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Cambodia - Military Doctrine

The framework for defense policy is defined in Chapter Four (Article 51-55) of the Cambodian Constitution. Article 53 stipulates that The Kingdom of Cambodia adopt a policy of permanent neutrality and non-alignment. Cambodia shall not invade any country, nor interfere in any other country's internal affairs, directly or indirectly. Cambodia shall not join in any military alliance or military pact that is incompatible with its policy of neutrality. Cambodia shall not permit any foreign military base on its territory and shall not have military bases abroad, except within the framework of a UN request. Cambodia reserves the right to receive foreign assistance by way of military equipment and training of its armed forces, and other assistance for self-defense, and to maintain public order and security within its territory. Article 54 states that the manufacturing, use and storage of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons are absolutely prohibited.

The Royal Governments political guidelines, declared by Samdech Prime Minister Hun Sen on 30 December 1998 placed the emphasis on building the RCAF to become an armed force that has full allegiance to the nation, respects the Constitution, is well disciplined, has good ethics and politeness, respects and loves the people and has enough capability to safeguard national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as maintaining and strengthening stability, security and social order. The RCAF is to be transformed into a professional armed force with appropriate size, having better pay and capability to defend the country, engaging in national development, and offering relief and rescuing those people suffering from disasters. Efforts should be made to reduce defense spending and to increase expenditure on other social affairs. Good control is to be maintained over weapons and ammunition by eliminating arms trade in the black markets, confiscating illegal weapons and destroying unneeded weapons and explosives.

The Royal Government's policy in the Defense White Paper 2000 (DWP2000) focuses on security and development throughout the Kingdom of Cambodia. Because the global security situation had changed considerably after September 2001, the Royal Government of Cambodia reviewed the defense policy in the DWP2000 to positively respond to the security situation. In the Defense Strategic Review (DSR), officially published in 2002, the policy of countering international terrorism was established and was included as one of the strategic objectives that are being implemented.

These objectives are set based on three main factors: the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Royal Government's Political agenda and assessments of threats to security of the nation, demanding the full contribution and commitment by the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF).

The defense force must absolutely be responsible for prevention and resistance against any external threat, must safeguard the territorial integrity of the nation, and must also contribute to ensuring stability, security, safety and social order.

To assist the Royal Government in the effort of restoring and rebuilding the nation's administrative, economic and social infrastructure, especially in response to the Royal Government's policy on poverty reduction, the RCAF has the obligation to contribute to this duty, using capabilities and resources it has such as constructing and repairing roads, building and fixing irrigation systems, demining and so forth.

When there are disasters such as floods, droughts or epidemics, the RCAF has the obligation to cooperate with all relevant authorities to rescue the people. Capability should be further developed to participate in international peace operations within the framework of United Nations requests. As initiated in these strategic objectives, a number of principles have been adopted for the RCAF for implementation. These include the defining of priorities for national defense, military strategy, the four roles of the RCAF, and a number of strategic initiatives to ensure peace, stability, social security and development of the nation.

Based on the assessment of all threats to the security of the Kingdom of Cambodia and in response to all strategic policies defined in both the DWP2000 and in the DSR 2002, a military strategy was prepared based on the principle of "Flexible and Controlled Response". This strategy is an appropriate stance that Cambodia, especially the RCAF, must adhere to given that the country has just emerged from war and while the RCAF is undergoing reform and capability development.

As already concluded in the DWP2000, there is no indication of external military threats to the Kingdom of Cambodia for the present time as well as for the short and medium term future. This conclusion is based on the favourable conditions along all borders around Cambodia. Although some problems continue to exist such as unclear demarcation of the border line, and the Montagnard ethnic minority migration, resolution with authorities and governments of neighbouring countries has been made patiently and diplomatically.

One of the important and vital national defense priorities is to safeguard the border of the Kingdom of Cambodia. While border disputes, threats from transnational criminals and international terrorism remain a concern, Cambodia needs to strengthen its border protection capability to maintain peace and stability with neighbouring countries and to ensure security for the entire nation. The capability of border protection forces must further be strengthened, especially the sustainable presence of forces at all strategically important points, expertise in preventing infiltration by international terrorism and transnational crime, mobility, communication, information collection, cooperation with other competent authorities, etc. Strengthening the presence of border protection forces does not mean confrontation; on the contrary, timely understanding and control of situations is an important element for a positive solution and confidence building in the region. In addition, regular contact at the working level with partners will increase confidence and facilitate better relationships.





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