I read with interest a report cited in Utusan on line dated July 12, 2008, that the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) wants to establish a Commando Unit to the the newly formed Joint Force HQ (Markas Angkatan Bersama).
I am informed that the Joint Force HQ ( a tri service outfit) is already being created (though not fully manned), and is presently located at the Ministry of Defence complex at Jalan Pandang Tembak, Kuala Lumpur. I am not quite sure how the HQ is organized, where is it to finally located, and to which organizational model have they adopted. I am not surprise if they have adopted the Australian model, knowing that our MAF has had close affiliation with the Australian Armed Forces.
While I was in service, I had the opportunity to undergo a Joint Warfare Course at the Australian Joint Warfare Training Centre at Williamstown, Australia. It was a new exposure for me, since joint warfare training has never been taught at our training institutions at the time. The course participants comprised of officers from the three services i.e. Army, Navy and Air Force.
The objective behind the creation of a Joint Force is to ready troops for deployment outside the area of our own defences. In other words, having the capability to deploy troops overseas, for whatever the purpose. The force being joint in nature, would perforce have it own resources in ships and aircrafts, beside the infantry component.
Such being the composition of the force, it is a highly mobile force capable of operating independently. I would say that it is the most expensive force to maintain, and there are not very many Armed Forces in the world today, having such a force. I don't remember both the Indian and Pakistan Armed Forces having such a force, despite them having quite a large Armed Forces.
With the establishment of the Joint Force HQ for the MAF, several questions need to be asked:
1. Is there a real necessity to create a dedicated Joint Force component for the MAF?
2. Is the establishment in conformity with the needs of the country's national defence strategy?
3. How would the force be equipped? Is it through the concept of affiliation of current Army, Navy and Air Force resources to the force, or it is through the concept of having dedicated resources comprising of components of the three services?
Joint Warfare training is highly complex, with a unique command and control organization. Jointry can only be exercised if the force is a dedicated one. If the concept is one of affiliation, then I am afraid, jointry will not be achieved.
I wish the Armed Forces all the best in its new undertaking, and it is my hope to see the aspirations of the force be fulfilled.