I wish to share with my readers an email that I received from a reader concerning an article I posted on Saturday, July 23, 2011 relating to the MAF Joint Force Headquarters. There are some useful comments made that I hope should be read and understood by the current crop of military commanders; least they are not confused with the conventional understanding of Joint Force Headquarters. The last paragraph of the reader’s comment is worth pondering.
It is interesting to read your argument on the need of a Joint Force HQ in the MAF.I hope your posting this time would generate more professional discussion among your readers in particular the current breed of Commanders at all levels in the MAF who are more exposed to new technologies in the management of their units, formations and forces,
India who experience 3 wars and several conflicts with its neighbors surprisingly do not have an Armed Forces HQ like we do.The joint force ops is handled by the Joint Chiefs Committee at national level and executed by a ground formation with all the organic and assigned troops.The most senior Chief of Service act as the Chairman of Joint Chiefs Committee. This Committee decides what assets and quantum of force to be assigned depending on the intelligence and Ground Commander's appreciation made available to them.
Nevertheless India has one Unified Command HQ in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands commanded by a 3 Star Admiral.This is required because these islands are too far flung in the Indian Ocean and they have to be self- reliant to operate independently at least for a limited period.
The need for a Joint Force HQ actually depends on Defence Policy, Strategy and the make- up of a particular country. Since Malaysia has 2 theaters so to speak perhaps it is prudent to have a Joint Force HQ established there to take charge of the East Malaysia Theater. Joint Force HQ should be able to operate independently, but it is a very expensive business to have one.
Joint Force HQ as I understand is also for projection of power, for offensive purposes. This I am sure do not conform to our Defence Policy or Strategy.Joint Force HQ always operate in high intensity operations and it must be trained to operate in that environment.For our Joint Force HQ to operate OP PASIR which is low intensity ops is a waste of assets and training value.Perhaps it is wise to hand back OP PASIR to 5 Bde or PDRM. After all it is still 5 Bde that has to provide admin and logistics support to OP PASIR, I am told there was no complaint against 5 Bde when they operated OP PASIR then.I just wonder why Joint Force HQ must take over now. Moreover, 5 Bde Commander is still a member of Sabah State Security Executive Committee.
Of course MAF must continue pursuing the concept of ‘Jointness’ even without a Joint Force HQ. It may be through existing Formation HQ or equivalent operational level where troops and assets are assigned for a specific period for training purposes or for real combat if the need arise.
It is easier said than done. It needs a political will to undo and restructure back the ATM. Australia is a country that has gone through this kind of trial and error.They revert to the Brigade concept when Task Force which replaced all Brigades did not work as well as its former structure.
JPP need to revisit the wisdom to have JFH in the MAF. Perhaps enough money could be saved to upgrade the existing utilities and facilities in the Op Pasir area for the troops deployed there.