future," HRH stressed.

"In this context, the Government of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam has constantly emphasised on the importance of planning towards a clearer developmental direction in order to reach the nation's defence objectives including building an armed forces that is resilient, possesses unique capabilities as well as high professionalism and readiness," HRH said.

The Deputy Sultan said His Majesty has given his consent for long-term plans for a Military Capability Development Programme, which is broad enough to build up the capacity of the nation's defence institution towards higher level.

In this regard, the Deputy Sultan congratulated RBAF for successfully establishing several supporting institutions to supplement the efforts towards achieving the desired objectives.

"Clearly, the establishment of these insti-tutions is very important to strengthen the capability of defence forces in responding to any threats and challenges including non-conventional operation," HRH said.

"This positive development also enables the RBAF to contribute a more meaningful service in its working relationship with public law enforcement agencies.

"Besides that, it is also very useful in the direct involvement of our forces in regional and international peace operations such as our involvement in the International Monitoring Team in Mindanao and the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Lebanon.

"Towards that end, doctrine and procedures must always be updated and organised to ensure our military capability in executing the operational needs in various fields. The agility and efficiency of our forces must be enhanced because the effectiveness of each operation is mostly dependent on the level of readiness and equipment of our forces," HRH said.

The Deputy Sultan also congratulated RBAF for the recent successful conclusion of its military exercise "Hikmat Bersatu IV" that focused on counter-insurgency and urban warfare operations involving land, sea and air.

The exercise was aimed at testing the real capability of the Joint Task Force Procedure and System C4i.

The Deputy Sultan said that in order to benefit fully from the "Hikmat Bersatu" exercise, the military needed to rectify whatever weaknesses that were identified during the exercise.

"These include the need to introduce assessment methods 'Fit for Role' on a scheduled basis and periodic training among all military services," HRH said.

The Deputy Sultan believed that there was still room for improvement. HRH said this includes amendment to current policy related to procurement, replacement and updating assets, human resource management, and maintenance of defence infrastructure.

"In this relation, it has become our shared hope that the implementation of Maritime Training School's construction within the scheduled time will play a role in contributing towards enhancing the maritime defence capability, especially in defending the sovereignty of our Exclusive Economic Zone," HRH said.

The Deputy Sultan said the current modernisation era is influenced by the findings of research and developments in the field of science and technology.

HRH urged that this development also requires more caution in studying and assessing certain tactical needs for the purpose of ensuring that procedures deployed are suitable and meet the objectives of the operation capability development.

The Deputy Sultan said related methods and processes within the ministry must be reassessed from time to time as a continuous improvement. This matter, the HRH said, is needed for a strategy towards making the defence force stronger.

In this matter, the Deputy Sultan also mentioned the importance of encouraging the involvement of the private sector, especially local companies, to compete in providing services in an effort to support the growth of the local defence industry.

"Through the increased utilisation of out-sourcing and public-private partnership, local entrepreneurs will be able to build upon their own capability and even be able to compete in the regional and international arenas," HRH said.

The Deputy Sultan also congratulated the RBAF for its success in including religious activities in an effort to inculcate religious values among the military personnel as well as their family members throughout the year. This method will certainly strengthen the religious convictions among the military personnel in line with the MIB concept as a core characteristic in the nation's defence institution.

"This is an investment that certainly cannot be ignored," HRH said.

During the event, the Deputy Sultan consented to cut the 51st RBAF anniversary cake and received a "pesambah". - Borneo Bulletin (1 June 2012)