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Cambodia Army - Modernization

As the Royal Government faced difficulties in improving the national economy, the procurement of new military equipment was not possible. Therefore, the primary approach to solve this problem is to regularly maintain current military equipment. The priority of national defense at this time is to focus on the protection of land borders and on strengthening of maritime security, which requires the permanent presence of military forces and capabilities to operate constantly. The Ministry of National Defense and the High Command, together with the Ministry of Economy and Finance, must jointly solve this problem and seek whatever means to immediately repair a number of major equipment. Following repair, continued maintenance of this equipment for constant operations must be undertaken.

The ability to be able to deliver a decisive blow, if required, is central to success on the battlefield. Similarly, armoured vehicles to provide protection in close quarter combat is important to troop survival and manoeuvre operations. These capabilities are not however, inexpensive. They are expensive to buy and maintain, and require extensive support. The first steps, once the national economic situation permits, weould be to enhance core training of light artillery and armoured vehicles. As the artillery and armour capability develops, it could be deployed as required to the military regions. The permanent deployment of such capabilities to each of the military regions, starting with those closest to the nations land borders, is a longer term objective.

More advanced combat capabilities will be developed gradually. The early focus on surveillance and patrolling skills will be followed by a core of light artillery and armored vehicles under the control of the High Command Headquarters. More significant strengthening of these capabilities if required and their permanent training in the military regions will only be considered when the national economy is much stronger.

Force mobility remains a major problem for the RCAF. Land movement is made difficult by the lack of national road infrastructure, the mountainous terrain to the south-west and the nations river system in the centre and to the east. Off the coastline lie many small islands. During the rainy season, many roads and tracks become unusable. Current military transport capabilities are limited. The majority of the military fleet of trucks is aging and unreliable. Maintenance difficulties, brought about by a lack of repair facilities and spare parts, have grounded aircraft and helicopters. The Armys mechanised capability has also become eroded.

These problems cannot be overcome quickly. The first priority under the Defense White Paper 2000 was to equip each of the military regions and the strategic reinforcement force with a small group of vehicles able to deploy troops and materials on operations and for reinforcement in response to specific incidents and natural disasters. These vehicles should be normal civilian vehicles to contain costs and minimise support requirements.

Creative approaches and improvisation are possible in some areas for military materials, especially in the field of transport, mobility, communication, etc. Utilising civil materials for military purposes would be favourable to procurement, repair and maintenance and acquisition of spare parts. In addition, the utilisation would be easy and repair could be made available at military workshops and at various facilities almost everywhere. Instead of using military communication equipment, civil communication radio, telephone, facsimile, and email would be an optimum alternative for sending information. The possibility of maintaining materials by contracting with a private company should also be taken into consideration. The outsourcing of maintenance to civilian contractors could be also one option.

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Page last modified: 28-05-2012 13:27:10 ZULU