01 Mei 2012
In Hikmat Beratu IV Exercise of the armed forces would be, among others, to conduct a building-to-building and door-to-door search, and securing a perimeter. (all photos : Brunei Mindef)
BOLKIAH GARRISON - As part of the ongoing effort in developing the professionalism and responsiveness of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF) for any eventualities, the Hikmat Bersatu exercise continues to be a valuable platform to test present capacities and capabilities in the art of conventional warfare. Hikmat Bersatu IV, or dubbed as HB4, is conducted within the boundaries of Brunei Darussalam including its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and air space, focused on low intensity conflict and asymmetric warfare that provided commanders with the platform to train combat forces in joint operations, to evaluate war plans and interoperability between the services and units within the RBAF and to execute their strategies and tactics. While the operation theme for Hikmat Bersatu III focused on conventional warfare, HB4 focuses on counter-insurgency and urban operation, with the primary objectives of defeating insurgent elements and restoring public confidence.
Urban operation involves combats within developed or built-up areas such as towns and cities. The challenge for the armed forces in such environment is to engage in battles within areas encompassing tall infrastructures/ buildings, roads and highways, narrow alleys and other places where visibility and maneuverability are limited. The complexity of the operation is added by the presence of civilians, which provide ideal concealment for insurgents by blending in with the masses. Additionally, insurgents may have further advantage if specific civilians are sympathetic to their cause, and thus they may be optimized as the eyes and ears for the insurgents against the armed forces.
When engaging in urban operation, the strategy of the armed forces would be, among others, to conduct a building-to-building and door-to-door search, and securing a perimeter. These particular exercises themselves demands intensive personnel deployment and will be time consuming. The most effective and efficient way to address this is by managing the areas by sectors through systematic sweeping (room-to-room search).
Good intelligence input is also paramount in assisting the armed forces to accurately locate the whereabouts of the insurgents. The sources of information may be compiled from public domains, tip-offs from members of the public, or sharing of intelligence with other agencies such as the Internal Security Department and Police Force. Availability of special equipment, such as communication equipments and visual equipments is also fundamental in assisting the armed forces in such operation, specifically in enhancing maneuverability, command and control, and access within the built-up areas. In light of combating insurgents in urban areas, armed forces personnel are highly vulnerable. Therefore, personnel protection is crucial in ensuring their safety.
During an urban operation, one of the armed forces objectives is to also ensure the safety of civilians. In this instance, the armed forces may have to consider or take precautionary measures such as the imposition of curfew and establishment of internally displaced personnel (IDP) facilities. Additionally, the presence of military personnel in the urban areas is paramount as deterrence for further insurgency in the area.