Wednesday, July 27, 2011


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.

Dear Dato,

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.

Salam hormat


Yap said...

Dato, this subject was/is well tutored in Staff College and I am sure our present generals are aware of it. We do not have the resources to assign to a joint Hq, nor do we have a requirement for it in the present environment.

There is definitely something wrong with the present leaders to come up with this establishment.
Same to the Strategic Div. what has happened to it, came and gone.

It is just another plot to create senior appointment..!!!

apek ironside said...


huh? JFHQ and Markas ATM, are they playing the different roles? or one for admin, the other one for active operation commanding? wat is the pro and con for this (JFHQ)?

better coordination of command? why don we have a all levels joint services live fire power attacking exercise at asahan (sorry, maybe in a remote island cause firing range of Navy can't reach asahan), call for air strike, navy supporting fire, artillery battery bombardment and finally division level PARA, Armour and Infantries doing the attack, eventually call in PASCAL and GGK doing the final assault, but the most important thing is, let a few signal squadrons doing the bandwave jamming all the time, then see wat will happen....kokup tak kokup, please test our capability in real scenario, no more directed show (blue force mesti menang punya show)...counter jamming and changing of command mode, see the real capability...cause this time in future the enemy will not be that ill-equipped CT, no more lanunland but superpower allied country with sophisticated facilities.

anybody wonder why many years ago somebody shot a round to one al maunah militia but no follow up with charging action after that (trigger happy sniper from the elite?), this has cause the killed of two hostages by the angry militia, a captured injured Iban GGK and an Indian policeman...hmm,anything wrong with the effectiveness of command and control on the field?

the armed forces leaders should face the real world and improve accordingly, know yourself and the enemy strategically, thus my advice to the existing leaders of armed forces... be more self contained on the logistic, not the expensive but so so equipment bought with personal interest....cause your soldiers are risking life in handling it, do not kill by your own equipment before facing the enemy, cause many weapon sources are strategically control by outsider.

well, eagerly waiting to see how they test the command and control effectiveness for JFHQ under bandwave jamming condition (no celcom hadnphone please)..hahaha.

all the best.

taming said...

Dear Dato',

Thank you for posting MJHim's comments on MAF Joint Force Headquarters.

Both you and MJHim have some constructive comments and I appreciate those views. Reading from MJHim's Indian perspectives, obviously he must be a graduate of Indian Defence College!

MAF has been inheritted from the British, so is its organisation and we tend to "follow British".
MAF spent millions by sending our senior military officers to attend renowned military studies and post graduate courses all over the world. We also conducted studies and seminars to arrive at a practical and viable organisation of MAF and I am sure there are tons of study papers in the MPAT archives but what do we have?

I note that we are famous for name changing sake! From Chief of Armed Forces Staff (CAFS), Chief of General Staff (CGS), Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) and Chief of Air Staff (CAS) somebody just changed it to "PANGLIMAs" to meet the power and service centric "ego".
We changed for the sake of changing, may be to get more positions and promotions, but each service still remains very single service centric and there is really NO POLITICAL WILL and GUTS on the part of senior military commanders to settle for a "TRULY JOINT" MAF organisation.

I respect present military leadership, supposed to be highly educated and well exposed. I suggest PAT, Gen Zul, gets the MAF and service organisations sorted out because wars cannot be fought and won if you have "sick commanders and organisations"!

F said...

Was there any particular reason the designation - Chief of Defence Forces [CDF] - was used in the 80's and was later dropped?

Mohd Arshad Raji said...

Dear F,

Prior to the use of the designation CDF, it was CAF. I suppose CDF sound better.