The AFP Modernization Program
With the implementation of the AFP Modernization Program, new demand is created for existing industries. This has also raised the prospect of a rebirth of old industries, or the creation of new ones. Article 3.6 of the Modernization Act explicitly declares, “A self-reliance policy shall as much as possible, be pursued in materiel and technology development for the country’s defense requirements in order to reduce dependence on foreign sources and at the same time boost the local defense industry.” Furthermore, the same article stresses that, “The acquisition of major equipment and weapons systems, shall, wherever feasible, provide arrangement for the production of lead items by the foreign manufacturer in the country of origin, and the subsequent production in country (Philippines) of the rest of the series under such schemes as transfer of technology; joint venture, or co-production.”
To add teeth to this declaration, the Republic Act 7917, amending Republic Act 7227, otherwise known as the Bases Conversion Act, allocates 35 percent of the proceeds of the sale of Military Camps, Bases, and other Real Estate Properties “to primarily finance the self-reliance and modernization programs of the AFP, . . . . and the modernization of the government arsenal.”
Recognizing the need to revitalize the SRDP Program and the opportunity that the AFP Modernization Program offers, the Department of National Defense has declared as one of its major thrusts for the next 5-10 years, the pump-priming of the Philippine Defense Industry, in cooperation with local and foreign industry partners. Further realizing that a sustained AFP Modernization Program is hinged on a robust SRDP Program and a responsive local defense industry, the Department reactivated the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Capability, Materiel, and Technology Development, J9 as one of the members of the Joint Staff of the AFP. The objective was to integrate and consolidate the strategic efforts towards modernizing the AFP and at attaining a Self-Reliant Defense Posture.
In as much as the successful implementation of the SRDP Program is essential to the sustainability of the AFP Modernization Program, the DND-AFP has embarked on a study for a comprehensive assessment of SRDP Program and the strategic environment in which it operates. Benchmarking studies were also being conducted to identify areas where the Philippine Industries can focus to address niches in the regional market. This provided the basis for the 20-year SRDP Strategic Plan.
An audit of the Research and Development Centers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines reveal that these units tasked to manage SRDP Projects had strong Organizational Motivation due to a strong and clear internal leadership structure that was able to provide a clear strategic path; however, lack of strategic guidance from higher echelons and the bureaucracy weaken the R&D Capability of the AFP. Limited funding continued to plague the RDCs resulting in inadequate infrastructure and technological resources for it to effectively undertake significant Research and Development activities. In the light of these concerns, the RDCs failed to strengthen their linkages with other R&D organizations, thereby negating opportunities for collaborative R&D efforts for defense.
Several assessments of the SRDP Program and its impact on the defense industry show that the defense industry that was developed two decades ago retained a considerable portion of its capabilities. However, progress in terms of materiel and manufacturing technology was rather slow. A study conducted by Col Sylim categorizes the Philippine Defense Industry as belonging to the Second Tier of the Supply Chain Pyramid.
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