Friday, October 14, 2016

Deterrence – Defining the Modernization Program

The Republic of the Philippines jumpstarted its two versions of the Armed Forces Modernization Program for its aim of an ideal “Minimum Credible Force.” It was implemented first in 1995, and then on 2012-2013.

As they march. Source: Pacific Sentinel
Territorial defense is indeed the role of a typical nation in order to protect is sovereignty as well as the national interest of the country and its citizens. With these mandate requires equipment and men in order to have the mandate implemented and boarders in check from external threats. The armed forces of a certain country are tasked to do patrols on air, sea and land to keep things in check. In the case of the Philippines, the situation with regards to its territorial defense has gone from far to worse due to neglect from past administrations. And with the latest series of intrusions and Chinese hegemony in the South China Sea, it is detrimental to the Philippine Armed Forces (AFP) to get modernized and to counter its threats in the concept of deterrence.

Commission of BRP Tarlac on a PN Anniversary last June 1.
Deterrence as per Merriam Webster Dictionary refers to two things with similar implication: First it is an act of making someone decides not to do something; the act of preventing a particular act or behavior from happening. Second is with regards to politics: the policy of developing a lot of military power so that other countries will not attack your country.

In this concept, it is connected to the AFP Modernization Program as a part of its goal to have a minimum credible force by year 2028. These in which, PitzDefAnalysis hopes that the equipments the armed forces needed is enough or rather, more than enough to suffice its needs of having a good deterrence against any other nation that will attempt to invade the country and pillage its resources and enslave its citizens. By the mere fact that nations like China, Russia, the United States or even any of Philippine’s neighbors in the ASEAN have sizeable armed forces which have in par or greater in force than those of the AFP, it is good to see that the modernization is on the go considering that having a good deterrence will mean more chances for a certain nation to think twice whether they can invade or not since such invading nation will never let its forces dwindle, the ratio of its armed forces wiped out and the cost of invasion supersedes the benefits.

The three-horizons of the AFP Modernization Program calls for more modern weaponry which will be considered at par with its neighbors as well as the norms in the armed forces of the world. With these calls for numerous things that needs to be mitigated for the military to initiate its role as a defender of the nation in the light of the hegemony made by the Chinese in the disputed territories the Philippines is involved. The table of equipment as given by the AFP and its given planning are called for various equipments like frigates, multi-role fighters, coast watch stations, newer rifles and uniforms for the troops, nigh vision equipment and others that is within the scope of the planning. It also calls for a much effective support mechanism in which it means more base upgrades, better close air support aircraft, artillery options, secured communications network and better logistic infrastructure so that every military division is properly executed and properly supported for an effective strategic maneuver which can determine the battlefield format despite the numbers.

Based on history, we can cite the best example with regards to deterrence on the given references of this World War 1 article. In this case, the political leaders in Europe at that time thinks that forming alliances are indeed the viable option for them to form a force that may serve as a deterrent to another set of nations that form an alliance. In this portion of deterrence form the what so-called "Allies and Axis" forces of the Great War. Not to mention that the German Kaiser are building a naval fleet in order to counter the British on the seas. In modern-day sense, alliances such as the US and the West vs. Russia and the East comes along the way. Going into specifics, the Philippines are doing well in building up its armed forces in which it will be considered as a deterrent for the country to defend itself from an invader which it will think twice and consider the cost of the attack in the nation.

In this knowledge with regards to deterrence, it is at best a good thing to be aware that the modernization efforts are a necessity to achieve a very-well effective territorial defense of the nation. Not to mention that despite the sheer firepower China and other neighbors obtains at this moment that can wipe out the whole country, it is ascertain that there is still something that will create resistance in which it will make such invasion costly in both financial, psychological, and timely matters. This is something to show that there is still something for the defenders to do in which it will not go hopeless.

FA-50PH patrolling the skies.
Source: PhilStar
It is so for the people to know that deterrence is different than that of engaging a war. Building forces, acquiring weapons and increased patrols does not necessarily mean going to a war, but instead it is the job of the armed forces to do such a thing to defend the sovereignty of the nation. Diplomacy is good so to speak. But it is at best to get prepared for what is worse to come. Sure to say in a conflict, there will be casualties, but with deterrence, there is something that will make ensure that the war will be costly to the attacking forces. The point is that having a good defense is detrimental for the nation's survival. And with that guarantees the safety of the people and their respective livelihood without any worries coming in.


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