More robust and focused military
Siti Hajar

WITH over half a decade of experience of training young men and women to be fearless defenders of the nation, acquiring arms and perfecting their skills, the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF)now plans to revolutionise itself to serve both the country and the world better.

In a titah delivered yesterday, His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, the Minister of Defence and Supreme Commander of the RBAF announced that this year’s anniversary comes with the restructuring of the RBAF, which is scheduled to take place in phases aimed at “shaping a military that is more robust and focused”.

It will be in line with acquiring assets that will benefit the military’s ambition in technological advancement and the capabilities of our troops comprising personnel whom the monarch described as being “the main catalyst”.

This move subsequently signifies that human resources will play a pertinent role in the future of RBAF that aims to see more ICT involvement in development of the military across the board.

With changes taking place in peace operations, humanitarian aid and law enforcement, the Supreme Commander reminded personnel that the effectiveness of these adjustments will “heavily depend on planning and preparation that are thorough and rigorous”. He also lauded current efforts that are taking shape in preparing of guidelines that are “more directed” specifically in carrying out joint operations and exercises throughout RBAF and other public safety agencies.

Keeping in mind the importance of such multi-party cooperation, the monarch also announced that Brunei also needs the establishment of a Joint Doctrine and Warfare Centre the setting up of which needs to be expedited.

“I am confident that this development will be able to prompt a change in mindset and incite a paradigm shift,” whilst keeping in mind that the setting up of these “camps” should follow military standards and guidelines to “bring forth an environment that is conducive” based on the values of religion, health, environment with special emphasis on the instilling of a culture that prioritises professionalism in all related stakeholders.

“The ambition to modernise holistically should take into account systematic plans and research along with the ‘full-life circle’ concept,” continued His Majesty and reminded various defence research centres that they need to be and remain active in identifying and researching technological advancements to become smart buyers that are equipped with knowledge when acquiring tools that are apt for the country.

“With a vision that is clear, it is not impossible for us to shape our own system.

“It is most important (for the RBAF) to distance itself from social trends that go against the ethics of the institution,” said the monarch adding that military court-martial possesses jurisdiction enough to try related cases based on legal provisions that are set.

“These enforcement steps,” added His Majesty, “represent the best possible way to overcome such issues before the situation worsens.”

On a separate topic, the welfare of retired personnel came under royal scrutiny.

Despite the fact that the military treats its retirees with special incentives such as pensionand gratuity, His Majesty pointed out that there are still those who have fallen in between the cracks and among the suggestions made by the monarch for soon-to-be retirees is for related government agencies to equip these men and women with skills in making them more independent as they adjust to life outside the army, described as being “different”.

“It is time for the executive committee and the Royal Brunei Armed Forces to come up with best ways to encourage them in obtaining basic necessities such as housing,” urged His Majesty.

His Majesty also mentioned the upcoming Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief and Military Medicine (HADR/MM) Exercise to take place this month that will see hundreds of personnel from across Asean and beyond converging the Abode of Peace where each participating country will walk away with knowledge and skills that can supplement the work that they are carrying out and will conduct in the future.

This exercise, said His Majesty, “Represents Asean’s cooperation with our dialogue partners … and apart from strengthening our relations, this will also benefit participating countries,” in terms of providing these partners with first-time experiences in the aspects of cooperation especially on such a large scale.

In conclusion, His Majesty wished the men and women in uniform a happy 52nd anniversary “wherever they may be including those who are currently conducting peace operations in Lebanon and the Philippines” and wished their contributions to be blessed by Allah the Almighty. - Borneo Bulletin (2 June 2013)