Thursday, September 27, 2018

Defense issues, especially the topics usually being discussed here, covers about militaristic approaches on what it means to protect the nation from its perceived enemies, both domestic and foreign. However, national defense covers more than just military strategies and doctrine where Human Security and Community Development also plays the factor that defines the country in all degrees which include national security.

THE QUESTION
A soldier being with the kids. Photo Source.
This question comes from various discussions on Community Development where, while being civilian in nature, may influence about the country and its conditions which in any way intertwine with military and defense-related issues.

The question is as follows: 

"The Philippines is lagging behind from the rest of the ASEAN countries in terms of development politically, economically and socio-culturally. There are many factors influencing development, and many models and paradigms on how to achieve political and economic stability and progress. One of the paradigms is the model of Community Development in providing alternatives for people's empowerment and enabling environment. The concept of Community Development is wholistic in its approach and methodology and process.

In the Philippine context, why and how Community Development as a paradigm vital in achieving comprehensive integrated development and for human security?"

THE ANSWER
Economics and Infrastructure play hand in hand with human and national security.
To answer this question, let us understand the factors that define a society. Such factors include culture, demographics, education, financial status and government decisions that influence it. As far as it is concerned, areas of improvement are needed in order to improve as a country wherein it includes the attitude prevailing in the society with the stated factors playing an influence in each citizen's lives. Such factors though are what defines the makings of a society which may help propel the country in terms of both economic and social development as well as obtaining human security in the process. Community Development as a paradigm, in this case, is deemed vital to such progress given that its attributes, intentions and case study matters regarding about it provides the essential so as what areas of improvement is needed for a country like the Philippines to propel at par or better than its ASEAN peers. These may include but not limited to: labor, social services, community peace, and security, skill-based education, information awareness and other humanistic policies or programs centered for the betterment of the citizenry which in turn improves the country altogether, benefiting each and every person in a community. Moreover, factors such as infrastructure projects, foreign investments, better trade deals and government policies on the economy ranging from remittances of Overseas Filipino Workers to encouraging the development of industrial sectors also influence Community Development in a way that it is done in an indirect manner wherein the citizenry benefits from utilizing infrastructures built such as highways for better flow of goods or providing career development for fresh professionals in business process outsourcing jobs. Better bureaucratic measures also are a plus for community development with shorter processing time for pertinent documents and accountability being the essential ones especially on government transactions of any degree whether it is a business or an individual. If these things are to be taken on a higher level, especially on the present Philippine context where several areas needs special concern like poverty and accountability concerns in essential public positions such as being in the government, this will pave way for the country to catch up in economic, political and social development with the people aware of the laws implemented and diligently contributing to the eventual growth of the nation as a whole. No doubt, countries like Singapore is being emulated due to its reputation ranging from governance to the way economics is being done where it can be attributed to its citizenry who help it progress in its state today. The same applies to countries in the Asia-Pacific region which also gets progressing like South Korea, Japan and of course, the rising economic power of the People's Republic of China. From there, these countries aforementioned as well as the "hows" provides the insight so as to the actions the Philippines may take for the betterment of the country and its citizenry, enhancing its Community Development that further defines the integrity and sovereignty of the nation through the security of its people.

TO SUM IT UP...
Every citizen, uniformed or not, is essential to the country's nation-building
and community development. 
Photo source.
Military and defense issues intertwine with other areas such as the ones mentioned above with the main emphasis more on Community Development and the ways to enhance the capacity of a nation to sustain its own population as well as managing things in a way that it also helps push the country in its initiative to have a better citizenry, infrastructure and economy with national security also playing its own hand.

So, it is of no surprise that plans are being set in place prior to being materialized and eventually, making projects and programs realized from these steps of planning in place. So, for a better-armed military requires a nice, performing economy and a citizenry getting all the skills and knowledge for nation-building. Slowly but surely, these are slowly being put in place where military programs such as the Offshore Patrol Vessels now obtain the option of being built in the country, by the citizens, for the nation's very own security. Step-by-step, things are getting in its respective place as time passes by, with developments being made in the community, in the country, and especially in the family.

To end this short write-up, let us take note once again that military and defense issues aren't limited to weapons, facilities, and personnel alone. It is more on how the citizenry performs as a nation, united together in making the country better and worth living in a way that the next generation will benefit from the sacrifices of today. A nice short-term thinking maybe a nice band-aid solution of the present, but a long-term way of thinking and planning things is better for the country's development, especially with military and defense matters being in the picture.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

A strong air force is the one that can do its mandate with necessary tools in order to make their things achievable. This ranges from airlift through the use of utility helicopters and fixed-wing cargo aircraft to combat-oriented aircraft that caters close air support mechanism through the use of gunships and aircraft that is designed for such purposes. And there is also air defense identification zone implementer where with the use of multirole fighter jets for both air superiority and support is there in order to have the skies safe against any potential adversary infiltrating in the airspace.

INTRODUCTION
The aspiring jet for the Air Force aside from the JAS-39 Gripen.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines is now on the shopping spree where a number of projects are on the process of being materialized in order to attain the capabilities needed for a better military which, in having tools means getting to have its mandate done by protecting the national territory, waters and airspace against all potential enemies of the state, both inside and outside, from putting harm into the citizenry.

The Article II Section 3 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution defines much about the role of the Armed Forces as being the protector of the people and the state as well as to keep the integrity and the sovereignty of the country and its national territory. By doing so, it needs to get its role more efficient and effective where along the process, a variable set of steps in accordance with the DOTMLPF analysis will be made. And by that also means gathering more resources for training, doctrine formulation, facilities, recruitment and most of all military purchases so that a minimum credible defense posture is to attain. In the case of the Philippine Air Force (PAF), this means having a Flight Plan with the aims of having more cargo aircraft, close air support assets, and of course, the most essential of all with regards to their role - the primary air interdiction assets such as radars and Multirole Fighter Jets or MRFs. This is part of the process in which the Air Force is set to implement the Philippine Air Defense Identification zone or PADIZ in which this will be enhanced from Area Readiness 4 which covers most of the northern part of the country up to the Area Readiness 1 which it will cover the country as a whole. This implementation of safeguarding the Philippine airspace makes the purchase of Multirole Fighters very essential given that obtaining it will help enhance the mechanism needed for protecting the airspace thoroughly.

Talking about MRFs, this asset is primarily the main Horizon 2 project for PAF where it will be a tough run among two primary competitor such as the SAAB JAS-39 Gripen and of course, the primary topic for this article which is the Lockheed Martin F-16s in which they will offer the latest Block 70/72 version. Both of which will define the capabilities of what a future Philippine Air Force may bring to the skies.

THE NEWS THE TEMPORARY WRATH
F-16 is a future-proof aircraft which is still in production at present.
File Source.
While we're at it, the deal with regards to the F-16 multirole fighter jets to the Philippines caught attention as it became the main topic especially when it was talked about by the commander in chief of the Armed Forces -- President Rodrigo Duterte.

The deal made by the United States for the Philippine military especially with regards to F-16s as well as attack helicopters received an ire from the President, saying that this is "useless" given that the country doesn't have any enemies as of the moment as well as this showing the discontent by the administration on what is so-called "frustrations on previous deals" especially on rifles which are supposed to supply the Philippine National Police on its effort against illegal drugs. Hence, the President himself prefers light Close Air Support Aircraft and helicopters intended for counter-insurgency operations.

From there alone, one may say that the Multirole Fighter Jet program is as good as gone. But that isn't always the case here. Given that the Horizon 2 budgeting of around Php 300 Billion was already approved where it includes the ones intended for purchasing dedicated Multirole Fighters, this is an assurance that the program is still a go unless a written memo overrides it. Meanwhile, the Secretary of Defense also assures that the project will not retracted to Horizon 3 where the deal is for the senior officers at PAF to measure and determine with the help of the people in their Technical Working Group. The said program, presently on the planning stage, is scheduled on the latter part of the Horizon 2 which in this case, will be somewhere between 2020 and 2022 given that this Horizon obtains 5 years for the Armed Forces to modernize which started earlier this year.

So, the chance given here is still up for grabs that a supplier like Lockheed Martin, SAAB or even the Russian Aircraft Corporation - Mikoyan/Sukhoi may take. With them presenting their deals with sweeteners which will be discussed also in this article, may get this big-ticket acquisition project of the Philippine Air Force as interesting as it can be.

To know more about this candidate for the Multirole Fighter Jet program, let us understand with regards to the manufacturer, the development of the aircraft, and its reputable service across a number of air forces which in itself define its reliability especially on the functionalities it is designed for.

Pitz Defense Analysis Note: The Philippine Air Force and the Defense Department may change the outputs of the Multirole fighter jet program or may have a different set of results on the set that at present, this project is still on the "evaluation" stage with the number or nature of the participating suppliers may change. Hence, this article reflects the defense community's viewpoints that gives relevance which, like the SAAB Gripen before, presently gives the Lockheed Martin F-16 being the best possible contender in the deal. This, in any connection, was not sponsored for and by the said US-based Company.

ABOUT THE COMPANIES THAT DEVELOPED AND IMPROVED THE F-16 FIGHTER JET
In the 1990s, Lockheed Martin offered their F-16s for PAF use.
But this was cancelled after the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis.
Credits to the Owner of this photo.
This airspace industry is relatively known across the world as being one of the main suppliers for the U.S. Armed Forces in its needs as them being a nation stands on their national interest and principles where the company's products are some of the most sophisticated and most capable in their arsenal.

Their website: https://www.lockheedmartin.com/

Returning way back through history, Lockheed Martin became what it is today as two companies, Lockheed Corporation and Martin Marrieta merged way back in 1994 with the former specialized on aircraft and aerospace development. Prior to the merger, Lockheed Corporation already participated in aircraft manufacturing since its foundation in 1926 on the ideals set by one of its founders, the industrialist Allan Loughead. Throughout the Second World War, the company produced a couple of aircraft such as the P-38 Lightning which was sought action in various theaters the United States Armed Forced participated in an effort to flush out the fascist threat in the world.

After the war, the company produces more of its airspace products in which several of those are still in service at present. One of those things is the Lockheed C-130 Cargo aircraft that the Philippine Air Force obtained as part of its airlift fleet with 5 units present in its arsenal and one of such unit being modified as a Maritime Patrol Aircraft. Both of its role as a cargo lifting platform as well as a surveillance one, the Air Force may opt for additional unit aircraft of such given its multirole ability which goes to show the reliability of Lockheed's product such as this one for use ranging from military to civilian types such as the C-5 Galaxy aircraft, SR-72 Blackbird, L-1011 jet airliner and L-649 Constallation aircraft. 

Now, for the twist of this historical storyline about the companies that produce F-16: While Lockheed Martin presently is the one that produces the aircraft, the development is credited to another company that is still in the business of selling military hardware. This refers to the original designer and developer of the aircraft, General Dynamics Corporation

(Website: http://www.gd.com)

To take note, General Dynamics is notable of building military hardware ranging from warships like the Oliver Hazard Perry class Frigates and Arleigh Burke-class Destroyers (Built by General Dynamics Bath Iron Works) to Land-based combat systems such as the M--1 Abrams tank and Stryker Armored Combat Vehicle. Prior to the Lockheed-Martin merger in 1995, General Dynamics sold its aeronautics business two years earlier due to a slowdown on F-16 orders at that time which may risk for its production line to close. From there alone, General Dynamics oversees the development of the aircraft from the prototype YF-16 to an earlier version of F-16 which is the A/B variant whereas the time goes by through the transfer of operations to Lockheed Martin up to present, this aircraft is still evolving up to the present sophistication it obtains with its present iteration, the F-16 V variant (Block 70/72) where it shares attributes with the F-35 which is also produced by the same company. The evolution of the F-16 from its inception until the present day resulted of it having different versions of aircraft as further development and upgrades were integrated to make it up to date. Some of the iterations include the earlier F-16 Block A/B version, F-16 C/D Block 25 and Block 30/32 versions, Block 40/42, Block 50/52, Block 60/61 and definitely the latest Block 70/72 version or the F-16V. More details about the versions can be seen in this website dedicated for F-16s or to this AirVector website here.

On the present news as of this posting, the F-16 is set to be produced to India from the United States through a partnership with a local Indian aerospace company Tata Advanced Systems Limited shall it be selected by the Indian Air Force (IAF) for its own Modernization/Capabilities enhancement program. From there, the production line for the latest F-16Vs will be transferred from the United States to India where, if the Philippine Multirole Fighter jet bid is to be bagged by Lockheed Martin after the transfer, it will mean that the country will the one among the others that will receive the jets which will be proudly made in India if the program proceeds.

Both Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics profit from this sophisticated aircraft which is used by a number of Air Forces across the world with the recent orders coming from Bahrain and Slovakia. The Philippine Air Force, in this case, is on its way to having one if they choose the F-16 for its multirole fighter role program. Talking about F-16 offers, the Philippines was already offered by the United States even before this Horizon 2-related topic even take place.

THE PREVIOUS OFFERS
The desire of having multirole fighters such as F-16 means
a lot for the country's protection of its Air Defense
Identification Zone. 
Courtesy to Lima Mike Romeo, DRP.
At present, the Philippine Air Force recently offered by the United States these F-16s that is the latest, newly-built one on the market which is the F-16V (Viper) Block 70/72. This may go with the option of U.S. Foreign Military Financing or FMF in which is a kind of loan or grant which may help the Philippines lessen on its burden on capital outlay if this is to be implemented.

Just to take note once again people, the Philippine Air Force obtains funds under the Horizon 2 with the contract price of Php61,200,000,000.00, calling for 12 units of Multirole fighters which at local context, is equated to one (1) squadron. If FMF is to be implemented in the process, this allocated fund may get to other projects such as the attack helicopter program or to fund an additional squadron of MRFs which makes the Air Force more capable. Such decision based on the scenario is for the ranking officers of the Air Force and its Technical Working Group to determine.

Throughout the history, the Philippine Air Force was already offered these F-16s by the United States since the first AFP Modernization through thorugh the original R.A. 7898 took place in the 1990s. It was worth taken note that the United States offered those embargoed F-16 A/Bs which were intended to Pakistan in which the Philippines at that time prefers the then-latest Block C/D versions. The original MRF program of the 1990s offered a wide range of multirole fighter jets ranging from MiG-29s to F-18s as well as Israeli KFIRs and JAS-29 Gripen. However, the Armed Forces at that time simply ended up obtaining F-5 jets in service at that time, with additional units purchased for additional capability and spare parts where, they were decommissioned altogether in 2005, rendering a step back to the capabilities of the Philippine Air Force with AS-211 filling the role for air interdiction.

The offers for F-16 Fighter jets went into topic once again way back year 2010/2011 when the then-President Noynoy Aquino assumes the post as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. The request goes in a form that 12 used surplus F-16 C/D variant shall be used in the light of Chinese hegemony over the region as they are about to built their enhanced outposts on their artificial islands that time. However, priorities goes to the Lead-in Fighter Trainers (LIFT) aircraft in which it presently obtained by FA-50PH made by KAI or Korean Aerospace Industries which is a brand new fighter trainer aircraft with attributes shared with F-16s. Such aircraft was developed jointly by KAI and Lockheed Martin, which makes the FA-50s an ideal platform or stepping stone especially if the F-16 Viper Fighter Jets are considered wherein both pilots and mechanics may have a smooth transition as far as learning about aircraft operations and maintenance is concerned.

Now that Horizon 2 comes at hand, and the Philippine Air Force procurement plans include Multirole fighters in its pipeline, the offer is up again especially on the latest offer made by the United States which, as aforementioned here, was considered as useless especially on counter-insurgency operations. Perhaps, all of the decisions will be for the ranking officers in the Air Force to make, especially for the Technical Working Group to determine. At present, this is the preferred aircraft given its capabilities against its contender the SAAB Gripen C/D jet. Such measurement was proven by Slovakia in their own acquisition program that calls on replacing their older MiG-29 jets from Russia. 

Shall the United States throw an enticing offer such as Foreign Military Financing for these jets (which is on their own discretion) or the Air Force awarded the contract to Lockheed Martin for these aircraft after the bidding, perhaps the country, along with Slovakia will finally join the group of countries and their air forces obtaining such aircraft where, maintenance and spare parts will not be much of a concern given that there are many sources to gather the necessities and to keep these aircraft operational in line to the mandate to protect the Philippine Airspace.

WHAT IS TO BE SEEN
An F-16 Production Line at a Lockheed Martin Factory.
At this period of time with the Philippine Government being in a full shopping mode on different military platforms for internal and external defense, things are getting interesting given that the Horizon 2 Phase of the AFP Modernization Program provides a larger budget than its predecessor, with big ticket projects in mind such as attack helicopters, corvettes, light tanks and multirole fighter jets.

On this program, and with the recent reports provided, there is some bittersweet assessment in a way that the adminstration seems to reject it on one hand while things about its capabilities it bring to the Philippine Air Force are on the other. By that manner, perhaps the best thing that may come in this manner is to let the main stakeholders understand its importance, as well as to evaluate and assess properly with regards to its effectiveness and efficiency where it affects the overall impact to the capability of the Air Force especially with regards to air interdiction or protecting the Philippine Air Defense Identification Zone wherein it is being improved as part of the Flight Plan initiative where 100% of the country's airspace will be covered up with this air defense mechanism in which the Multirole Fighters like the F-16 play a key role. Not only that, since its role does not limit on air interceptions alone, these jets can also complement those aircraft intended for close air support operations in which the government aspires to have that includes OV-10s and the incoming A-29 Super Tucanos which will be delivered later on. On the current disagreements made by the present administration, perhaps this plans to talk with President Trump may help given that the Defense Department and the Armed Forces is keen to get the tools they need in accordance with western standards for the sake of interoperability and maintenance in the case of a number of US-based weapons the Philippines obtained given that spare parts hulk are essential where the US as well as other countries obtains these parts in order to keep platforms operational.

With the things slowly putting in the place, the only thing that is to have is to wait for things up and to stay updated in which things are getting interesting where dreams and aspirations may get on hand if these things proceed. It is only up for both the supplier and the end user to make these things a reality where it is affirmed with the aircraft flying in the country, carrying the banner proudly that it belongs to the Philippines especially to its armed forces.

See related: 
- Horizon 2 and the Budget Obstacle
- The SAAB Gripen and the Marketing Over Philippine MRF Program
- The Philippine Multirole Fighter Jet Procurement Program

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Modernising an organization on a large scale is something that requires changes in setup, hierarchical structure and guidelines wherein things from top to bottom can accommodate the changes that are taking place. As for the AFP Modernization Program taking place at present, most of the reports usually deals with purchasing the military assets which in its way shows the physical changes that provide the image that the whole Armed Forces is set to be capable enough for a minimum deterrence. Well, there are more things to consider beyond the scope of military purchases and brand new assets.

OVERVIEW
From Doctrine to Facilities, each and every component is essential
for an Armed Forces to keep upholding its mandate to protect
the country and the constitution. Photo from PTV News.
It is taken note that the AFP Modernization Program as of this posting is now in Horizon 2 and is on the roll. Most discussions in the local defense community usually concern on either military purchases or current events that are taking place in the country which is in relevance to defense and security-related issues. While the latter is the usual thing that comes in main news outlets, the former is something that usually discussed with purchasing military assets means additional capabilities to the armed forces.

However, procurement of this various weaponry and support assets isn't as easy as purchasing a shirt from a store or ordering a scale model of, say, a jet fighter in an online market. At first sight, the procurement process is stringent given that the negotiations are pertaining to millions, if not billions of pesos of projects in the hopes that the Philippines is capable to provide a minimum credible defense for itself where the funding allocated finds its worth on protecting the lives of innocent citizens on their normal lives as well as for the nation's sovereignty. In planning on military purchases in this case however, does not rely on funding alone. There are many considerations that needs to look upon and assess where, for military purchases, the main leaderships of each branches together with its respective Technical Working Group (TWG) are creating the plans that guarantees the smoothness of operations as Modernization is on the process with the aim of doing its mandate in the most efficient and effective way available, with proper protocols, guidelines and procedures in place.

Now, one may ask: "How does the high ranks in the armed forces assess themselves in terms to their mandate and the capabilities they have to deliver it?" The usual answer that may come out in this manner is that SWOT Analysis may apply to the military since just like any other organization, it points out its Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. This analysis however, only applies on the organization in general and does not tackle technicalities in terms of the capabilities of the armed forces. This is where DOTMLPF analysis comes in. At first glance, a civilian with little or no military background may find the acronym difficult to understand. Just for us to know, DOTMLPF is essential for military operations where from its analysis comes the way as to how the Armed Forces shall operate and conduct its mandate.

DEFINING "DOTMLPF"
Operating the aircraft and showcase its firepower is one thing.
Maintaining it and providing spare parts is another.
Photo credits to its owner.
The acronym "DOTMLPF" folks refers to these areas that the military considers when it enhances its capabilities. These are: Doctrine, Organization, Training, Materiel, Leadership and education, Personnel, and Facilities. In each and every way, these areas are essential where it defines the procedures that each and every component in the military observes ranging from organizational chain of commands to proper operations and maintenance of essential military assets.

This acronym was coined by the United States Department of Defense in its Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System (JCIDS) Manual and was cited in the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Instruction (CJCSI) 3170.01I in which the United States Armed Forces uses these measurements for its Capabilities-Based Assessments that identifies capability gap that a military experiences in conflict or wartime period. From there, the inefficiencies are to be addressed so that the organizational mandate will be further carried by its components which safeguards its duties and responsibilities further where in it ensures the safety of the citizenry and the welfare of national sovereignty. In the local Philippine Setting, this capabilties-based analysis and approach is something that the higher ranks do consider where, through the years, the capability gaps of the Armed Forces of the Philippines can be seen clearly throughout history such as the Chinese hegemony in the West Philippine Sea, Zamboanga Siege, Marawi Conflict and various skirmishes against local Communist and Moro insurgents as well as on addressing natural disasters. The Republic Act. 10349, also known as the Revised AFP Modernization Program, is set to address these insufficiencies in the hopes that capability gaps on national defense and security matters in general will be closed with minimum credible defense in mind.

Now that we understand the general definition of the DOTMLPF analysis, let us go further in-depth for us to understand deeper so as its importance to an Armed Forces to have especially in its warfighting capabilities, given the fact that capability enhancement is definitely beyond just buying military assets that packs firepower. 

Doctrine

The word "doctrine" according to this online definition obtained from Merriam-Webster Dictionary, are defined as follows:
1. archaic : teaching, instruction 
2. a : something that is taught 
b : a principle or position or the body of principles in a branch of knowledge or system of belief : dogma Catholic doctrine
c law : a principle of law established through past decisions 
d : a statement of fundamental government policy especially in international relations the Truman Doctrine 
e : a military principle or set of strategies
In the case for this discussion matter, the nearest definition we can get is at letter E where in it embodies the principle of the military coming from its mandate as stipulated in the constitution and the country's laws as well as set of strategies that the military plans and enhances on the premise of the assessment in national territory, the complexities of threats in both internal and external areas, present capabilities and the way to improve it further, and so on. This also factors with the compatibility and interoperability with key alliances where these forces go together hand in hand. Doctrines by nature also refer on the military principle on the use of specific equipment in its inventory where sets of rules and procedures are needed to follow to ensure and safeguard that things are in order in terms of engagement, protocols and use.

This definitely the military guide on which direction will it go in terms of improving its capabilities in terms of manpower, materiel, organization and other areas specified within the DOTMLPF acronym where it can address the threats and can defend the nation accordingly to the principles that embodies the Armed Forces.

Organization

Organization in Armed Forces terms is the thing that structures the hierarchy within its ranks where Chain of Command in many sense is definitely essential in its own worth. Add also that the Organization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines consist of three branches such as the Air Force, Army and Navy with the latter still having its own branch that is the Marine Corps. This military organization in its sense is under the Department of National Defense where in turn is under the Executive Branch of the Philippine Government with the President as the Commander in Chief and the Secretary of Defense overlooking the Armed Forces. Coming from the AFP Website, here is how the Philippine Military structured organizationally.
The Organizational Structure.
With the AFP Modernization improving the capabilities of the military, this comes the changes in organizational structure of the armed forces where there is a specific division within either of the three branches that specializes on that kind of capability where it further diversifies the roles of assigned personnel in this organization that generally focuses on defense. In this way, organization in DOTMLPF analysis is something that organizes the Armed Forces with different roles playing in the battlefield. Like, an air force having different air divisions with one for airlift, another for air interdiction and one more for close air support or an Army having a number of battalions assigned across the country plus a number of task force specialized on aiming or achieving the purpose of the assignment.

This approach definitely affects the smooth operations of the organization with mechanisms and specialties in place are performing effectively and efficiently which is definitely applicable to all managerial-type organizations whether it may be in government or not, uniformed or civilian.

Training

From the word alone, this is considered one of the essentials of the DOTMLPF chain where an aspirant, a reservist or a cadet will or may undertake stress tests and familiarization programs where it enhances skills and capabilities needed in a uniformed personnel to carry such tasks. Prior to the purchase of a sophisticated weaponry especially when it is a new capability for the armed forces to have, training is a prerequisite for military personnel so as to have the know-how with regards to the operational use of the asset as well as maintaining it. 

In every military asset purchased comes the importance of this attribute where the capabilities of such equipment such as a warship or a tank are used in its very potential, putting it into the right hands. Talking about right hands, that means troops in the battlefield obtaining the skill to fight that inflicts more damage on the enemy while taking less on their own while technicians assigned to repair materiel and maintaining them are performing their skills at best so as for weaponry to perform as designed as well as lengthening its useful life within its active service. Add also that fighting in the war zone or assigned field requires physical strength and endurance as well as psychologically stable where each military objective will be carried accordingly with minimum fatigue whenever possible. Just to take note, recent conflicts that the Armed Forces of the Philippines undertake especially the ones that take place in Mindanao provides a benchmark in a way that it helps military personnel train further where at times, it comes with a military exercise between the country and its ally in order to improve skills further, aside from interoperability and exchange of knowledges it provided.

From these tough requirements, it is of no surprise so as why training is as important as the rest of the areas in the DOTMLPF analysis given that military skills, coupled also with discipline instilled which is necessary in combat, is something that defines victory from defeat, in each on its own worth.

Materiel

This is the portion that is being usually talked about across defense platforms including this one. Materiel in military terms really talks about assets, weaponry and tools that provide the firepower and support that puts a specific armed forces in an advantage. 

Usually, as the first three attributes, the doctrine, organization and training are in place, it comes a time that the key decision makers will opt for negotiations unto the perspective suppliers of materiel (aerospace industries, weapon-making companies, etc) either in a form of a direct Government-to-Government (G2G) deal or bidding process where each and every arsenal offered will be assessed, measured, and checked whether it fits the criteria that the armed forces looked for a specific weaponry that serves as an advantage with regards on working on its mandate. In doing assessments and measurements, the procurement team or a Technical Working Group determines the offer of various suppliers with regards to the package that pertains to a project. Packages in this case varies from after-support to familiarization training on maintenance and operations, spare parts hulk/logistics support, features that may or may not included in the platform, and the most important, its capability to do its necessary operations where it is essential for the mandate instilled in the Armed Forces.

Hence, choosing military materiel or asset/weaponry for the armed forces to obtain is vital for the effectiveness of the mandate instilled by each and every military personnel using it, where both efficiency and effectiveness matters with results that counts rather than basing from sheer looks and perceptions of its capabilities and firepower.

Leadership and Education
Leadership is instilled in various ways. One is thru advanced ROTC
Programs.
Photo Source.
Having an effective armed forces comes with an effective manager or leadership that will overlook the organizational operations and activities in line to the rules, regulations, doctrine and principles that the military personnel maintains.

Let us take note that the core values of the Armed Forces of the Philippines are centered in these said principles: Honor, Patriotism and DutyThe leadership of the Armed Forces emphasise these principles that goes in line to the duties, responsibilities and the mandate of the AFP as a whole which is to protect the nation and the Filipino people against the enemies of the state. Such role is written in the Article II Section 3 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution. The organization is lead by the Commander-in-Chief which is the President of the Republic followed by the Defense Secretary and the Joint Chief of Staff representing the military. To add more note in this matter, the Army, Air Force and Navy in their plans such as the Transformation Roadmap, Flight Plan and Sail Plan, respectively includes the enhancement of the organization where leadership efficiency and effectiveness is also part of the improvements alongside military asset procurement and facility building where a proper leadership and education may set an example and having the necessary will to lead and direct the whole organization into a more capable and more effective one, supporting the people in the mandate of national defense.

From there, it is from assessments that determine whether leadership or educational restructuring may place where, the primary rationale or objective in doing so is part of setting goals in both short term and long terms of time, addressing shortcomings and obstacles where key, ideal people will be the ones that will resolve these things in the principle of a modernized and functioning organization like the Armed Forces.

Personnel

Operating a highly-sophisticated military asset will be nothing more than a static display if not for the military personnel that is assigned to operate them. For the ground troops that are battle-ready with vest on their body, helmets on their mind, rifle in their hands and boots on the ground with full battle dress uniform, having some hands-on in combat is as helpful as the support assets where, going hand-in-hand determines the victory at hand.

In this manner, with the increase of the number of military platforms also comes the number of recruitments and job vacancies within the Armed Forces where many in the citizenry is interested to join. Being in such organization, just like any others is a privilege where with sacrifice and determination where an individual, being part of a cause of protecting the country and its citizens is heartwarming on its own worth. From there, each personnel on various skills and areas focused will be assigned in each area wherein it comes with training, orientation and classroom learning where through the process, helps these individuals the fitness, discipline and skills needed to operate in their respective assignments. From there, we can see a properly, fully-functioning Armed Forces where, just like any organization, are operated by various individuals that are up on doing their duties and responsibilities with the usual aim of getting things done, accordingly and properly. Pools for manpower for Armed Forces use comes from a number of sources such as being a graduate of Philippine Military Academy (PMA), being a draftee in any of the services applied within the Armed Forces (a usual AFPSAT exam passer and eligible) or through being active reservists where, its roots came from ROTC with the inspiration to join either coming from there or from the High School Citizen Army Training or C.A.T.

Hence, with the financial benefits and the will of protecting the nation is in the minds of the draftees that joined the Armed Forces, it might as well be nice for their morale to be kept boosted wherein the enhancement of other areas in the DOTMLPF mix may provide the necessities in order to keep motivations on defending the country and its integrity in line.

Facilities
Dry docks such as this one helps warships such as BRP Gregorio Del Pilar
in a way that routine maintenance is needed to keep it seaworthy.
To complete the abbreviation in the DOTMLPF analysis in determining the ideal organizational functions of the AFP, this area of consideration is definitely essential especially with regards to shelter troops on duty, storing ammunition and equipment, depots for conducting maintenance and other essentials in which it will help retain the morale of each military personnel as well as lengthening the useful life of each and every military asset that are in service.

In the flow of logical knowledge with regards to this matter, it is usually ideal that when a military asset is being purchased (materiel) for its use for capability enhancement, there shall be anticipation in which alongside training with respective personnel that is soon to be assigned on these new platforms, feasibility studies on the construction of facilities are usually done in the process so as the assurance that things are in place with the premise that there shall be no problems in the near future so as to the dedicated area needed to keep things operational and combat-worthy. Should these things consider, as well as the spare parts and the materiel itself, makes a procurement project much more expensive than intended given that every aspect from building storage and mechanical services facilities to purchase parts hulk and stockpiling it comes with its respective cost ranging from shipping to manpower and purchase of construction materials. Nevertheless, after these costs incurred, things will definitely worth it that guarantees care for military equipment and weaponry obtained as well as it ensures its service life to be lengthened a bit until a more sophisticated one takes its place.

Just like any other things, a shelter or facilities in this case is a necessarily part of the DOTMLPF analysis chain in the sense that both personnel and materiel are stored in order as well as providing the services needed especially in maintaining military assets that will keep it operational and active in case of a conflict. From there, it might as well be a considerable note that it is worthy to see these platforms functional and doing its job, rather than spending more time mooring at the port, in military garage or as hangar queens.

SUMMARY - ON ITS IMPORTANCE

As the in-depth details of DOTMLPF unravels, those points provided the insights with regards to the areas that an Armed Forces considers in connection to its organizational functions and the ways it manages its personnel and equipment which are both essential in securing the country and its national interests.

To sum it up, this analysis is very essential to the functions of the Armed Forces in its entirety where, this determines the roles of each asset and personnel in the military in the sense that units are in their respective assignments where they can carry out their duties and responsibilities in accordance to what the DOTMLPF analysis is provided. This means that littoral vessels, offshore patrol and combat forces have their respective capabilities, duties and assignments where they are specifically designed for a particular threat, a way that an organ like Liver or Lungs functions specifically within a Human Body or an Animal. Add to that also that an acquisition program needs to have considerations such as this where, an absence in one of this areas may definitely affect the capabilities of the Armed Forces in general as well as their mandate given that the way they deliver it may get hampered.

So, the next time that military procurement planning and reports are coming into place, take to consider these things - from doctrine to facilities in a sense that assessment on its feasibility are determined where, if such knowledge comes into mind, may be helpful on exchanging ideas in a way that each and everyone gets further understanding and knowledge with regards to dealing with military and defense-related issues.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

The Department of National Defense through its Secretary discloses through reports the desire of the Philippine Navy to obtain ships that comes where, the process about the program isn't getting traction given that the group assigned is still doing its job. This calls to re-composition of the fleet to obtain newer hulls which it will further enhance the patrol capabilities than the ones available at present of the fleet as part of its Sail Plan.

IN THE HEADLINES
Cape-class patrol vessel of the Australian Border Force. From Austal Website.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines and its Modernization Drive is now on the Second Horizon in which a number of projects are either being planned or on the process of materialization. One of those things belongs to the Philippine Navy in which it desires to obtain a platform capable enough to be a deterrent such as submarines and vessels that will replace a portion of old, World War 2-era vessels such as the Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) in which its program calls for atleast six (6) units.

Now, such plans for Offshore Patrol Vessels recently became more known in mainstream media as Secretary of National Defense Mr. Delfin Lorenzana surprisingly discloses that the Philippine Navy will acquire such number of OPVs, as he said, from an Australian-based shipbuilding company Austal in which it obtains a shipbuilding facility in Balamban, Cebu City. From that point of view alone, this announcement a first comes with both enthusiasm and doubt in the sense that while this may mean more pride for the Filipino workers of the shipyard where they will built OPVs for the country and its national interest, it may also mean that the thoughts of the Technical Working Group of the Navy at that moment was seen to get set aside in which it may get problematic unless resolved. Nevertheless, the desire of the Defense Department to have this project on the roll is still a good thing considering that this is one of the plans that the naval force is ought to prioritise so as this will define the future patrol capabilities of the Naval fleet. And with the announcement with regards to the deal, things remain to be seen given that the works made by the Technical Working Group about it is still on-going, all in which they still assess supplier proposals as well as determining the specifications in which they sees fit for the Navy to have in its Offshore Patrol Vessel Program.

With the hype such announcement brought in the defense community, it is of no doubt that the interest with regards to the company itself, its products and other details will be increased in the sense that these things may complement the needs of the Naval fleet if it proceeds, as it will get composed of newer hulls as the time passes by.

THE COMPANY
From the producers of U.S. Independence-class LCS
(In partnership with General Dynamics).
Photo Source.
See website: https://www.austal.com/

On its website, Austal describes itself as an Australian-based shipbuilder, defense contactor and a partner of choice with regards to maritime technology. Given its Global Footprint, it's serve its product to a wide range of customers which are both military and civilian in nature. It's main base is in Henderson, Western Australia with shipyards situated in Mobile, Alabama USA and Balamban, Cebu City Philippines. Both the Australian and U.S. shipyards are specialized on defense-related vessels while civilian-ones are presently produced in the Philippine Queen City of the South (ref).

The shipbuilding company is notable with regards of the vessels it produced where several of it comes as revolutionary with regards to the design. Such ships definitely includes the U.S. Independence-class Littoral Combat Ships where it was produced with the partnership of the U.S. shipbuilding company General Dynamics. It also produced a number of products in which it used aluminium as its primary material in which they consider as "high performance" where it is considered their expertise in terms of shipbuilding and construction. With regards to the Philippine Navy Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) Program, the shipbuilding company submits its tender along with its competitors which a bit provides some significance to the statements made by the National Defense Secretary. This shows that the Australian shipbuilding company, alongside its competitors is keen to bag the award for this project wherein they can penetrate the Philippine military market in a way that these vessels serves as a foundation with potentials rising up to be a prospective supplier given if these things go in this way.

With this shipbuilding company submitting its design to the Navy, it is worth discussing about the tender itself, given that specifications in-detail aren't available as for the moment, with the technical working group perhaps still taking its time to form the criteria that they are looking for especially in an Offshore Patrol Vessel in which the Naval fleet being the end user.

THE TENDER

In this project, Austal submits its design in which it is derived from the Cape-class Patrol Boats of Royal Australian Navy and Australian Border Force where it complemented with the Armidale-class patrol boats on patrol roles in which several of such vessels participated in joint maritime patrols in areas like the waters of Zamboanga City.

Although it is derived from the Cape-class Patrol Boats, these vessels offered by Austal will be larger with 80 meter in length, steel used in building the hull of the vessel and obtains a helicopter deck as well as Austal’s MarineLink ship control system and ride control technology. To take note, the Cape-class Patrol Boats in service with the Royal Australian Navy is at 57.8m in length and produced in aluminium that Austal usually uses in its ships.

With little details regarding the specifications in which the Technical Working Group may still working on, perhaps a little idea may be provided with inputs coming from the members of this defense forum. To surmise the notes there, the considerations will definitely include the features that the Cape-class vessels presently obtains plus features added in their submitted design such as having RHIB davits and funnel on the midsection portion of the vessel, giving space for the helicopter landing pad on the stern of the ship. Add also that the Navy with its technical group considers that such OPV shall be armed with a 76mm cannon, two 30mm secondary guns with spaces provided for short air defenses and anti-ship missiles. These weapons will definitely make these vessels more armed than a usual OPV provided that, if these systems push through along the program with the hull. Other than the design features that Austal disclosed, the aspirations of the technical team might as well be hopeful that such weapons will be fitted given if the ships are found to be within their criteria. Otherwise, their assessments may consider other vessels in which, results may not much as clear until things are getting clear and settled. 

On the tender given by Austal as well as a number of others in this project, it comes with hopes and aspirations that a right choice shall be made in part of the technical team where, if all pushes through, will definitely end the problems to the fleet especially with regards to its operations to the old hulls that badly needs rest. From there, the naval fleet may become more efficient in its operations given that newer hulls have lesser maintenance demands to keep it operational compared to the ones that it will replaced. 

Not only that, these replacements comes with a better fleet where, will these things get armed more to the teeth, will help the organization deliver its mandate better that territorial seas are as better secured as what it is today.

WHAT ACTUALLY IT IS

Now, here is the gist so as to the words given by the Defense Secretary as well as the works of the technical working group on the moment. As discussed once again with the folks in the main Philippine Defense Forces Forum thread regarding to the OPV project, it seems to be that the whole Offshore Patrol Vessel Program is still on its inception phase which explains the reason so as to the unavailability of the specifications on the project as of the moment.

While the Defense Secretary may have himself mistakenly provided those details the media and the people especially the defense community at the moment, the thoughts in this manner is that this is not really seen as "bad news at all." In fact, the statements made by a Government Official may be considered as a good Public Relations (PR) stunt favoring a shipbuilding company like Austal in the sense that the news outlets cover the story, with them on the picture in a way that their image gets better as well as their exposure amongst the people. Still, with the fact that this company submits its bid proposal to the technical group provides that chances are there for them to bag a deal in the same way that other shipbuilders participated also having such chances to bag the program and eventually penetrating the local Philippine military market. While the Technical Working Group is taking its time evaluating proposals in line to the prospective project provided and determine the ideal specifications for the OPV project, things may definitely wait until the first stage of bidding takes place where participating suppliers may have a chance whether to proceed or not, depending on the capacity they obtain to keep up to the specifications on a given budget or not. 

Now, given that the SecDef's announcement about a project that is not yet a done deal and still on its first step, this may serve as a chance for other suppliers to stand by their product proposals and prove their worth for Philippine Navy, in the same way as Austal submitted their tender only having a nicer PR on their side.

THE THINGS TO COME FOR THE OPV PROJECT
Damen OPV 1400 - A usual design for an Offshore Patrol Vessel. Photo Source
With messages that are mistakenly getting across and coming from an official, it definitely caught the people that are witnessing it, unaware of what is really going on where it arises more interest with regards to what would it be if such shipbuilder was chosen and if such product was offered.

These things simply makes the project for Offshore Patrol Vessels much interesting wherein at its primary stage it gets covered by news sources to a wider audiences in a sense that, like any Horizon 2 projects like the Corvette Project (which apparently is ahead than this one) is being materialized as the efforts of the Armed Forces are on its greatest in the sense that, in all of the works made by every personnel within the organization, the primary goal is for them to deliver their respective mandate effectively and efficiently in the same way as businesses deliver their products and services for the satisfaction of the end user which makes lives more significant as it ever be. From there, the role of a technical working group is always and definitely be that essential given that their job as well as their qualifications on various technical fields will make or break the capabilities of the Armed Forces as a whole where military systems that operates effectively and efficiently is something that influences the course of combat alongside the skills exhibited by assigned personnel.

Hence, with these Offshore Patrol Vessels, along with others comes with the hopes, dreams and aspirations where, a minimum credible force is with the nation that guarantees the security and integrity of the Philippine Republic in a sense that the fleet composition will no longer be consisted of old vessels of today but rather, it will be consisted of better, more capable vessels of tomorrow. As for Austal, it might be nice for them to keep on competing and conform with the specifications provided in the best offer they can give in the sense that the Navy aims for an ideal OPV which is worth a tax money spend for protecting territorial waters of this archipelagic nation.

==================================================

UPDATES
As of September 26, 2018 -- 12:15pm PHT (GMT +8)

In its website, Austal presented its design which it will offer for the Philippine Navy for the Offshore Patrol Vessel Program. The specifications of the ship as provided in this website are as follows:

Length, Overall: 81.7 metres
Beam (moulded): 13.3 metres
Maximum Hull Draft: 4 metres

This is what it looks like (especially the helideck shown) in this photo below:
The Austal Offshore Patrol Vessel derived from Cape-class as offered
to the Philippine Navy.
As discussed in this article, this ship will be made with steel and to be produced in the country through their shipyard in Balamban, Cebu should this proceed. Its intended role as what the supplier discloses in its website will not only be limited to maritime patrol roles such as anti-piracy and anti-smuggling operations in areas like the Sulu Sea or open sea interdiction in areas like the Philippine Rise and West Philippine Sea but it is also helpful for Search and Rescue and Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Response matters if a calamity takes place. Nevertheless, if the shipbuilding commenced from that time comes, it will join ships like the BRP Tagbanua and the BFAR Multipurpose Patrol Vessels (MPPVs) made in Josefa Slipways as these aforementioned ships were made in the Philippines, catering jobs to the employees of these companies and are worthy to be called as "Vessels that are proudly built in the Philippines".

Hence, it might be nice to witness more of this development wherein these ships will define the capabilities of the Navy to patrol its waters as well as to provide presence in areas that needs such a thing where in it enhances maritime security and domain awareness.

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