Building an army that withstands the test of time
Siti Hajar & Faza Suraj

WITH the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF) now in its prime at the age of 53, much is expected from the Land, Air and Navy forces, more so with added external and natural pressure that calls for a more forward thinking cluster of individuals responsible for the protection of the people as well as preserving the nation’s sovereignty.

This year, the RBAF anniversary focuses on its ‘RBAF Generation with Vision’ theme that aims to provide its personnel with the encouragement to think outside the box and bring to the table ideas that are worthy to carry not just the military, but also the country, forward.

On the sidelines of yesterday’s celebration at the RBAirF Base in Rimba, recently appointed Commander of the RBAF in an interview explained, “We wish to ensure that each and every one of our personnel is trained towards becoming visionaries – those who do not think for their own but more so for the future.”

Over the past half century, significant progress have been made in the development of Brunei’s military prowess ranging from harnessing local talents to the procurement of the latest in military technology, all of which have become physical testament to the importance of building an army that can withstand the test of time.

“What we see today is not purely what we, the current generation, have done. It has stemmed from the planning and the vision of those before us,” expressed Pehin Datu Pekerma Jaya Major General Dato Seri Pahlawan Mohd Tawih bin Abdullah.

“We appreciate what the generations before us have done and what we hope now is for our vision to benefit the future generation who will one day inherit the Royal Brunei Armed Forces.

“We may not see the results immediately but Insya Allah, with time, we hope that what we do now can be appreciated by those in the future.”

Three years ago in 2011, the Ministry of Defence released the Defence White Paper (DWP) whose contents outlined the future direction of the country’s military and much has been accomplished, with a handful of significant milestones achieved in all aspects of development and international cooperation.

With the being of the document that provides personnel with a glimpse into how the military should be, “The DWP is very much in line with this year’s theme especially since it highlights capability and capacity development,” added the commander.

“What we have now may be obsolete in a decade or so and what we want is continuity, constant upgrade and we do not want to be static. We want to be capable in the future and this is why we need people with vision to help realise the DWP.”

The future generation, he said, “must be able to translate what is on paper into something practical, something the people can see. They must be able to apply the rhetoric into real life”.

As the prowess of the RBAF also lies in its human resources, the commander also encouraged the youth to explore the opportunities the RBAF has to offer, emphasising that, “This is a good time for the public to see and have a look at what the RBAF contains,” adding that, “The choice is theirs to make.”

In reminding that there are criteria’s that need to be met, it was also said that, “If the youth feel that they want to be in this very challenging career then I wish them all the best. Nothing is impossible.

“I am very proud and very pleased with what we have achieved and I hope that this will represent a united organisation that is mature and in line with our 53 years, which I believe also represents balance, experience as well as stability.” - Borneo Bulletin (1 June 2014)