A qualitative-quantitative improvement in the Army

(July 31, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) The Sri Lanka Army's ranks are swelling by the day as unprecedented numbers join the ranks and deserters start returning due to a general amnesty. Almost every month, a new battalion completes training and joins the battlefront.

The Army, while ambushing enemy reinforcement and troop movements, has kept own troops and their movements to the front lines safe, by regularly airlifting troops from the bases, directly to the battle-field.

Soldiers trained within the past 12 months are demonstrating a remarkable sense of orientation to the battlefield. Experts accredit this to the low-intensity warfare the Army is currently engaged in with the Tigers where large mobilizations are rare and the intensity of the enemy's attacks, firepower, morale and tactics is at a record low.

The result is an enabling environment for new recruits to gain experience and adjust according to the requirements in the front lines.

Currently, over 5000 recruits are undergoing basic training while several hundred more undergo advanced infantry training. The Maduru Oya Special Forces and Combat Training Schools have around 1,500 infantry currently undergoing training, 600 of whom are newly recruited Special Forces troops completing their 6 month basic training.

A dramatic increase in the number of soldiers in the Army is useless unless accompanied by a qualitative and quantitative improvement in leadership. The investments made in this regard to rebuild a quality cadre of officers in the Army is commendable.

The opportunities available to new officers to gain entry into the region's and the world's best Military Academies has always been high for the Sri Lanka Army given its neutral status in the world, but the high-intensity warfare of yesteryear effectively debarred officers these opportunities. This situation has changed dramatically.

With a large number of officers and soldiers already in the battlefield, ground Commanders are able to approve leave for officers to enter prestigious Defence Schools all over the world. Promising new officers are whisked-away to these schools immediately upon graduation as Second Lieutenants from SLMA or KDA.

The training courses at Batalanda Staff College has also improved by leaps and bounds. These opportunities combined have contributed immensely to the development of quality all-round officers, which is crucial beyond the immediate needs of the Army.

The usefulness of officers returning from foreign training, with improved perspectives, skills and tools, has increased with the guarantee of a longer service life unlike in the past, where many a young officer was whisked away to meet his end abruptly in some trench.

With improved timing in the reentry process to the ranks of the Army, new officers are allowed the chance to reorientate themselves and for the military hierarchy to properly plan their re-entry into the military machine.

(DefenceWire Report)
- Sri Lanka Guardian