This online meeting took place on the threshold of the 17th ASEAN Chiefs of Defense Forces’ Meeting (ACDFM-17) to be hosted by Vietnam on September 24. ASEAN militaries take turns organizing AMOM and this is the first time the Vietnamese military has undertaken this task.

Scene at the ACDFIM-15 hosted by Singapore in 2018.

Ten years ago, at the seventh ASEAN Chiefs of Defense Forces’ Informal Meeting (ACDFIM-7) hosted by Vietnam, participating countries agreed to organize the ASEAN Military Operations Informal Meeting (AMOIM) annually starting from 2011.

Since 2019, AMOIM and ACDFIM have been organized formally and become AMOM and ACDFM, according to an agreement reached at ACDFIM-15 hosted by Singapore in 2018.

Actually, the establishment of AMOM meets the need for substantial cooperation among ASEAN militaries to respond to both traditional and non-traditional security challenges which have been adversely impacting and threatening regional peace and stability.

The establishment of AMOM showcased a strong Vietnam when hosting an ACDFIM for the first time in 2010 and demonstrated an ASEAN of unity and consensus under the chair of Vietnam. In fact, the realization of this cooperation initiative is a success of the ACDFIM with active contributions from the host Vietnam.

It can be affirmed that AMOM has made contributions to a new cooperation level of ASEAN militaries in a more substantial, practical and effective manner. AMOM is responsible for shaping and building overall cooperation plans among militaries of ASEAN member countries.

Since its birth, AMOM has proposed and submitted a series of rich, practical, and effective cooperation plans to ACDFM for approval with the aim of enhancing the cooperation among ASEAN militaries. This coordination has helped promote the capacity of each ASEAN nations’ military, the cooperation in the bloc, and further build trust and maintain peace, stability and development in each ASEAN member state and in the region.

Furthermore, through two cooperation mechanisms, namely ASEAN Military Intelligence Meeting (AMIM) and ACDFIM, both were first held in 2001 at a time when ASEAN militaries had not carried out many cooperation activities yet. However, since 2010 with the establishment of AMOIM (present AMOM), seven Experts’ Working Groups of ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM+) have been established, contributing to promoting the substantial cooperation among ASEAN militaries and between militaries of ASEAN countries and their partners. It proves the efficiency of such a military cooperation mechanism of ASEAN militaries.

AMOM and AMIM are two specialized meetings responsible for preparing documents for ACDFM. Together with other military cooperation mechanisms, such as the ASEAN Army Chiefs’ Meeting, ASEAN Navy Chiefs’ Meeting, ASEAN Air Chiefs’ Conference, both AMOM and AMIM have developed a framework for the military cooperation among ASEAN militaries with a focus on cooperation quality improvement.

AMOM acts as a forum for regional countries to share their standpoints on regional and international issues of common concern, to discuss response measures to challenges facing ASEAN, and to review cooperation results of ASEAN militaries in general and between operation forces of ASEAN militaries in particular.

As usual, AMOM builds a two-year cooperation plan among ASEAN militaries, submits the plan to the ACDFM for approval and implementation. Therefore, AMOM plays a role as an advisory channel for ASEAN leaders in making cooperation plans and programs which involve ASEAN militaries.

Military operation plans for ASEAN militaries made by AMOM are based on the assessment of direct impacts of security situations and emerging challenges in the region.

Vietnam hosts AMOM-10 amidst the complicated development of the COVID-19 pandemic, increased tense situations at hotspots in the region, and diverse and complex non-traditional security challenges. This poses urgent requirements for the meeting to create proactive and flexible responses to the common challenges of ASEAN militaries. At the meeting, Vietnam and participating countries will discuss approaches to boost experience sharing, devise response measures to the challenges, and further their cooperation in making plans, thereby promoting coordination among operation agencies of militaries of ASEAN member states.

The active role of Vietnam and support of other ASEAN member nations are hoped to bring in substantial results for AMOM-10, thus contributing to the success of the upcoming ACDFM-17.

Translated by Mai Huong