Bangladesh ACHIEVING RELATIVE SUPERIORITY: OPTIONS FOR BANGLADESH ARMED FORCES

Afif

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Lieutenant Colonel G M Shamsuzzaman, afwc, psc, Inf

“It has often happened that a small group by the grace of Allah has vanquished a mighty army. Allah is with those who endure with patience.”
-Surah Al Baqarah - Ayat 249

Introduction

Bangladesh (BD) emerged as a sovereign and independent state through an epoch-making War of Liberation in 1971. From March 26, 1971, the brave members of the land, sea, and air force began actions against the occupying forces in their respective sectors. These organs of the Armed Forces had been carrying out massive destruction of the occupation forces during the liberation war without any pragmatic national directives and military planning.

The Armed Forces take pride in being born through the war of liberation and draw its strength out of the experiences gained during the war. The BD Armed Forces (BDAF) are responsible for safeguarding the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity by protecting national land, maritime, and air space, as well as national cohesiveness, against threats from within and beyond the country.

An Armed Forces are a visible symbol of the state and its sovereignty. The state employs it not only to defend its territorial integrity but also to support and protect its interests and foreign policy. The foreign policy of BD, ‘friendship to all and malice to none’ offers to strengthen diplomatic relations with the neighbors. Therefore, we shall take all possible measures not to initiate or be involved in a conflict unless forced upon.

Leon Trotsky was a theorist, politician and one of the pioneers of the Russian Revolution who said, “You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leon_Trotsky, n.d.). Since national interest, as well as international relations, is a dynamic concept, the composition and capability of an Armed Force also need to adapt to emerging needs.

BDAF has marked its Golden Jubilee this year. In its journey of the last 50 years, BDAF did not fight any war. Due to lack of war experience, BDAF is still in possession of the age-old doctrine of fighting from the linear defence. But doctrine must be based on time-tested theories and principles.With the changing world order and advancement of technology, warfighting has turned in to complex affair. In reality, defensive posture may change to the offensive at any time with the dynamic war scenario.

As such, Armed Forces organized in an age-old way are likely to be unsuitable for present-day warfighting. Winning Armed Forces will fight both with brain and brawn; tangible and intangible resources. A large or big army with big guns (tangible factors) is no guarantee for victory. Contrarily, a small but smart professional army with dedication and determination, grit and guts, (intangible factors) can subdue a far larger opponent. The most glaring are the examples are Vietnam and Lebanon War.
Literature Review

In Bangladesh, no research or study has been conducted so far on a similar topic. Various level of doctrine has given idea on conventional theory but did not mention any theory regarding how to win against a superior adversary. The effects mentioned may further be studied with more military insight and also in the present context.

However, there is an insignificant number of research that draws lessons directly for the weaker sides. But they have confined within their services parameter. After a thorough analysis of diverse literature and doctrine, it has been revealed that there is a significant void prevails in terms of prosecuting how BDAF will win over a superior threat. Therefore this research will have a holistic approach to find a suitable strategy and implementation model for BDAF to face any superior adversary.
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Research Methodology

This exploratory research is non-experimental which is carried out basing on both primary and secondary sources of information. For research, a mixed-method approach (combination of quantitative and qualitative research) has been followed. Primary data is collected through the survey, Key Informant Interviews and FGD of the officers of BDAF.

Secondary data is collected from various books, journals, periodicals, newspaper articles and open sources like online publications and the internet. Anticipated limitations of the study is due to the Corona pandemic and nationwide lockdown most of the Key Informant Interviews are conducted through a digital platform and over the telephone. The researcher opines that formal physical interaction with the senior leadership could have been more meaningful and worthy.

Evaluation of Existing Combat Power of BDAF in Relation to Potential Adversaries

BDAF recognizes four elements of combat power that is manoeuvre, firepower, protection and leadership. Combat power of BDAF needs regular evaluation to ensure that it is developing appropriately as a balanced organization.

Land Force. Presently Land Force is organized with ten under-strength divisions. Besides, there are five independent, one para commando brigade and two composite brigades. All these elements have one thing in common that they lack mobility, firepower and protection. Present means of Land Force, in terms of fighting formations and comparison to the visualized threat, neither can deter enemy effectively nor is sufficient to defend the country.

The Land Force will not be capable to carry out limited offensive inside enemy territory and continue holding ground therein for the purposeful duration. More so, the field formations and units lack protection against enemy air action. 61% of the respondents opined that the existing combat power and strategy of the Land Force needs improvement and 38% opined that not good enough to fight against potential superior adversaries.

Maritime Force. Maritime Force has about 81 ships including 2 x submarines, 4 x aircraft and around 1 x Battalion (-) strength of Special Forces in maritime inventory. A good number of the ships are overaged and fitted with technologically inferior weapons/ sensors, which are not comparable with the adversary. As such, Maritime Force is yet to keep its tempo with the quick development of the global maritime environment, concerning technology-based military hardware and firepower.

Although with the introduction of Submarine, MPA, helicopter, BNS BANGABANDHU and SWADS enabled Maritime Force to consolidate some credible capability across all spectrums of maritime warfare. 79% of the respondents opined that the existing combat power and strategy of the Maritime Force needs improvement and 18% opined that not good enough to fight against potential superior adversaries.

Air Force. Despite a humble beginning in 1971, today BAF stands tall with 141 aircraft. However, despite all the progress over the years, BAF is still far from attaining the full capability to defend its air space from potential air threats. 79% of the respondents opined that the existing combat power and strategy of the BAF needs improvement and 20% opined that not good enough to fight against potential superior adversaries.

BDAF follows conventional doctrine to fight a war. Our potential adversaries are in a possession of larger Armed Forces compare with our one. Therefore, fighting conventionally during a conflict with the comparatively superior force would not bring any desired result. Extended integration of innovation, coupled with cutting edge technology can bring victory to BDAF.
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Suitable Strategy Applicable for the BDAF to Win Against Superior Adversary

BDAF may have to fight against numerically superior foes in the future. Now the question comes whether BDAF can win against a superior adversary? Having a very strong military power is an option for us to deter any invader. But our economy will not permit us to prepare a military power of such. Winning a war against a numerically and technologically superior enemy is always possible provided we are imbibed with offensive spirit and strong will to win even with our limited capacity.

Land Force. The existing conventional methods of warfare, may not be a prudent option for the Land Force to fight back its adversary. Due to conventional mindset, ambiguous blending concept, and lack of geographical depth of BD entails distinct disadvantages inland operations. These advantages can be transformed into power by offsetting the geographical depth by the overriding advantages of demographic depth, unanimous popular support, innovative and unorthodox methods of warfare to keep superior adversaries at bay. Above 95% of the respondents opined that an innovative approach will act as a multiplier to fight against potential superior adversaries.

Maritime Force. BD cannot aspire for command of the sea in this region, but certainly, Maritime force must be the vanguard to maintain the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Bay of Bengal. Defensive posture alone cannot safeguard sovereignty rather it gives opportunity to potential adversary. Above 87% of the respondents opined that an innovative approach will act as a multiplier to fight against potential superior adversaries.

Air Force. Air Force should have ability to protect total airspace of BD and support land and maritime forces during any crisis. The air power of adversaries clearly portray that BD is likely to be out-numbered both in quantity and technology during war. Therefore, it is essential for BAF to adopt a suitable strategy so that it can win a war being outnumbered.
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Achieving Relative Superiority: Options for Bangladesh Armed Forces

Above 76% of the respondents opined that innovative approach will act as multiplier to fight against potential superior adversaries.

Strategy for Winning War against Superior Adversary

To improve combat effectiveness, the BDAF must integrate service capabilities, doctrine, and operations. A joint force is stronger than a single entity. In the future, deterring and defeating superior adversary aggression will entail greater integration of three services. We should adopt innovative suitable strategies to defeat superior strategies. There can be a single service strategy depending on the operation environment. Again, there can be a common strategy to fight in a joint environment. BDAF may adopt unorthodox and innovative strategies as complementary to the existing strategy.


Common Aspects of Strategy

Porcupine Defensive Strategy.
To survive, porcupine uses her core strength that is her spikes. When challenged, she rises her spikes and survives. Even the lions, generally, don’t like to eat porcupines due to her arsenal of weapons on their back. Porcupine Strategy focuses to discourage the adversary that the cost of using military forces will outweigh the gain. It will be prudent for the BDAF to adopt the ‘Porcupine strategy’. The population is a treasure.

BDAF needs to nurture them in peacetime and utilize them during the conflict. The adversary should realize before invading BD that she has to face 160 to 170 hostile populations. Any aggression will incur a huge body bag which is going to draw the attention of the international forum. The message is that the benefit of challenging BD would not be worth the cost associated with the risk. If the adversary can perceive that using military forces will not be easy to invade, they will be less likely to attack BD, just like the little porcupine which larger and better-equipped hunters usually avoid.

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Metaphysical Paradoxical Strategy. History has a replete example where numerically and the technologically superior enemy was defeated being outnumbered and outgunned with their metaphysical strength. Shaping metaphysical elements such as physical and moral courage, a deep sense of patriotism, intellectual agility, righteousness, motivation, and courage will be essential for the BDAF when it encounters a stronger conventional adversary. National will, realistic training, leadership, and effective and qualitative weapon system are the inspiring tools to foster the metaphysical strength of BDAF.

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Achieving Relative Superiority: Options for Bangladesh Armed Forces

Poisonous Shrimp Posture. First Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew said “in a world where the big fish eat small fish and the small fish eat shrimps, Singapore must become a poisonous shrimp” (Anon., 2018). Being sandwiched by the two superior armed forces of our potential adversaries, BD has the option to build a capable military force using whatever resources are available. BDAF should be at her best with what she has. The ultimate goal is to demonstrate BDAF ability to retaliate and to deny the success of an offensive attack. Each troop should be turned into a ‘fighting machine’ to fight outnumbered.

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Land Force Strategy

Offensive Defence Strategy.
The defence will be prepared right from the international boundary integrating paramilitary forces, mass volunteers and UWF. Layers of impregnable artificial obstacles will be laid all along the IB blocking every single ingress. Each village, town, and dominating ground along the likely Mobility Corridor of the enemy will be defended physically by the conventional forces, local volunteers, and UCF. The enemy will have to count the cost for every inch of land. Considering space and resource limitations, the Reconnaissance Elements may be discarded from the existing defensive framework.

Such resources of recce elements can be readjusted to augment the IB Defence of BGB or elsewhere. All axes leading to the choke point should be guarded either by covering troops or an advance position. Covering troops will receive both delay and attrition missions while the advance position should receive delay mission fighting from prepared successive lines.

Likely Main Defensive Position should be earmarked during peacetime through various field exercises. In the face of hostility, these positions should be prepared to include tunnels, shelters and other underground facilities. Besides, a limited offensive across the international boundary may be launched right at the outbreak of hostilities to force the potential adversary to fight along multiple fronts.

Anti-Access/ Area Denial Defence System (A2/AD2 System). A2/ AD2 system is a war-fighting strategy focused on impeding or stop the enemy from operating military forces near, into, or within a conflict area. A2/AD2 capability can be achieved through layers of impregnable artificial and natural obstacles. The obstacle should be laid to disrupt turns, fix or blocks the enemy to create exploitable vulnerability. Generally, BD’s terrain is interspersed with a cluster of villages, vegetation and build-up area which will restrict enemy freedom of manoeuvre. Moreover, during the rainy season enemies’ movement will be confined to the road only which will allow Land Forces to bring concentrated fire on the enemy.

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Achieving Relative Superiority: Options for Bangladesh Armed Forces

House-Based Strong Point Defence. Normally a battalion occupies 3500 yards front and 2600 yards depth in a conventional ideal defense. However, it varies with the terrain configuration. Due to the proximity of villages, built-up area and population density (1,115 people per square kilometer), it is difficult for most of the fighting formations to find a suitable defense position. Considering the ground reality Land Force may have house-based classic strong point defense. The defense potential houses need to be brought under the ‘defense scheme’ during peacetime through various field exercises. The cluster of houses will turn into interlock death traps. In the face of hostility, these positions should be prepared to include tunnels, shelters and other underground facilities.

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Maritime Force Strategy

Sea Denial Strategy. There is no denying the fact that fleet-in-being strategy, being defensive posture, cannot safeguard national maritime sovereignty. In war, Maritime Force should adopt sea denial strategy for potential adversaries. The concept of defeating the enemy hinges upon mostly isolation, attrition and dislocation of maritime forces.

These effects will be achieved through a skillful combination of offensive and defensive action. Effective ISR of the AOP would be undertaken using MPA, Auxiliary Gathering Intelligence and surveillance group to locate targets for the command center and strike forces. Submarine being an offensive platform may likely be deployed in the enemy territory for deterrence. SWADS will act as the prime mover for mobilization, planning and execution of unconventional operations integrating MUWF.


Achieving Relative Superiority: Options for Bangladesh Armed Forces
Swarm Boat Tactics. The cornerstone of this tactics is to surprise and isolate the enemy’s forces and preventing their reinforcement or resupply, thereby shattering the enemy’s morale and will to fight. Maritime Force may develop swarming by inducting fast-approaching small boats in their inventory. Swarm attacks with small boats can pose a high risk to a destroyer.

A large number of first-approaching small boats launch a coordinated assault at the same time to hit the enemy from multiple directions. These boats wait in geographically dispersed and hidden locations until converging on a single target or series of targets. It will allow attackers to make up for the lack of firepower by striking from all sides and then moving fast to the rear despite technological limitations.
Source: Researcher’s Construct

Coastal Defence. The coast of BD is vulnerable to attack and is likely to be a primary target for any adversary. Visualizing perceived threat, maritime forces should have a solid plan to protect the country’s coastline from amphibious assault. An enemy can be brought into culmination in three steps in coastal defense: during ship-to-shore movement, landing and once they arrive on land. Amphibious force approaches should be spotted as soon as feasible via shore-based radar, ships at sea, MPA, or other intelligence sources.

Submarine will provide the first line of defence and will be deployed offshore to create panic in the enemy psyche to a great extent. FAC (M) will engage the approached enemy over and over again from a hideout. To stop the enemy, Frigate along with LPC to form the second line of defense. This group will try to assault the enemy’s advance group, as well as the main body if possible. The landing site will be protected by impregnable obstacles which would be comprised of surface and sub-surface mines, barbed war, boulder, hedgehog, etc. Costal defence battery will engage the enemy from long range. SWADS along with MUWF will harass and disrupt the enemy decision cycle by conducting a clandestine operation on warships.


Air Force Strategy

Combat Air Operation.
Air Interdiction (AI) and Close Air Support (CAS) play a significant role to shape the battlefield. On the battlefield, CAS mission produces an immediate effect, but the effect is usually transient. The inherent difficulty of acquiring targets, as well as the limitations of coordinated air attack with fire and movement of surface forces, can make CAS difficult to execute. AI extends beyond the range of weapons provided by surface forces.

AI target can be bridges and railway yards in lines of communication, log chain, POL and ammunition depot at the rear, the concentration of troops and convoy move away from the battlefield. AI against sensitive target sets compels the enemy to divert force and resources from offensive to defensive. Sometimes AI will also provide combat success in the initial stage without boots on the ground. This will also create panic among the troops which will subsequently affect the troop’s performance. So AI is more convenient and effective for BD perspective.

Hedgehog Strategy. This strategy is based on an ancient Greek allegory that states, “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” In the allegory, the fox employs a variety of tactics in his attempt to capture the hedgehog. But every time, it walks away defeated. The fox never realizes that the hedgehog knows one big thing perfectly that is ‘Self-Defense.’ Air Force has always been technology-based and relatively expensive to obtain, operate and maintain at the desired level of competency. As the technology change is dynamic, the BAF budget will not be able to keep pace with the cutting-edge technologies to counter the threat by acquiring adequate capability within the allotted resources.


To offset this limitation, BAF may adopt a hedgehog strategy to become strong in one side that is ‘Self-Defense convertible to the offensive. Drones offer small countries very cheap access to tactical aviation and precision-guided weapons enabling them to destroy an opponent much costlier equipment such as tanks and AD systems. The most glaring example is the Nagorno- Karabakh conflict.

Network-Centric Operation. Network Centric Operation (NCO) is one of the significant technological advancements which will allow BAF to achieve information superiority on the battlefield. NCO improves combat efficiency by converting information advantage into fighting power via networking. BAF’s operational tempo would be boosted by the timely exchange of real-time automated information flow between command centers, sensors, and shooters. Due to lack of geographical depth BAF need a faster response to mitigate any potential air threat proactively.

Preferred Capability for the BDAF to Win Over Superior Adversary
BDAF needs a substantial defence budget to acquire robust and requisite capability. The government wants to achieve high-income country status by 2041. Accordingly, this preferred capabilities perspective plan will set the tone up to 2041 with an aim to transform into a credible Armed Force.

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Joint Service Headquarters (JSHQ). AFD will be transformed to JSHQ creating a post of Chief of Defence Staff to provide effective top-level leadership to the three services of the Armed Forces. During peacetime, CDS shall oversee and coordinates the working of the three Services through the respective Services Chief. In war or crisis, JSHQ will function as the operational headquarters for all services, and the Joint Force Commander will be the CDS. The rank of CDS should be equal to services chief for optimum effectiveness and acclimatization.

Joint C4ISR. BDAF is yet to develop an appropriate and integrated architecture of C4ISR. Although some service-centric progress has been achieved by introducing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, Infantry Reconnaissance Vehicle, services’ network system (BA net) for Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN), various applications and software, microwave link, etc. BA has established EW Company, AITSO and Army Data Center. Therefore, three services to carry out a well thought, long term perspective plan for an appropriate C4ISR architecture. After necessary development in C4ISR by respective services, the endeavor will be taken to establish an integrated Joint C4ISR to get the maximum operational benefit.

Cyber Defense Group (CDG). The CDG will draw personnel from all three branches of the Armed Forces. This will have the capability to hack into networks, mount surveillance operations, recover deleted data from hard drives and cellphones, break into encrypted communication channels, and perform other complex objectives. Collaborating with AFD and drawing on the National Offensive Cyber Programme, they will continue to develop advanced offensive cyber capabilities. The cyber force is to be made in collaboration with BUET and private organizations to protect own cyberspace.

EW Capability. Considering the future battlefield and threat scenario it is clear that advanced EW capability, especially electronic attack capability would be able to pose detrimental impacts on the operational capabilities of the invading forces and increase their risks and costs in the military operations. So, developing electronic attack capability by BDAF would
create some form of deterrence of degrading operational capability of the adversaries by suppressing their use of EM spectrum.

Integrated Air Defence System. Air Defence becomes imperative to deter a potential adversary and to ensure sovereignty and survivability. As a result, achieving and maintaining a strong integrated AD is essential for any nation. BDAF is yet to integrate all AD elements of various services. Considering the modern war and air supremacy of potential adversaries it is paramount to ensure an effective integrated AD system.

Indigenous Capability Building. Reliance on the supply of major warfighting equipment on foreign sources bears an inherent risk of being handicapped at times of conflict. Therefore, it is very important to have self-reliance on major equipment. A technology transfer with countries like Turkey, Russia would help to reduce the dependency on foreign procurement. The equipment may be pursued to be produced locally with the help of friendly countries are missile, warship up to frigate, UAV, mine, rocket and ammunition of all caliber gun.

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balance between defensive military strategy and credible deterrence. Land Force needs to enhance manoeuvre, firepower and protection capability. Mechanization should be given priority over standard infantry.


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For services HQ can be devised in the course curriculum of training institutes and practiced during exercises.
BDAF should adopt strategy-led technology, not technology-driven military strategy. Considering our economy, geography and environment BDAF should acquire robust and requisite capability. Preferred capability as envisioned can be implemented phase-wise by 2041. To bring synergy into various services and to enhance combat power AFD may take initiative to formulate Forces Goal-2041.

For procurement, raising and topping-up echelons, the South-Eastern sector of BD is to be considered first. Transfer of Technology from allied countries to be considered to develop indigenous capability. G2G deal, loan protocol and deferred payment may be the basis of procuring major platforms.

Conclusion

To safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country against any external threat, it is essential for the BDAF to further analyse and redefine the current strategies. The existing conventional methods of warfare, may not be a prudent option for BDAF to fight back its adversary. After the independence, the BDAF did not fight any conventional war but studied several plausible options for its defensive strategy.

Of those, integration of ‘defense posture convertible to offensive’, ‘limited offensive’ and most loudly pronounced ‘blending conventional and Unconventional Warfare’ drew due attention. Yet, the conventional mindset, ambiguous blending concept, and lack of geographical depth of BD entail distinct disadvantages in tri-service operations. These disadvantages can be transformed into power by offsetting the geographical depth by the overriding advantages of demographic depth, unanimous popular support, innovative and unorthodox methods of warfare to keep superior adversaries at bay.


Achieving Relative Superiority: Options for Bangladesh Armed Forces

Our uneasy neighbor are in a possession of larger Armed Forces with modern technology compare with our one. In a future war, BDAF is likely to come across extended volume and precision fire. Extended integration of innovation, coupled with cutting edge technology can bring victory to BDAF.


References

1. Aharon Levran (1997). Israeli Strategy after Desert Storm, Frank Cass & Co Ltd. USA.
2. Air Commodore A T M Habibur Rahman, afwc, psc, Director of Air Operations, Interview, Dhaka: 26 May 2021.
3. Air Vice Marshal M Abul Bashar, BBP, OSP, ndc, acsc, psc, Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Operation and training), Interview, Dhaka: 26 May 2021.
4. Bangladesh Army GSTP-0032, Operations of War, Volume One, 2006.
5. Bangladesh Army GSTP-0038, Infantry Division in Battle, 2009.
6. Bangladesh Army GSTP-2632, Infantry Battalion in Battle, 2008.
7. BBC History Team. (2000).The war in Vietnam. Retrieved from BBC History: http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/history/mwh/ vietnam/thewarinvietnamrev.shtml (Accessed: 11 June 2021).
8. Brigadier General Abu Mohammad Sarwar Farid, afwc, psc, Course Member, ND Course, Mirpur Cantonment, Interview, Dhaka: 02 May 2021.
9. Brigadier General Golam Faruque, SGP, SUP, ndc, afwc, psc, Director Military Operations, Dhaka Cantonment, Interview, Dhaka: 02 May 2021.
10. Brigadier General Md Hakimuzzaman, SGP, afwc, psc, Course Member, ND Course, Mirpur Cantonment, Interview, Dhaka: 06 May 2021.
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11. Commodore M Hasan Tarique Mondal, (G), NPP, ndc, psc, BN, Interview, Dhaka: 15 May 2021.
12. Draft Joint Warfare Doctrine 2006.
13. Draft Operational Doctrine of Bangladesh Air Force, 2014.
14. General Staff Branch. (2004). Blending Unconventional Warfare with Conventional Warfare. Dhaka: BD Army.
15.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leon_Trotsky (Accessed: 17 May 2021).
16. https://wavellroom.com/2021/01/20/indias-corbettian-maritime- strategy (Accessed: 28 May 2020).
17. https://www.globalfirepower.com/ (Accessed: 14 March 2021).
18. Major General Humayun Kabir, SBP, OSP, rcds, psc, Area Commander, Logistic Area Interview, Dhaka: 19 May 2021.
19. Major General Syed Tareq Hussain, awc, psc – GOC, 19 Infantry Division, Ghatail Cantonment, Interview, Dhaka: 11 May 2021.
20. Maritime Doctrine of Bangladesh, 2012.
21. Rear Admiral M Abu Ashraf, NBP, BSP, ncc, psc, BN, Assistance Chief of Naval Staff (Operations), Interview, Dhaka: 11 July 2021.
22. Samuel. P. Huntington (2011). Clash of Civilization. Simon & Schuster publisher.
23. Sun Tzu (5th Century BC). The Art of War, Translator Ralpph. D Sawyer (1994).
24. Toft, I. A. (2005). How the Weak Win Wars – A Theory of Asymmetric Conflict. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
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Achieving Relative Superiority: Options for Bangladesh Armed Forces

Author-
Lieutenant Colonel G M Shamsuzzaman, afwc, psc, Inf was born on 01 December 1979 in Barisal District. He passed both SSC and HSC from Rangpur Cadet College. He joined Bangladesh Military Academy (BMA) with 41st BMA Long Course. He got commissioned in December 1999 from BMA. He joined 14 E Bengal on being commissioned. He has fine blending of command, staff and instructional appointment in his service career. He has raised 61 East Bengal and commanded the same as pioneer Commanding Officer.

He served as Staff at Grade 3 level in BMA and Brigade Major in 65 Infantry Brigade. Prior to attending Armed Forces War Course (AFWC), he was serving as Staff at Grade 1 level in AHQ. He served as an instructor in Tactics Wing in School of Infantry and Tactics. He did Motorized Infantry Commanding Officer’s Course from China and United Nation Military Observer Course from India. He also participated in United Nations Peacekeeping Mission twice as a contingent member and military observer in Ivory Coast and Liberia respectively. He is a graduate of Defence Services Command and Staff College. He is married and blessed with two sons.
 
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Afif

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@F-6 enthusiast @Isa Khan @PutinBro @yf120 @Knowledgeseeker @Gary @Agha Sher @Merzifonlu @TR_123456 et al.



Note- I guess this reflects how short and medium terms modernisation could be realised for land forces.

Table 1: Desired Capabilities and Implementation Plan-Land Force
Combat Power Desired Capabilities

Short Term (2022-2026).

1- Manoeuvre

1X Mechanized Brigades for 11 Division.
• Division Support Battalion for 17 Division.

2- Operational Fires

• 1 X MLRS Regiment for 10 Division.
• 1 X Medium Regiment for 17 and 55 Division.


3- Protection

• AD Regiment under 11 and 7 Division.

4- Cyber, EW-UCAV

5- Communication -Fiber optics connectivity

6- Sustenance

• 1 X Medium workshop.
• 1 X Division Ammunition Unit for 11 Division


Mid Term (2027-2033)

Manoeuvre

• 2X Mechanized Brigades for 19 and 66 Division.
• Division Support Battalion for 24 Division.
• Light Armoured Regiment for 17 Division.


Operational Fires

• 1 X MSSM Regiment (300-400 km range).
• 1 X Coastal Battery for 10 Division.
• 1 X Squadron attack helicopters

Protection

• AD Regiment under 19, 66 and 33 Division.

Cyber, EW UCAV

1 X Army EW Unit

Sustenance

• 2nd CAD
• 1X Composite workshop
• 1 X Division Ammunition Unit for 19 Division


For protection and defensive capability, (for a country whose AF won’t survive that longer in a potential conflict, the best strategy is integrated AD systems for effective A2D capability) I hope when it comes to MRSAM program it will gradually extend from 9 and 24 divisions to 11, 7, 19, 66 and 33 divisions.

But instead of just buying of HISAR-O+ batteries we need to develop something similar to iron dome in the long run (maybe it could be done in joint ventures with Turkey within 2030 to 2040)

And that is very crucial because of our lack of strategic depth a significant amount of our territory and military bases are well within range of adversary’s MLRS. And HISAR-O type AD systems are not suitable for such scenario.

And when it comes to Offensive/deep strike/long range fire support capability, I think (for a country whose AF is probably never going to outmatch potential adversary’s Fleet) the most effective solution is to maximise our short medium and long range MLRS capability and definitely produce them in home in the long run.
 
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PutinBro

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Technological parity(in most cases) with our main adversary is possible if forces get enough funding.An increased asymmetrical and unconventional approach by BD forces will be a welcoming decision but it should never become the main focus.

Any form of long conflict with our adversary will be so damaging to BD that even a victory will look like defeat.Things like 'peoples war'(god forbid) are for countries which have nothing to loose, not us.This is a fact well known to our adversaries too.So one can argue that we will remain in the backfoot both in field and in the table as long as we lack a strong and modern BDAF.

Will definitely agree with authors POV regarding offensive warfare.Again, more funding is the only solution.
 

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@Afif may I ask is there any program by the BD military to modernize its comms and C2 ? My understanding is that recent military modernization is mostly hardware replacements in nature (tanks, mlrs, SAM, etc) and some surveillance assets (like drones for artillery spotting). Smaller armies but very connected and integrated to other service could punch above its weight.

anyway the author talks about "unorthodox methods of warfare to keep superior adversaries at bay". What comes to my mind when reading this is a national "conscription" program not based on infantry, but drone operators. Simply put Bangladesh could start a program to train its certified drone operators to be qualified for military tasks (such as dropping bombs from quads). This will help a lot decreasing the burden for the air and artillery force and somewhat contribute to ISR efforts too. In peacetime the drone guys contribute to the economy, in wartime they contribute to the war effort.


BD could actually start in earnest by developing the necessary tactics in exercises involving the use of drones.

There's also the issue of porcupine strategy, to do this all national effort must be defense oriented in mind, highways need to be built with with aviation use in mind, certain roads must be narrowed at some direction, bridges must be designed to be easily collapsible by civillian grade explosibve to stop advances etc.

The navy meanwhile could start experimenting and wargaming the use of explosive laden USV against a blockading navy. Using its MPA assets to surveil and track possible targets before swarms are unleashed.

This is what Bangladesh can do in parallel with conventional arms procurement and methods relative to its economic and industrial size and capability.
 

NEKO

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Any form of long conflict with our adversary will be so damaging to BD that even a victory will look like defeat.
Who is BD potential adversaries? From highest probability to lowest.
 

Afif

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Highest Probability - Myanmar (Rohingya issue , Naval disputes )
Lowest Probability - India (irredentism)

But the fact is, national security strategy and long term readiness should be based on what is possible, not necessarily what is probable.
 

NEKO

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Highest Probability - Myanmar (Rohingya issue , Naval disputes )
Lowest Probability - India (irredentism)
Does BD have serious (potential) internal security problems? Like separatism, terorism, armed group, horizontal conflicts between peoples/ group of peoples etc.
For example Indonesia for a long time in the past always focus more on internal security issues and become inward looking.
 

NEKO

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But the fact is, national security strategy and long term readiness should be based on what is possible, not necessarily what is probable.
But you still need to prioritize.
 

F-6 enthusiast

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Does BD have serious (potential) internal security problems? Like separatism, terorism, armed group, horizontal conflicts between peoples/ group of peoples etc.
For example Indonesia for a long time in the past always focus more on internal security issues and become inward looking.
internal security wise quite stable when compared to our neighbours
Myanmar- ongoing civil war
India- J&K , north-eastern troubles , maoists
Pakistan - TTP,BLA , Afghan border issues

BD is ethnically (98%) and religiously (95%) homogenous.

We had an insurgency lasting about 20yrs in Chittagong Hill tracts which has been solved. There is a new group but they are nowhere near as well funded and sophisticated as the previous one.

We have been complacent and let our guard down for the last 3-4 decades when it comes to defence
The political leadership has let us down when it comes to sovereignty and using our geography to our advantage.
 

Isa Khan

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I believe we can still achieve more fire-power and deterrence if work with countries who are more friendly, co-operative, don't do politics and could be cheaper source. Such as:-
  • China
  • Turkey
  • Korea
  • Czech Republic
  • Belarus
  • Malaysia
  • Singapore
  • Indonesia
  • South Africa
  • Brazil
  • Thailand
  • Australia
  • Netherlands
  • UAE
  • Local sources
We can work with in joint production, ToT or MRO on projects like:-
  • Warship building
  • SHORAD and MR-SAM
  • Anti-ship missile
  • cruise missle
  • WVRAAM & BVRAAM
  • Single engine fighter
  • Short and MALE UAV
  • AW-139/Bell-212 type helicopter
  • APC & LAV
  • Various types of trucks
  • Various types of MRLS, rockets & missiles.
  • Radars
  • Guns, artillery
Didn't mention few cause we're working on them already. Maybe missed few. But the point is we need to be self-sufficient is some sectors which are absolutely necessary and we've to work with countries which won't be much trouble or we can balance them. Take approach like Iran, NK, Myanmar but our advantage is we don't have any sanctions so local production of major equipment should be considered.

we need to develop something similar to iron dome in the long run

I think UAE has something like that. Talk about something like Phalanx ciws C-RAM long ago.

 

Afif

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I believe we can still achieve more fire-power and deterrence if work with countries who are more friendly, co-operative, don't do politics and could be cheaper source. Such as:-
  • China
  • Turkey
  • Korea
  • Czech Republic
  • Belarus
  • Malaysia
  • Singapore
  • Indonesia
  • South Africa
  • Brazil
  • Thailand
  • Australia
  • Netherlands
  • UAE
  • Local sources
We can work with in joint production, ToT or MRO on projects like:-
  • Warship building
  • SHORAD and MR-SAM
  • Anti-ship missile
  • cruise missle
  • WVRAAM & BVRAAM
  • Single engine fighter
  • Short and MALE UAV
  • AW-139/Bell-212 type helicopter
  • APC & LAV
  • Various types of trucks
  • Various types of MRLS, rockets & missiles.
  • Radars
  • Guns, artillery
Didn't mention few cause we're working on them already. Maybe missed few. But the point is we need to be self-sufficient is some sectors which are absolutely necessary and we've to work with countries which won't be much trouble or we can balance them. Take approach like Iran, NK, Myanmar but our advantage is we don't have any sanctions so local production of major equipment should be considered.



I think UAE has something like that. Talk about something like Phalanx ciws C-RAM long ago.


If we can only produce MANPAD, ATGM, C-RAM, MLRS, towed Howitzers, land and naval cannons, MARP, AFV, MALE UAV/UCAV and advanced jet trainers by 2035, I would consider it a big success.

@F-6 enthusiast
 

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